One challenge of practicing law is that, in the midst of a heated dispute, attorneys sometimes lose sight of the importance of treating others in a professional and civil manner. Now, with all of the suffering and disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, one hope is that attorneys will recognize the heightened importance of treating adversaries with respect and compassion.
Indeed, while attorneys may have an obligation to act as zealous advocates for their clients, courts have recognized that the need to act with integrity and basic decency is especially important in the current environment. For example, a recent court order out of the U.S District Court for the Southern District of Florida addressed an emergency motion for a protective order dealing with the scheduling of a corporate designee deposition. In addressing the motion, the judge implored the attorneys to “keep things in perspective” in light of the virus-caused deaths, loss of jobs and uncertainty about the future.
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