There are lots of interesting and exciting ways to be a bad colleague in the law. For example, you could:

  1. Call another attorney’s office twelve times in one day.
  2. Accuse another attorney of having an affair with the mediator with whomyou are currently mediating.
  3. Threaten Rule 11 sanctions against opposing counsel twice every week for   two months.
  4. Tell opposing counsel he or she runs a morally bankrupt law firm because opposing counsel won’t accept your settlement offer.
  5. Provide the Court with untranslated documents from a foreign court and tell the Court the documents sayX, when in reality the documents say exactly the opposite of X.

(All these things may or may not have happened to me in the last two years, but that’s a discussion for another blog post.)

And while being a bad colleague might be fun, if you like not having friends and people not talking to you at CLEs, there is a better way. That better way is, wait for it, being a good colleague.

Being a good colleague is based on the same elements as being a good spouse (minus the sex, hopefully): respect, communication, kindness, etc. And if you are married, you know that nothing releases the marital kraken like forgetting your spouse’s birthday. Bottom line: birthdays are important in a relationship.

While our colleagues won’t release the collegial kraken if we forget their birthdays, why not display some kindness and respect and get them something? It doesn’t have to be much; a thoughtful hand-written card will suffice. Of course, a present of some sort would be thoughtful as well. For example, it’s hard to go wrong with gift cards to the movies or to a popular local restaurant. Whatever you do, make it a little something you know your colleague will enjoy.

So, how does one find out everyone’s birthday? (Because, let’s face it, it’s a bit awkward asking people at random for their birthdays.) Facebook, my friend. Facebook is a magical thing because it causes people to put deeply personal information on the internet for all to see.

And how does one keep track of all these birthdays? What we do in the office is put birthdays on our Google calendars and set an email notification one week before a birthday. When you get the email reminder, take a minute and put together a present. Boom. Done.

Simple things make for good colleagues.

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