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conflict resolution methodology (or African Jurisprudence, which is underpinned by principles such as Ubuntu) has been replaced by the RD Law & English systems.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!)

Rock the Virtual Meeting World:

Coming Soon:

A 6 session ONLINE course in leadership and management skills for digital leaders. Participants learn to conduct negotiations and meetings online. The course will be facilitated by UK expert in web-conferencing, videoconferencing, telepresence, rapid-authoring e-learning, facilitation in virtual worlds & micro learning on smart phones.

Highly recommended for younger associates in law firms.

Global Alliance of Integrative Lawyers in Amsterdam

Canal in A'dam Coffee in Amsterdam

 

421 kb 7 Lawyer healers in Amsterdam

On Sunday 7 July, on a borrowed old bicycle, I had to pinch myself that I wasn’t dreaming as I rode along the winding streets and sunlight dappled canals of Amsterdam to a very special gathering of awakened lawyers from 6 continents.  We were gathering to plant the seeds for a new Global Alliance of Integrative Lawyers as a result of some chance encounters, Skype calls and synchronistic meeting ups that took place in the last 6 weeks.

I count myself extremely privileged to have been part of such a profound day. From the moment we started to arrive, the intensity of our shared intention to bring about healing in the legal profession was palpable.  In a somewhat audacious move, I found myself being the representative of Africa’s role in the Integrative Law Movement, as the Director of the Centre for Integrative Law in South Africa.

Representing the US was Kim Wright, author of the ABA highly acclaimed book Lawyers as Peacemakers. Kim is currently on a European tour gathering momentum for the Integrative Law Movement in Europe.  You can read more about Kim on www.cuttingedgelaw.com. 

From Europe there was Tiffany Stephens from Scotland, currently a non-practising lawyer, focusing on personal development and healing as her main career. But since the gathering, is looking at how to bring all she has learned back to the legal profession. http://about.me/stephenstiffany

Eline Van Veenendal kindly hosted us in her office in a beautiful part of Amsterdam around the corner from the Rijks Museum. Eline practised in transnational commercial law before moving into a management consultancy role for several law firms. She is a professional co-active coach and specialist in Deep Democracy and Group Emotional Intelligence. www.elinevanveenendaal.nl

Femke Wijdekop, from Amsterdam, studied public law and then worked for a few years as a researcher in Constitutional & International Law. She is passionate about Earth Law and the possibility of making Ecocide the 5th Crime Against Peace. Femke uses her skills as a writer, researcher and interviewer to give voice to legal issues and the growing Integrative Law Movement.

Digna de Bruin, also from Amsterdam worked in a large firm for nearly 20 years.  As a result of several things including becoming a mother and then having a serious accident which took her significant time to heal and led her to yoga, prompted a move to opening her own law practice where she could be totally herself. She writes that she feels “a strong pull towards defending the trees, the earth and animals and also people who are being ‘sandwiched’ by institutions”.  www.debruinadvocatuur.nl

Anna van der Leeuw, from Russia but now living in Holland, has moved from many years in legal practice to a career in healing. Since our gathering she is now also considering how to integrate her legal training with her healing work.

Representing South America, (and present via Skype) was Tânia Motta Nogueira Reis, a holistic lawyer, writer of 4 books, motivational speaker (English, Spanish & Portuguese) and a business management consultant on human values and founder of MONGA – a non profit organization on women studies against domestic violence, developing and bringing peace at home, since 2002 (www.monga.com.br), counselor of UNIPEACE – Holistic University for Peace.

Representing Asia (to her great surprise!) was Nitya Bansal from India. Nitya did a Master of Laws at the National University of Singapore in the year 2011-2012. Currently she is working towards setting up her own practice in Delhi. Her interests are more in mediation and peaceful settlement of disputes.

Cate Banks from Brisbane,  representing Australasia at our gathering, is a committed collaborative and mindfulness practitioner who believes building interdisciplinary relationships with other related professionals is an important means of providing a service that is in the client’s best interest. Dr Cate Banks is Co Managing Director for the Centre for Integrative Law (Australia) and Director and Principal of BUILDING BRIDGES – Centre for Community and Dispute Resolution. Cate is an experienced and highly committed alternative dispute resolution practitioner who has conducted thousands of mediations in a wide range of personal, family, workplace, and community settings. http://www.catebanksconsulting.com.au/

Cheryl Conner, from the US was present via Skype. Cheryl  is a lawyer, economist, composer, keyboardist and healer. A former Asst. U.S. Attorney and Asst. Atty. General, she was one of the way-showers for the holistic law movement in the mid-90s, sharing meditation and reflective education with lawyers, judges and law students, some funded by the Fetzer Institute. She founded Lawyers with a Holistic Perspective, co-founded The New Law Center, was on the founding Board of the International Alliance of Holistic Lawyers and was named the first Legal Rebel by the American Bar Association Journal.

It was a day of deep connection and the beginning of work which will spread around the world, the ramifications of which we cannot yet know. On the practical side, plans were laid inter alia* to create a Linked-in/ FB/ virtual notice board and to work on a group Oath or Mission & Vision Statement for the Integrative Law Movement. But for me the most powerful aspect was sensing the energy generated from gathering 11 people in one place (4 were present virtually) who so thoroughly embody the notion of lawyers being peacemakers and healers. Each of us, as you would see from the more extensive biographies of the participants I hope to feature on www.integrativelaw.co.za , has moved from a career in law to one of healing, and some of us have found ways to integrate the two. It was a truly integrative meeting of left brain and right brain, of law and love, of being and doing.

It sounds a bit “rainbows and unicorns” (my new expression for the more “out there” aspects of the current world shift) but as each of us spoke aloud our vision for a new legal system, it felt like the beginning of something enormous. I was reminded of the Steve Jobs quote “Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, usually do”.

Here’s to the Global Alliance of Integrative Lawyers!

*sometimes I feel the need to throw in the odd bit of legalese to offset the more New-Agey aspects of my writing

Lawyers as Peacemakers and Healers Conference

Arizona

I can’t even write this without stifling a sob – just got off the phone to the amazing J Kim Wright who told me a bit more about this amazing conference of Integrative Lawyers – being held at Phoenix School of Law, Arizona in a week’s time. (FEBRUARY 2013)

The line up is incredible – you may not have heard of  these people but I can tell you that each one has made a profound impact in the areas of:

  • Therapeutic Jurisprudence
  • Discovering Agreement: A Framework for Shifting Business Paradigms toward Trust and Partnership
  • Collaborative Law
  • Restorative Justice
  • Reflective practices in the law
  • Reducing the toxicity of law practice
  • And other approaches to law and dispute resolution that focus on human and relational wellbeing.

I am totally gutted that owing to prior commitments I won’t be able to attend, despite being asked by Kim to speak amongst these luminaries.

Presenter Bios

Phoenix School of Law (PSL) will again be hosting this exciting conference in February 2013. We will be bringing together the disciplines of the Comprehensive/Integrative Law movement to educate the public, encourage and support lawyers, judges, mediators, and other legal professionals in this work. Comprehensive Law, also known as Integrative Law, is an international movement in law that integrates concepts of healing conflict, peacemaking, and humanistic values into legal practice. 
For more info click here