Smile More; Kindling Kindness in the Practice of Law

Law and Psychology Review, Vol. 44, 2020

39 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2021

Date Written: June 4, 2020


Humans are pre-disposed to be kind. Confounding nature, lawyers are obligated to be zealous advocates, which is often interpreted and taught as being unkind. This incongruity causes consternation. This need not be so. This article posits that to be more effective and more content in their careers, lawyers need to employ and encourage kindness in their dealings with clients, judges, and opposing counsel. Kindness can start with simply smiling more. Smiles, it turns out, are evolutionarily contagious, and trigger positive reactions for both the smiler and the target of the smile. These positive feelings can kindle kindness in the practice of law. This article argues that smiling is a concrete way for lawyers to actualize and articulate kindness, and, therefore, the article concludes with the suggestion that we lawyers “smile more.”

Keywords: Smile, Smiling, Kindness, Lawyer, Practice of Law

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Rappaport, Bret, Smile More; Kindling Kindness in the Practice of Law (June 4, 2020). Law and Psychology Review, Vol. 44, 2020, Available at SSRN:

Bret Rappaport (Contact Author)

Lake Forest College ( email )

555 North Sheridan Road
Lake Forest, IL Illinois 60045
United States
8475972151 (Phone)
60015 (Fax)

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