In celebration of professionalism month, the Colorado Defense Lawyers Association and Colorado Trial Lawyers Association recognized members of the opposing bars for setting high standards of professionalism and civility, even when fighting fiercely on behalf of their clients in trial.
Steve Wahlberg, Denver Trial Lawyers founding partner and plaintiff’s-side personal injury lawyer, received the CDLA’s award, and Scott Nixon, Nixon Shefrin Hensen Ogburn shareholder and defense lawyer, received the CTLA’s award.
Wahlberg reminded the attorneys in attendance the importance of professionalism in a courtroom. Everyone in the courtroom is paying attention to the attorney’s behavior.
“If our style is comforting, if we’re not challenging everything, if we get right to the point and if they can trust that you’re asking fair questions, it is the way to success.”
For Nixon, professionalism comes down to the lessons everyone learns as a child — whether through citizenship grades in school or Scout Law: play fair, clean up your own mess, tell the truth, keep promises, admit when you’re wrong, volunteer, be kind. He did apply some of those lessons to the law, though, in reminding his colleagues to also trust one another:
“Every plaintiff is not a malingerer. Every defendant isn’t an unindicted co-conspirator,” he said. Choose your battles wisely, keep it professional, don’t get personal, and not only will your practice be more enjoyable, I think you’ll be more effective.”