Always take the high road
JW Way # 16. Don't be a jerk- always take the high road. Maintain professionalism at all times. Keep emotions under control. Advocating forcefully for the interests of our clients does not require bullying, condescension, foul language, or temper tantrums. This applies to co-workers, opposing counsel, and vendors. Be a "mensch."
As I sat down to write about this fundamental, it occurred to me that when constructing the JW Way, maybe we should have made this the # 1 fundamental and titled it simply " Be a mensch." I searched for a general definition of a mensch and here is what I found. "A mensch is generally considered to be an individual who is decent and honorable in all undertakings - he or she is the same person both privately and publicly. A person of high integrity whose word is as good as his signature. One of the hallmarks of a mensch is empathy and compassion, someone who genuinely cares for those around him. A mensch will always look for any opportunity to do good in life and to be of help to others. When you are in the presence of a mensch, you feel good about you - you sense a total absence of artifice, you know that you are in the presence of a genuine human being, one who will not deceive you, undermine you or try to diminish you in any way."
In light of the above, it seems clear to me that a mensch is someone you would feel totally comfortable doing business with. So with this idea in mind I set out to reexamine the fundamentals and what I discovered is that most if not all contain menschlike aspirations. Treat clients' money as if it were your own. Be passionate about the client experience by being empathetic, warm and helpful. Walk in your clients' shoes by demonstrating business empathy. Listen fully by giving others your undivided attention and listen to understand the other point of view. Honor commitments by always doing what you say you're going to do, when you say you're going to do it. Acting with integrity to do the right thing in every action you take and decisions you make both personally and professionally. Leave your ego at the door. Always be respectful of everyone you come in contact with on a daily basis. Be a mentor to others by coaching and guiding others around you even if there is absolutely no direct benefit to you.
If we strive at all times to meet these admittedly lofty goals, there will be no need to even think about JW Way # 15, "treasure, protect and promote our reputation," since we will have already achieved that by being a firm bursting with mensches. For me personally, this one simple word and the qualities connected to it is the very essence of the JW culture.
About the author: Ronald Horwitz is a shareholder at the Phoenix, Arizona law firm of Jaburg & Wilk PC. handled thousands of consumer and commercial collection cases and conducted thousands of foreclosures, both judicial and non-judicial.