President's Column - May 2018


“Civility.” That’s a word I want to plug in this month’s column. It’s a short column because I am facing a barrage of work-related deadlines in my legal practice. But what makes it all tolerable is civility in my profession and in the workplace. A lawsuit is by definition an intractable dispute among people or businesses, so we have courts that apply the rule of law to maintain civility. Now, sometimes I do face a lawyer for the opposing party (usually from out-of-state!) who thinks that being difficult will give him or her an advantage. That is mistaken. One thing I’ve learned about Connecticut is that most of my Connecticut legal peers, even when our clients are locked in a legal battle, are civil and professional and make Connecticut a wonderful place for the legal profession. Connecticut is, as you all know, a small world, and lawyers who are opposed to me on one case might be working alongside me on another one, or working on a project with me for a legal organization like the bar association.

It is a shame that our political world has lost the civility that had long been a hallmark of legislative and executive life and tradition. Has it improved anyone’s political standing, the ability to get things done, or the lives of the politicians and their constituents? I think not. Now, there were exceptions in history to this civility, like the 1856 caning of Senator Sumner by Rep. Brooks, a dispute that foreshadowed the larger divisions that led to Civil War. Civil discourse has greatly improved since then, but we risk too much by forgetting the benefits of civility.

To help all of us continue to engage in meaningful and respectful exchanges within our communities, TBT is presenting a program entitled “How to Talk to Each Other: Effective Communication about Differences.” If you are reading this in late April, please join us at TBT on Sunday, April 29, 2018, at 9:30 a.m. to hear from two expert TBT members, Nancy Abramson, MSW, and Rosemary Baggish, MPH, about how to talk and discuss issues in a divided, polarized country. You’ll even get to enjoy a light brunch.

I also hope to see you all on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, for our congregation’s Annual Meeting. An update on the building project will be on the agenda, along with the usual information and honors. Come at 7:00 p.m. for dessert and attend the 90-minute program from 7:15 to 8:45 p.m.

- Jeff Babbin