MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia University College of Law recently became the first law school in the country to teach a new civility class developed with the national College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.
The class addressed topics such as reasonable diligence versus offensive tactics, prejudice, rudeness and the positive outcomes of civility. It was part of a summer course on lawyer professional responsibility taught online by Anne Marie Lofaso, the Arthur B. Hodges Professor of Law.
During the two-hour course, students interacted with Beth Walker, a justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia; Richard Griffin, former general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board; and attorney David Borgen with Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho, and president of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.
“I liked the class a lot, especially in regards to our current societal context," said Austin Stewart, a rising second-year student. "It was interesting to hear how accomplished lawyers from both sides of the aisle felt about the topics, and how to maintain professionalism with people with whom you may not agree.”
Lofaso is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. She served on a committee with Borgen that developed the civility class.
“A class like this is important because students have little exposure to the ethical challenges they will likely face practicing the law,” Lofaso said. “Our aim is to ensure they know what types of situations to expect and to learn from distinguished practitioners on how to best act and respond. These goals are especially important in this age of ideological polarization and decreasing public confidence in our legal officials and the integrity of our legal institutions.”
Based in Annapolis, Maryland, the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers is a non-profit professional association. Its Fellows are dedicated to the study and enhancement of civility and professionalism in the practice of labor and employment law and to the improvement of the delivery and quality of labor and employment legal services.