Don’t Leave Professionalism at the Office

I was not able to carve out the time for a comment on awareness yesterday, so here it is today:

Members of the legal profession are trained to locate and critically analyze information in order to make sound, objective decisions. We sort out fact from fiction and set aside in personal bias when making recommendation for our clients. While we often try to use emotional manipulation to influence juries, we ourselves at least attempt to have safeguards in place to prevent us from being swayed by it so we can do the best for our clients.

Thus, I am frequently disconcerted by the extent to which members of the legal profession are unable to apply these same principles in our own lives. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Breast cancer is “is expected to take the lives of 40,610 women and men in 2009, according to the American Cancer Society.” According to an October 6 report from Reuters, 75% of women who die of breast cancer have not had mammograms, while only 25% of women who are screened dies of the disease. There is some debate over the value of mammograms, but what I find disconcerting is the number of legal professionals who do not get the screening for reasons that have nothing to do with the facts or the reasoning of the two sides in that debate, but are based on anecdotal accounts, old wives tales or simple lack of awareness.

The failure to apply the same techniques to our personal lives that we insist upon applying to our work for clients (and often insist our clients apply to their personal lives) seems to be quite pervasive. Aside from smoking where there is the question of addiction, I see and hear legal professionals refusing to wear seat belts, obtain prostate exams, control their weight, and believe that current health insurance reform proposals include provisions for “death panels,” based on emotional appeals, lack of awareness, uncritical acceptance of faulty information, and a seemingly complete lack of critical and analytical thinking.

I am a firm believer in leaving the office at the office, which canbe accomplished with proper time management. However, I equally firmly believe that we should not treat the basic tenets of professionalism as if they are the exclusive province of the office.

End of sermon. Have a good weekend. And take care of yourself.

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