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Stephen Wolf, Clark Hill. Courtesy Photo Stephen Wolf, Clark Hill. Courtesy Photo

Professionalism and advocacy are terms frequently used by attorneys, but the question remains—how does one be professional while remaining an advocate? Before we become lawyers, most of us see lawyers portrayed in movies, television or other media. From that perspective, lawyers are often aggressive, ruthless, and adversarial, to name a few common characteristics. Also, as we become lawyers, we are told that attorneys are zealous advocates for their clients. We are primed to have these characteristics before our first day working as an attorney, yet we are also required to maintain a level of professionalism. In my first five years of practicing, all in civil litigation, I have learned a few helpful lessons to help answer the question “how does one be professional and an advocate at the same time” because these terms are not mutually exclusive.

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