Lawyers as Peacemakers Conference at UNISA October 2015

How things are unfolding in the South African world of Integrative Law

UNISA Lawyers as Peacemakers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In September 2012 after my first Skype conversation with Kim Wright, author of Lawyers as Peacemakers, events happily transpired to bring Kim to South Africa so that I could learn about the global Integrative Law Movement and introduce more South Africans to it.  Of course Integrative Law is not specific to any country or region  – it is simply the name for a global movement of awakening professionals throughout the legal system who are asking questions such as:

“What if we aren’t all separate and at odds with each other? What if the corrections system with its focus on retribution is ultimately dehumanizing and damaging to all of us? Maybe we will always have problems and disputes and accidents and crimes but is there a better way to address these problems than suiting up in armour and hacking away at each other, symbolically or otherwise? But how do we get from here to there?”*

* the beautifully phrased questions are by Sheila Boyce, reproduced in Lawyers as Peacemakers by J Kim Wright

In South Africa, we’ve long had a tradition of viewing conflict holistically and of resolving matters in a way that takes the whole community into account. However, indigenous conflict resolution methodology (or African Jurisprudence, which is underpinned by principles such as Ubuntu) has been replaced by the RD Law & English systems. Therefore, like much of the West, SA has moved firmly towards an individualistic, and very much rights-based jurisprudence. The problem is that this has taken us far away from viewing ourselves as part of an interconnected community.

In my own presentation at this conference, I mentioned something Martin Luther King said in 1963:

Over 50 years have passed and now we are in the midst of another crisis, a crisis based on spiritual illiteracy. In today’s worldview there is an impression the universe is not an interconnected, living system, and that life can be exploited. We’ve lost our sense of service to life itself.”   

How the Lawyers as Peacemakers conference came about

During Kim Wright’s 2012 visit to SA, we did a talk at UNISA and the professor introducing us was Prof John Faris who runs IDRA, the Institute for Dispute Resolution in Africa. It led to Prof Faris travelling to the Arizona the following year to take part in the Lawyers as Peacemakers conference there, and finally, 3 years later, led to Prof Faris hosting a Lawyers As Peacemakers Conference at UNISA in October 2015.

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Despite October 2015 finding me heavily pregnant at 33 weeks, I knew I had to attend this event  – my last trip before I stop flying. I am so glad I did. It was an amazingly fulfilling experience to see the effect of the work the Centre for Integrative Law has done over the last 3 years and to have a chance to reflect on the progress.  It has often been incredibly lonely and a tough journey business wise – to talk of a new consciousness in the law and bringing values and humanity back to the profession, to talk of lawyers as healers – often I am met with blank gazes.  Some of the projects I’ve initiated have been very successful, but I suppose I always carry with me the ones that did not come to life, the things that didn’t get funded and the events that never came together!

Although the CIL has held some very successful meetings of SAILA – the South African Integrative Lawyers’ Association, this hasn’t yet become a viable community and certainly not from a financial standpoint…(it will I trust this – particularly after the Lawyers as Peacemakers conference) but as I chatted to lawyers I’ve got to know over the last 4 years and heard where people are coming from now and the work they’re doing, I realised the shifts are enormous. The CIL has achieved much of what I had hoped when I started it and I need to spend a little time acknowledging this, not only seeing the long road lying ahead in terms of all I would still like to achieve.

photo: Prof Faris talks to Pritima Osman from the Justice Department – who works with the rights of the Child. I have work to do with Pritima – she’s a mover and shaker but does so behind the scenes.

Some of the  CIL milestones I’m reflecting on:

 

SEP 2012:  Amanda Lamond & Dr Kim Wright facilitate the First Integrative Law Conference in South Africa with 40 attorneys, advocates, prosecutors and   academics.

SEP 2012  Amanda Lamond & Dr Kim Wright present at UNISA; meet with Judge Edwin Cameron;   meet with Nic Swart, Acting CEO of the Law Society of   South Africa

FEB 2013:   Presentation by Amanda Lamond to LEAD and LSSA members at annual strategy session, on invitation of Nic   Swart, CEO of LSSA/ LEAD.

FEBR 2013  Prof John Faris of UNISA attends Integrative Law   Conference in Arizona on invitation of Dr Kim Wright

MAR 2013  Collaborative Divorce Trainings (first ever in SA) held in   Cape Town and Johannesburg by Pauline Tesler Director   of   the Integrative Law Institute (San Francisco). 37   attorneys trained

MARCH 2013  Neuro-literacy for Lawyers: the science of conflict by   Pauline Tesler,. Held in Johannesburg (approximately 80   attendees) and Cape Town (30 attendees)

AUGUST 2013  SAILA launch – the South African Integrative Lawyers   Association holds its first meeting (6 meetings held btw 2013 & 2014)

JAN 2014  Amanda & CIL guest-speaker Dr Kim Wright, present 3 day Integrative Law Program to 25 Legal Aid Justice Centre managers

FEB/MAR 2014  SAILA holds its 6th meeting in Cape Town. Interest shown in launching chapters of SAILA in Johannesburg.

FEB/MAR 2014  CIL presents Collaborative divorce training (second time in SA) in Johannesburg and Cape Town by Dr J Kim Wright

MARCH 2014  CIL guestspeaker Dr Kim Wright speaks at Miller du Toit Family Law Conference and UNISA on Integrative   Law & Collaborative Practice.

APRIL 2014  NACP – NATIONAL ACADEMY OF COLLABORATIVE   PRACTICE established in Cape Town.

A lot of projects late 2014 and early 2015 did not come to fruition – but in September 2015 the CIL presented Finding New Ways for Women to Lead in Law to extraordinary feedback and reviews. Please see the video on the CIL’s home page. We’re now launching WOLELA: Women Leading in Law, a new national community of women lawyers seeking to develop themselves professionally and personally over the course of 2016. And Finding New Ways will run in 2016 in both JHB and CT.

LAWYERS AS PEACEMAKERS – UNISA OCTOBER 2015

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Bev Loubser talks to Chamundai Curran.

At this event, it was a privilege to see lawyers I’ve connected with over the last 4 years, who have supported the mission and vision of the CIL, stand up and talk about the legal work and projects they’re now running. These are all extraordinary individuals who are finding the courage to do things differently and bring light & new thinking to the areas of law in which they practice. They include:

Robert DeRooy, mediator and lawyer in Cape Town who’s developing visual contracts for domestic workers as well as drafting contracts using systems thinking and non-adversarial approaches – very pioneering work.image1

 

That’s me talking to Robert De Rooy.

 

 

 

 

Gaby McKellar, magistrate at the Wynberg Court who does extraordinary caring and compassionate work with families and children. I gave her talk a standing ovation! 

Bev Loubser – trained in Collaborative Divorce, helping establish this new methodology as a viable and family-saving way of approaching divorce. 

Jacques Joubert, mediator who dedicates enormous time to teaching mediation skills and showing litigators that there is another way.

Sheena Jonker, a restorative justice peacemaker who does amazing work whenever there is conflict in any community, she jumps in and helps – often in very volatile situations where her own safety is at risk.

It was also a privilege to meet Chamundai Curran, a lawyer turned spiritual healer from Australia, who I hosted for an introductory session (and healing) with a few lawyers the following week in Cape Town.

And of course to finally meet Peggy Hora, the judge who is famous for pioneering specialist Drug Courts in the US. I have long wished these courts would be established in South Africa, removing from the criminal justice system, those drug addicted offenders who have a good chance of rehabilitation.

And of course, it’s always like a home-coming to spend time, though this was very very little time, with Kim Wright, who is the global connector of people committed and interested in Integrative Law everywhere. 

It was eye opening to hear Judge Bosielo share his forward-thinking views on integrative law & it gave me much to hope for in our SA justice system if we have more judges like him.

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Talking to Judge Bosielo, with Nic Swart, director of the LSSA behind us.

 

 

 

 

I am grateful to Prof Faris and his team at UNISA – as they are the only other organisation in South Africa currently  using the term “Integrative Law, other than the CIL. Thank you for bringing together so many open hearts and minds under one roof at the Lawyers as Peacemakers conference so that we can continue to inspire and encourage each other to bring a new consciousness to the legal system.

It is now time I step back for a few months, despite being in the middle of birthing WOLELA – Women Leading in Law – because I am about to birth my own little boy due on 1 December.

There is so much I still want to achieve with the Centre for Integrative Law, but above all, I know I need to be a role model for the concept of integration. And right now, that means putting my family first for a while.

With thanks to all that have helped get the Centre for Integrative Law where it is today, and all those who work tirelessly to heal the legal profession and help the world see lawyers in a new light.

Amanda Lamond

(PS. for those who don’t know, my name happens to mean “the worthy of love lawyer”. Pretty apt!)

Um, Remind Me What is Integrative Law about again?

Lawyer as Gladiator
Lawyer as Gladiator

The Integrative Law Movement is an international movement of 1000’s of lawyers, legal advisors, judges, mediators, law students who are questioning the existential environment surrounding the legal system. We are asking: What if we aren’t all separate and at odds with each other? What if the corrections system with its focus on retribution is ultimately dehumanizing and damaging to all of us? Maybe we will always have problems and disputes and accidents and crimes but is there a better way to address these problems than suiting up in armour and hacking away at each other, symbolically or otherwise? But how do we get from here to there?*

* the beautifully phrased questions are by Sheila Boyce, reproduced in Lawyers as Peacemakers by J Kim Wright.

You must’ve noticed that there are a lot of unhappy lawyers out there. Perhaps you are one of them? You’ve probably also noticed that public perception of lawyers is poor. Been subjected to any lawyer jokes recently? You know there is a growing sense that the legal system no longer represents societal values. You see clients turning to alternatives other than litigation and avoiding the costs of legal consultations by downloading contracts off the internet. In response to the growing dissatisfaction of both clients and lawyers and to address the fact that our legal system just isn’t meeting the current needs of society, the Integrative Law Movement has developed. It is a movement which integrates the existing system with new models and ways of practising law. It integrates learning from other disciplines like psychology and organisational development. It integrates integrity and purpose into the practice of law. If you haven’t heard about Integrative Law yet, you need to get on board.

The world is shifting radically as we all realise the systems we’ve created over the last few centuries are not really working for us. Globally we are seeing the unrest and overthrow of old systems as people question the economic systems, the political systems, food systems, health systems, education systems and legal systems. Increasingly, educated and aware clients are choosing mediation over litigation. These clients are also asking for value-based billing systems over the traditional billing by the hour method. Cutting edge law firms are responding to these requests. One such firm is Marque in Australia. This is how Marque differentiates itself:

“Marque is a law firm that does not measure the value of its people or its clients in 6 minute units of time. We do not charge by the hour. We do not charge you when we pick up the phone or send you an email. We do not charge you for taking you to lunch or travel time or any of that kind of stuff that is disconnected from the real value of what we do. We invest in long term relationships with our clients, and we measure the value of our services in the same way that you do. We have a lot to offer, and we provide it in a way that doesn’t hurt. That’s a small part of the Marque difference.”

Understanding the Integrative Law Movement can be tricky because it encompasses a wide range of different concepts and developments that at first glance, seem not to have anything to do with each other. Here are a few parts of the Integrative Law Movement.

  1. There are new models and new areas of legal practice. Examples of these include specialised Drug Courts and other Problem Solving Courts (eg Gambling Court); Preventive Law; Collaborative Divorce; Restorative Justice and Transformative Mediation. The Centre for Integrative Law is trying to network South African lawyers who are naturally gravitating towards these types of practice and to provide training in new models that do not yet exist here yet.
  2. Law firms are beginning to break away from Centuries-old traditions.  Developments include introducing flexi-time, remote working and new billing practices.
  3. Lawyers are doing personal development work. It is not by accident that we’ve ended up with a system in which most lawyers live exclusively in their intellectual zone, with no time or inclination to explore the emotional and spiritual aspects of their lives. It is not by accident that law schools teach that emotions and feelings are irrelevant and irrational to the practice of law. And it is not an accident that in order to live up to the stereotype demanded of the successful lawyer, hundreds of thousands of lawyers are suffering from chronic depression and substance abuse. All over the world there are programs being developed to help lawyers connect who they really are with the work they do. The Centre for Integrative Law is developing its own programs in conjunction with world leaders in Legal Leadership. Some of these are online programs that allow lawyers to coach themselves from the comfort of their own offices.
  4. Lawyers are beginning to take up contemplative practices to help them cope with stress and to be more present to their clients. 13 Bar Associations in the US now offer Continuing Legal Education points for lawyers who do Mindfulness Training. Law schools and universities all over the US, Europe and Australia now offer meditation courses to law students and faculty. The CIL has partnered with ex Human Rights lawyer, now Director of Mindfulness Africa to bring Mindfulness to South African lawyers.
  5. Humanizing Legal Education is a major aspect of the Integrative Law Movement. There’s a critical need to change the way we educate lawyers if we wish to bring more humanity to the legal system.

I recently chatted to a wonderful Portuguese holistic lawyer who is also a motivational speaker and the creator of a non- profit organisation dealing with domestic violence. She is of the view, along with many Integrative Lawyers, that the role of lawyers is fundamentally one of peacemaker.  She explained to me laughing that “when clients come to me and it becomes clear that they want a gladiator, I tell them they’re in the wrong century!” She is one of many amazing lawyers I meet every week, both inside and outside South Africa,who are deeply compassionate people, committed to making a difference in the world by supporting their clients. Yet these lawyers don’t fit the stereotype and they struggle to survive in a profession that an often hostile profession that rejects the notion of lawyers as emotional beings.

There is still a time and place for gladiator lawyers ready to go to battle. But it’s a limited one. The world is calling for lawyers who are not only Fighters, but who are Problem Solvers and Designers too. We are moving towards an era of Multi-Dimensional Lawyering.

“This is the place to begin: with a new mentality for lawyers and the public about the possibilities in law for securing human interaction and fulfillment in solving problems. To make that new mentality real, lawyers must develop new skills of listening, of identifying interests, of framing and investigating problems, and of finding solution systems that offer mutual gain. As lawyers use these new skills, new legal structures will evolve around them. When that happens, the law will have re-invigorated its historical function of helping to secure human goals.” ~ Thomas D. Barton and James M. Cooper

If any of this resonates with you, please get in contact with the Centre for Integrative Law and make sure you read about SAILA. 

PLEASE TAKE 2 MINS TO LET THE CIL KNOW WHAT ASPECTS OF INTEGRATIVE LAW INTEREST YOU! CLICK HERE: What do YOU want from the Centre for Integrative Law?

The Paradigm Shift from Conventional to Collaborative Practitioner

478kb Collab Divorce Training CT

 

From the moment I stumbled across this quote by the legal pioneer and visionary Pauline Tesler: “who the lawyer is matters as much as the power of the lawyer’s intellect” I knew I had to meet this woman! Chance was in my favour and I was able to include an afternoon in San Francisco with Pauline in my Canadian trip itinerary 2 weeks later  – in July 2012. When I heard Pauline explain her extensive work in Collaborative Divorce, I vowed then and there to bring her to South Africa. Fast forward 8 months, many sleepless nights, a distinct lack of sponsorship of any kind but a steely resolve remained that the Centre for Integrative Law would bring Collaborative Divorce training to SA come hell or high water.  In April 2013 I proudly introduced the powerhouse that is Pauline Tesler to roomfuls of South African attorneys!

For  years individual lawyers in South Africa tried to get Collaborative Practice off the ground here but were constrained by the significant costs of bringing an experienced CP trainer to SA and amassing enough lawyers to attend training in something not yet familiar in SA family law. Sunel Beeselaar of FAMAC wrote a paper on Collaborative Divorce as part of her Masters in Conflict resolution at the University of Stellenbosch’s Africa Centre for Dispute Settlement.  I met Sunel at the CIL’s First Integrative Law Conference featuring US guest Kim Wright, in September 2012, and her belief that SA was ready for Collaborative Divorce training spurred me on.

Pauline Tesler is world-renowned as the Collaborative Divorce guru but her other more recent area of expertise is equally fascinating: neuroscience and law. In order to make the most of Pauline’s SA visit we arranged for her to provide Collaborative Divorce training and Neuro-literacy for Lawyers in both Cape Town and Johannesburg. You can read more about what the Neuro-Literacy Training involves here. You can read comments by delegates here.   

In the end, it was the attendance by substantial numbers of Legal Aid delegates who attended the Johannesburg Collaborative Divorce Training, and the Neuro-Literacy for Lawyers Program, which made all 4 events possible. My attempts to obtain sponsorship showed that Integrative Law and its new practice areas are still treated with some scepticism by many legal professionals in South Africa! But I have a sense this is about to change and that support from the larger firms for training in Mindfulness, Collaborative Divorce, Therapeutic Jurisprudence, Transformative Mediation and Conscious Contracting amongst others, will soon materialise.  There are hundreds if not thousands of lawyers in SA who are ready to embrace the momentous shift faced by legal systems and legal professionals everywhere.  The Centre for Integrative Law is committed to ensuring that those lawyers in SA who are ready, have access to the latest, courses, training and practice areas developing worldwide.

The 35 lawyers trained in Collaborative Divorce were extremely enthusiastic and welcomed a new way of practising. It was heart warming to see, in sharp contrast to the jokes made about “sharks”, a group of lawyers on the edge of their seats wanting to know more about empathy, about compassion, about helping divorcing spouses maintain dignity and respect for each other. Many of the lawyers drawn to CP are those litigators who have excelled at trial but realised the enormous toll it has taken on them and their clients and is ready to find another way to help spouses separate.

The NACP (National Academy of Collaborative Professionals) is the chosen name for a South African organisation or affiliation to take this movement forward in SA. Practice groups have been created in both Cape Town and Johannesburg. In order to really get Collaborative Practice off the ground, more attorneys will need to be trained (as every Collaborative Divorce needs 2 attorneys) and attention needs to be brought to the public about this alternative method.

A sad postscript to this article is tragic news sent to me by one of the attorneys trained in CP in April, from Johannesburg. On 18 July a man in Johannesburg shot his ex wife and both daughters before shooting himself.  The mother is apparently alive in hospital. It is believed that they had gone through a painful divorce and had issues around the visitation rights for the children amongst other things. While lawyers cannot necessarily prevent tragedies like these, there is no doubt that divorce is such an immensely traumatic event that lawyers have to receive better training to recognise warning signs and to help clients access their highest selves, and to access the greatest vision the client can possibly hold regarding their future relationship with their children and ex spouse. Lawyers also need to work with mental health professionals, as in the CP model, so that help is available for clients who are not able to manage their experience.

A second round of Collaborative Practice training looks like it will take place in late November, early December. Please ensure you confirm your subscription to receive Shark Free Waters if you want to receive news on early registration specials. Or get in contact with some of the wonderful people in South Africa who are working to make divorce easier for clients, be they lawyers, social workers or spiritual divorce coaches.