The Case For Civility Among Attorneys

October 25, 2022Media Mention

Partners Andrew Apfelberg and Karina Sterman were quoted in a Law360 article discussing civility between lawyers. The feature includes several profiles of attorneys who exemplified civility and cordiality. 


...[C]orporate and finance attorney Andrew Apfelberg said people in his line of work "are really sort of jerks to each other." But during one matter that closed this summer, he was able to develop a "mutual understanding" with Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis LLP deals lawyer Roddy Bailey. "It was really wonderful," Apfelberg said. "At a certain point, our clients got sideways with one another, and he and I were able to broker the peace and help them find a way forward. A lot of times attorneys would not do that, and it was just an incredibly nice experience."

Attorneys couldn't pin down exactly why civility in the legal profession feels so exceptional these days, but they have their theories. "It can be that sides of the bar often socialize separately and don't typically know each other personally outside the context of adversary matters. It can be that lawyers are not truly mentored anymore the way they traditionally used to be in the professionalism and high civic component of being an advocate," said Karina Sterman, a partner at Greenberg Glusker. "It can be that the types of people who often gravitate toward litigation specifically have something to prove and therefore externalize their aggression on strangers. It can be that judges are so overworked that they have no bandwidth to intervene in 'mere' instances of incivility and therefore it perpetuates unchecked. It could be all the above."