Center uses short videos to tout professionalism
“When we make phone calls, just make the call. Don’t have your secretary call the other person and then put them on hold so you can grace them with your telephonic presence. It’s not a power move, it’s obnoxious and we can do better.”
That snippet of advice came from Alexis Lambert, deputy general counsel for the Department of Lottery, in a 58-second video that manages to sandwich the advice between an age joke, talk of surviving cancer, and pandemic safety tips.
It’s one of a series of short videos promoting various aspects of professionalism that is proving very popular for the Bar’s Standing Committee on Professionalism and the Henry Latimer Center for Professionalism.
Center Director Rebecca Bandy said the one to two-minute, self-produced clips have received thousands of views, although exact numbers were not available. She said one video, used in a Facebook event, was seen around 2,000 times.
She reported to the committee, at its October 8 session during the Bar’s Fall Meeting, that the number of videos has steadily grown since the program started in the spring.
“The idea was we created short, watchable videos that you could view really quickly,” Bandy said. “They’re real life examples of professionalism tips for real lawyers. We didn’t want it scripted at all.”
Instead lawyers were invited to record themselves with cell phones or computers and send the clip to the center, which then posted it — usually updating on a Tuesday — under the header #protiptuesday.
What’s on the clips?
Orlando attorney Larry Smith recalled how he wrote former Justice Harry Lee Anstead 20 years ago after Anstead discussed in a Bar News article the importance of diversity and inclusion — but didn’t mention sexual orientation.
When he got a call from Anstead’s office a few weeks later, “I took one long, last fleeting look at my Bar license,” Smith said. But instead of finding trouble, he had a long conversation with Anstead, who offered to make Smith part of the solution by getting the chief justice to appoint him to the court’s Commission on Professionalism.
“Well, you don’t say no to the Supreme Court and I didn’t and my life and my career have been better because of it,” Smith said in the video. “….I now pay Justice Anstead’s words forward. Will you be part of the solution?”
Pinellas Assistant County Attorney Diriki T. Gueka discussed the importance of community involvement for attorneys in his video.
“It means so much when members of our community see us show up, not as attorneys in our official capacity but as fellow members of our community who want to help out,” Geuka said.
Veteran attorney Paul Lipton advised not to let an opposing counsel’s inappropriate actions control behavior.
“No. I define myself. I act to the higher calling of who we are,” Lipton said. “….We want to be proud of ourselves during our careers and looking back, because there will be a look back, you want your legacy and your reputation to be one of honor, decency, nobility, and, for lack of a better term, just a class act.”
Former Bar President John Stewart offered tips on electronic communications, advising to retain decorum in emails as though it were a traditional letter.
Orange County Judge Gisela Laurent gave advice for preparing for the virtual courtroom: Learn what program the judge will be using and practice with it including testing the microphone and camera, learn how the judge wants to receive evidence and exhibits and make sure they are shared with the opposing side, and be aware of being seen and heard even when not presenting.
G.C. Murray, special counsel and director of membership with the Florida Justice Association, talked about the importance of mentoring, including advice from his father, Miami-Dade County Judge Gordon Murray: “Your best ability is availability.”
So far, 19 videos have been posted, Bandy said, with additional topics including networking, guardian ad litem work, setting priorities, and supporting vulnerable lawyers. She asked committee members to seek other submissions.
“These are simple to do, real life practice tips from people,” Bandy said. “Anything you think is professionalism related that you see in your practice that you think is important to share, please, we want to hear from you.”
The videos and other center information also can be found on the center’s social media pages: