Panel to Discuss Civility in the Civic Arena at Warner Norcross & Judd

Choosing CivilityAs part of its One Book, One Firm discussion of Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni, Warner Norcross & Judd will host a panel discussion on Tuesday July 11.  The panel will discuss civility and incivility in the political and civic arenas and how we can respond as citizens and as members of our communities to what most people see as a rising level of incivility.  We have an exceptional panel for this program.  They include:

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss – Rosalynn Bliss became the City of Grand Rapids’ first female Mayor when she took office on January 1, 2016, after serving as a Second Ward City Commissioner for 10 years. Mayor Bliss serves as adjunct professor of social work at Grand Valley State University.

City Commissioner Joe Jones – Joe Jones was appointed a Second Ward Commissioner by the Grand Rapids City Commission to fill the remaining term of Rosalynn Bliss, after she won election as Mayor.  A native of Detroit, Joe has served as President and CEO of the Grand Rapids Urban League for the past six years.

Ken Sikkema – Ken Sikkema served in the Michigan Legislature for 20 years—twelve in the House and eight in the Senate.  He served as Majority Floor Leader and Republican Leader of the Michigan House and Majority Leader in the State Senate.  He served both when his party was in the majority and in the minority, as well as two years when the Michigan House of Representatives was evenly split and the parties shared leadership. Today, Mr. Sikkema is a Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, an independent, non-partisan consulting firm in Lansing.

John Inhulsen – John Inhulsen is Senior Counsel in our Grand Rapids office. He concentrates his practice on corporate, real estate and litigation matters. John served as Chair of the Kent County Republican Party in 2015 and 2016, and prior to that was its Finance Chair.

The panel discussion, which is open to attorneys and staff members at the firm,  will be held in the University Club of Grand Rapids and will be videocast to the firms other seven offices.

Choosing Civility: Escaping our Internet Bubbles

Many people today are lamenting the polarization of our politics.  This is not just an American phenomenon.  The cover story in this week’s Economist Magazine, a British publication, discusses “Britain’s Missing Middle.”  Part of what fuels the polarization today is our ability to choose the sources of our news and create an Internet bubble or echo chamber in which our views are repeated but not challenged.  In 2014, The Pew Research Center conducted a survey of conservatives and liberals to explore this polarization in detail.  Among the findings of the study, which can be found here, were the following:

Overall, the study finds that consistent conservatives:

  • Are tightly clustered around a single news source, far more than any other group in the survey, with 47% citing Fox News as their main source for news about government and politics.
  • Express greater distrust than trust of 24 of the 36 news sources measured in the survey. At the same time, fully 88% of consistent conservatives trust Fox News.
  • Are, when on Facebook, more likely than those in other ideological groups to hear political opinions that are in line with their own views.
  • Are more likely to have friends who share their own political views. Two-thirds (66%) say most of their close friends share their views on government and politics.

By contrast, those with consistently liberal views:

  • Are less unified in their media loyalty; they rely on a greater range of news outlets, including some – like NPR and the New York Times– that others use far less.
  • Express more trust than distrust of 28 of the 36 news outlets in the survey. NPR, PBS and the BBC are the most trusted news sources for consistent liberals.
  • Are more likely than those in other ideological groups to block or “defriend” someone on a social network – as well as to end a personal friendship – because of politics.
  • Are more likely to follow issue-based groups, rather than political parties or candidates, in their Facebook feeds.

While the Internet enables us to create our own personal bubbles, it also enables us, with little effort, to broaden our sources of news and commentary and perhaps increase our ability to understand better the opinions of those who hold different views than our own.  I recently came across an excellent site for doing just that.  It is AllSides.com.  Allsides presents news stories from the right, the center and the middle.  For example, here is AllSides’ lead story on today’s website:

AllSides

 

I have been using AllSides for the past three weeks and have found it to be an excellent tool for breaking out of my bubble.  You can learn more about AllSides by watching this two-minute video interview AllSides’ founder.

While you are at it, take a look at this TED Talk on “How to Have Better Political Conversations.”  https://www.ted.com/talks/robb_willer_how_to_have_better_political_conversations I think you will find it interesting.

Rodney Martin, Diversity Partner

Warner holds “World Café” to Discuss “Choosing Civility”

Warner Norcross & Judd held a “world café” discussion of this year’s One Book, One Firm selection, Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct , by P.M. Forni.  Attorneys and staff members participated in small group discussions of civiity.  The discussion was “served” in three courses, along with the meal.  During the first course, participants worked on developing a definition of civility and discussed the implications of that meaning for them.

After the first course, participants changed tables and joined a new group for the second course, where they discussed the relevance of Forni’s 25 rules of civility to Warner Norcross and tried to identify the five rules that are most important to the firm.

For the third course, the participants once again changed tables and joined a new group. During this course (and over dessert) they discussed the obstacles to living by the rules of civility and what they can do individually to support the firm in choosing civility.

The discussion was moderated by Dr. Beth Page who leads the Talent Management Practice in the Great Lakes Region for Right Management.

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Warner Norcross Selects Choosing Civility for One Book, One Firm

Choosing CivilityWarner Norcross & Judd LLP has selected Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni as the 2017 choice for its One Book, One Firm series.

The One Book, One Firm program explores diversity and inclusion issues during a summer lunch-and-learn program. Diversity Partner Rodney Martin launched the annual event in 2008 to model the success of community reading programs that encourage all residents of a city to read and discuss the same book.

Choosing Civility confronts society’s noticeable lack of respectful behavior by detailing 25 “rules” that Forni finds essential for restoring civility. His commonsense list, delivered in clear and often clever language, touches on a number of topics, including: Respect the opinions of others; Refrain from idle complaints; Care for your guests; Accept and give praise.

“Recent research shows that 70 percent of American’s believe incivility has reached crisis levels. Yet civility is a fundamental requirement of an inclusive society and an inclusive organization,” Martin said. “Forni’s guidebook provides practical, real-life advice to improve interpersonal relationships and makes for an enjoyable read. The rules he suggests should make for some thought-provoking discussion.”Forni is an award-winning professor at Johns Hopkins University, where he has taught for the past 20 years. In 1997, he co-founded the Johns Hopkins Civility Project, which explores the “significance of civility, manners and politeness in contemporary society.” In his lectures, he frequently talks about the rewards of fostering a culture or civility in today’s workplace.

Previous selections for One Book, One Firm have included: The Arrival, by Shaun Tan, Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange History of Integration of America, by Tanner Colby; Stealing Buddha’s Dinner, by Bich Minh Nguyen; and The Female Vision: Women’s Real Power at Work”by Sally Helgesen and Julie Johnson.

Warner Norcross & Judd Releases its 11th Diversity and Inclusion Annual Report

DAR2016-pg-1-graphic-thumbnail_1For the past 11 years, Warner Norcross & Judd has reported annually about its efforts to become a more diverse and inclusive organization.  The 2016 Report has just been issued and is available on the firm’s website, along with past reports, by clicking here.  The Report includes a letter from the firm’s Managing Partner, Doug Dozeman, and profiles that highlight Warner Norcross female attorneys who are leaders across the state and other individuals who have unique stories of why they joined the firm.  In addition, the Report includes articles about the firm’s Martin Luther King, Jr. , Essay Contest for students in the Grand Rapids Public Schools, the firm’s 2016 One Book, One Firm program that discussed the immigrant experience, and the firm’s unique collaboration with the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre to bring to the stage productions that focus on issues related to diversity and inclusion.

MLK Essay Contest Winners Recognized by the Grand Rapids Board of Education

Last evening, the Grand Rapids Board of Education recognized the winners and honorable mention recipients in this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr., Essay Contest.  Rodney Martin, the firm’s Diversity Partner, introduced the winners, who each had an opportunity to read their essay during the public meeting.  Mr. Martin then introduced each of the 24 honorable mention recipients, who came forward to receive their awards.  You can read the winning essays here.

This was the 12th year that Warner Norcross & Judd has conducted the essay contest for sixth graders in the Grand Rapids Public Schools.  Over 300 students from 12 different middle schools submitted essays that responded to one of three prompts concerning the legacy of  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The essays were read and judged by over 50 attorneys and staff members at Warner.  Here are photos of the winners, and the honorable mention recipients.

The Winners of the 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr., Essay Contest (left to right): Tess Cepaitis, Grand Prize, Riverside Middle School; Myaja Dunning, 1st Runner Up, Gerald R. Ford Academic Center; and Carmen Perdomo, 2nd Runner Up, Southwest Community Campus

The Winners of the 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr., Essay Contest (left to right): Tess Cepaitis, Grand Prize, Riverside Middle School; Myaja Dunning, 1st Runner Up, Gerald R. Ford Academic Center; and Carmen Perdomo, 2nd Runner Up, Southwest Community Campus

The winners and honorable mention recipients in the 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr., Essay Contest.

The winners and honorable mention recipients in the 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr., Essay Contest.