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30 New Eng. L. Rev. 927 (1995-1996)
Beyond Confrontation: A Holistic Approach to the Pratice of Law

handle is hein.journals/newlr30 and id is 937 raw text is: Beyond Confrontation: A Holistic
Approach to the Practice of Law
Hon. Mel L. Greenberg*
I have always been suspicious of nostalgia. It is an emotion in-
dulged in only by people who stand a safe distance from the past. At
best it trivializes events; at worst it distorts them. I am equally suspi-
cious of instant revivals-of critical retrospective of the immediate
past-because we seem to cannibalize our history, gobbling it up as fast
as we live it.
Because of these prejudices, I have been sitting at my desk braced.
This essay, written for a special edition of the New England Law Re-
view, in part is about the decline of civility in the legal profession. As
most lawyers and judges know, the literature teems with concern over
the decline of civility in our own profession, with its ancient tradition
of vigorous, but nonetheless civil and responsible advocacy.' Even as
questions are being raised about specific devices, such as Federal Rule
11 and other types of sanctions, talk in the courthouse corridors among
older practitioners is about the practice not being fun anymore, not like
it used to be.
This unfortunate phenomenon is not confined to lawyers. In his first
column of 1995, David S. Broder began with the thought that [a]t the
start of the new year, . . . the words that express the best hope for this
* Mel L. Greenberg is an Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court.
Prior to his current appointment, Justice Greenberg was a District Court Judge, and
then a Massachusetts Superior Court Justice. He also served as counsel to the Civil
Liberties Union in Boston, Massachusetts.
1. See Interim Report of the Committee on Civility of the Seventh Federal
Judicial Circuit, 143 F.R.D. 371, 382 (1991).


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