Something weird I really love about the law and lawyers

the formal address: Ms. Jones, Mr. Smith. I just love it. It’s very weird because I’m really anything but a formal sort of person. I’m all about being real and natural, so this is really strange. But I like it and I miss it and I would like to see it brought back to other areas of life. I’d like to see children go back to addressing adults they are not close to in a formal way. I think it sets a good tone.

I felt this way when I was young. I worked for a Beverly Hills business manager with a friend who had worked there for awhile. I had come from a brief job as a receptionist in a law office, where, of course, clients were addressed formally. So I addressed the clients in the business management company formally, but my friend told me to stop it, it was weird. That made me sad.

I worked for the census this year for a month or so and a gentleman my age, for some unknown reason, took to formally addressing me. So I replied in kind. And in some really strange way, it made me feel like it was a bigger flirt than any more familiar way of speaking to one another, and I took great delight in it.

It just speaks to me.

That’s not a universal. At my old firm, everybody was on a first name basis with each other, and most of the clients too. We were a little boutique, though, so that could have had something to do with it.

I always call my clients “Mr. ___ / Ms. ___”. They always call me Katie.

I was “Miss X” to everybody, and everybody was Mr/Miss X to me. Even the court reporter and the clerk. The only one I referred to by first name was the court assistant, and she always addressed me formally. I don’t know why I made an exception with her.

Is your name really Katie? :dubious:

Move to the south! :slight_smile:

Seriously. Most of the kids that I am in contact with here do call unrelated adults Mr. / Miss / Ms. Firstname if they’re on familiar terms or Mr. / Miss / Ms. / Mrs. Lastname if on a more formal level.

So how is formal address fake and unnatural? Why is politeness considered unnatural these days? My kids were brought up on an Army base in the South, so they know exactly how to address adults. When a family moved in where the kids called their parents Tim and Suzy, all the kids in the neighborhood were confused, and for months did not believe they were really their parents.

Because it’s Stoid. Succumbing to the outdated medieval patriarchal oppression of being addressed by surname is not “real and natural,” like she is.

I think of formal address as being closely related to, well, more formal dress. In the same way people are more casual in their attire (though not in court, among other places, tellingly) they are more casual in the way they speak to one another. The farther away we get from undershirts, hats, ties, girdles and gloves, the less and less likely we are to address each other as “Mr” or “Ms”.

I guess it’s because of my own upbringing and background: Hollywood, CA in the 60’s and 70’s. Very hippie-groovy-let-it-all-hang-out. Let’s get rid of the artificial barriers and relate, man!

Yes, it is.

Yes, but sadly, you were unable to use the form, “my brother/sister at the bar”.

I’ve worked for an LA law firm for the last eight years (we were a small boutique, now we’re the LA office of an international, medium-sized firm). I have never once referred to a client by anything other than a first name. The only people I’ve seen do that are the receptionists, and the clients will usually correct them eventually. Most of the clients I encounter have enough stress on their minds already; they want to feel at ease when they’re visiting us. One can be professional without being formal, and it seems to work in our environment.

This isn’t the Pit, so on behalf of everyone else, if Stoid is still chaffing your thighs from other threads, can you not bother the rest of us with it? Thanks.

Here in Canada, we refer to the opposing lawyer in court as “My friend” (or “My learned friend”) (if he/she has a Q.C.).

You would love traditional martial arts training, then. I used to assist my instructor teaching seminars to the general public and he decided on one of them that the students would be more relaxed in an informal atmosphere and that we would call each other Larry and Chuck. That lasted about 2 minutes into the session for both of us. :smiley:

It’s difficult to even imagine a lawyer having a friend.

Oh OK. Because that would be weird if they all decided you needed that name when it’s not actually yours.

Judges and co-counsel always call me “Ms. ____” Some of my more polite clients as well. Everyone in the office and most of my clients call me by my first name, with the occassional “hey girl!” and “hey, dumptruck!” thrown in.

I love it when judges call me “Madam Public Defender.” I think it’s the “madam” part. :smiley:

Only in court - the judges make us play nice! :stuck_out_tongue:

Kinky. :wink: