In court, good character counts

You meet all types. There’s the good eggs, the ones you keep at arm’s length, and then the occasional character not worth a Williamson turn.

Let’s face it, to keep water under the keel we all noodle through life tolerating old and new faces with amiable alacrity. Sometimes though the wind and tide don’t run together and your amiable side gets benched while you take to the court in a fury of the “let me tell you how it is.” Feels good at the time, huh?

In the law, one’s character is a big deal. An attorney is an officer of the court and expected to conduct his or her affairs with honor and integrity. Witnesses are judged as being believable or not in part by the character they broadcast from the witness stand. Expert witnesses rise and fall on whether their opinions are supported by the facts with an almost implied dig at their character when they don’t. Because the outcome in a lawsuit often turns on the shifting bar of competing stories, the law is always concerned about measuring a person’s character.

For me, and I’m not much of a religious type so apologies for my reworking of Matthew 7:12, but I’ve always thought that running your ship the way you’d want someone else to run theirs is a good heading by which to keep your character on course.

Underway and making way.

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About the author

John K. Fulweiler

John K. Fulweiler is a licensed mariner and experienced admiralty attorney. He represents individuals and companies throughout the East and Gulf Coasts and has recently taken command of his own maritime law firm. He enjoys navigating the choppy waters of the maritime law, but readily admits to missing life on the water. He can be reached at . His website is

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