From "Don't Deck the Clown: Inviting Humor into the Law Firm" (Law Governance Review) [pdf]:
Suppose a clown were invited to your firm on a whim of a senior partner. The clown is dressed in a colorful costume, and, in his curly-toed shoes, he pads through the hallways, peeking in the doorways, pausing to be acknowledged or invited into offices where lawyers are busy doing what lawyers do; the clown is ready to offer a wide smile and a friendly greeting. How would the clown be received? Would he be shunned or go unnoticed? Would staff members be embarrassed by his presence? How would the lawyers, paralegals, and other staff members respond?
The fact is that in many law firms, as well as in many corporate settings, fun and play are considered unprofessional and certainly not invited or honored; the value of humor in the law firm is ignored, discounted, or unrecognized. And so members of your firm might be expected to react in a way similar to that described by an attorney in a large Denver firm who, after considering the image of a clown walking through the hallways of her firm, said that given these tense times, the managing partner might "deck the clown."
Decking the clown, denying the jester, and discounting the value of humor are not in the best interest of a law firm or the legal profession. In times that call for creative problem solving, intrafirm collaboration, stress reduction, and other measures to support physical and mental health and superior client relations, humor is critical. Before a law firm frowns on play, it might want to consider the benefits of opening mouths wide to smiles and laughter. Below are described four of the many benefits of inviting humor into the law firm.
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