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Judges Teach Civility as a Legal and Life Skill

Civility is a critical factor in making difficult decisions in the law and in life. That is the conclusion that can be drawn from a new video that captures the insights of federal judges who have several lifetimes of experience dealing with contentious, high-stakes issues in their courtrooms.

The four-minute video is an educational component of a real-life civics program on civility and decision making for young adults coached by volunteer attorneys in courtrooms presided over by federal judges. In the Civil Discourse and Difficult Decisions courtroom event, participants learn and practice behaviors, attitudes, and analytical skills that also carry over into their lives.

High school and college students, who come to their local, federal courthouse in the upcoming academic year, will get firsthand experience with civil discourse and how it impacts realistic jury deliberations

“Civility is a life skill, not just a legal skill,” said U.S. Magistrate Judge Linda Anderson, of Jackson, Mississippi. She is one of six judges who share their insights in a video incorporated into the Civil Discourse and Difficult Decisions program materials for students and their teachers throughout the 2018-2019 academic year and beyond.

In the video, judges talk about their responsibility for setting the standards of decorum in the courtroom, using the same skills that young people need to set the tone for civil discourse in their daily life.

The program reached more than 1,200 high school and college students when federal judges piloted it in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Arizona during the 2017-2018 school year. Attorneys from local chapters of the Federal Bar Association, and other quarters, volunteered for the courtroom events.

For more information about the national initiative, contact or at 202-502-2600.

Related Topics: Public Education