Encouraging women to find new ways to lead in law


Convened by the UCT Law @ work Professional Development Project and the Centre for Integrative Law, the recent summit entitled, ‘Finding New Ways for Women to Lead in Law’, evidenced that the old traditional way of practicing law is undergoing an exciting transformation.

Companies with names such as Whipping the Cat and Cognia Law were among the sponsors at the event, which was attended by more than 100 women delegates.

The concept of new law is undoubtedly gaining momentum, as young lawyers take up the challenge to find new ways of leading in law. Along with a noticeably greater number of women lawyers entering the profession, there appears to be a simultaneous emergence of a more conscious, more purposeful approach to spending a life in law, which underpins the new young lawyer.

The summit was initiated and conceptualised by Amanda Lamond, Director of the Centre for Integrative Law, who noted the increase of women in the legal profession, and raised the question of whether the legal profession would be transformed by the women who practice law.

In an emotional sharing of inspiring stories of the various journeys of women in their legal careers, from high-powered professionals and practicing lawyers to academics, and consulting entrepreneurs, it was apparent that the personal sacrifices for women who have achieved in the legal world required a delicate balance of the head and the heart.  TO READ MORE: 







In 2012 the CIL held the first South African Integrative Law Conference, attended by 40 legal professionals. This was just an appetizer.

In 2015 the CIL is proposing a somewhat radical multidisciplinary Integrative Law Conference and we are aiming to get 500 brilliant minds under one roof.

More and more lawyers in South Africans are coming to understand what is meant by “Integrative Law” and that it is a worldwide movement of which we are very much a part. Integrative Law is not an American thing and it’s not a European thing. It’s just the term given to a movement that encompasses change in every part of the legal system. Some of these include:


Accountability & Forgiveness

Trauma in Legal clients

Coaching and Counseling for lawyers

Apology and Forgiveness

Business Models & Beyond Billable Hour

Compassionate Lawyering

Contemplative Practices in Law

Psychology of Lawyers & Multiple Intelligences

Creative Problem-Solving

Lawyer Well-Being, Resilience & Positive Psychology

Training in Neuro-Science & Law



Leadership for Lawyers

Values-based Law Practices




Contracts: Conscious, Values-based

Contracts: Proactive Law

Using Legal Visuals

Cooperative Law

Collaborative Civil Law

Collaborative Family Law

Holistic Litigation and Arbitration

Human Rights, Peace and Justice

Humanizing Legal Education



African Jurisprudence and Ubuntu

Project for Integrating Law, Politics & Spirituality

Earth Law & Earth Jurisprudence

Holistic Law

Integral Law and Spiral Dynamics

Therapeutic Jurisprudence

Therapeutic & Problem-Solving Courts

Preventive Law

Law & Economics

Innovative Justice

Yes it is a very broad movement but many of those working in these distinct areas are realizing that we hold similar intentions: healing the legal system or at least our corner of it.

We are working in a broken legal system. Lawyers are suffering and disillusioned. Substance abuse is rife in the profession. Young lawyers are leaving law firms for business where they aren’t subject to the tyranny of the billable hour. People talk about the courts in tones of despair or disgust. It is the demise of many parts of the legal system as we know it but the same shift in happening in education and in finance and in medicine. There is much to be hopeful for because when one takes a macro view we start to understand how “as one system culminates and starts to collapse, isolated alternatives slowly begin to arise and give way to the new.”

There are many lawyers, law firms and legal academics in South Africa doing pioneering work, such as Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, senior research professor in trauma, memory and forgiveness at the University of the Free State in South Africa. There is Marietjie Botes doing work involving Legal Visual Contracts and other pioneering projects taking mediation into the realm of medical negligence cases, Rhiannon Thomas creating an interdisciplinary process by working with a psychologist to create value-based antenuptial Agreements. There are lawyers using Lateral Thinking Tools they learned doing MBA’s and there are small firms developing apps that change how they interact with their clients and how meetings are conducted and contracts drafted. So many wonderful developments but most are contained within a specific realm: there are conferences where academics speak to academics and software developers speak to software developers.

We need to gather, professors and students and lawyers in the private sector and public sector, criminal lawyers and civil lawyers, attorneys and advocates and mediators and government officials – and let us share the new ideas and work out practical ways to bring our best thinking and our humanity BACK to the legal profession and our legal institutions. Let us take specific problems and create task force teams with multiple stakeholders in that issue: the lawyers, the government officials, the community leaders, the businesses wanting to fund sustainable change with their CSR budgets, the consultants with expertise in implementing change programs and measuring their success.

The Integrative Law Conference titled “The Lawyer as Problem-Solver” will take place in 2015. If you want to be a part of bringing this to life please contact the CIL. It is an extraordinary opportunity to be part of building the new system for South Africa.


Robert DeRooy1.     What makes your soul sing?

The short answer is spending time with my 8 month old son. The long answer is working with kind people who employ their intellects collaboratively to solve problems.

2.     What led you towards the Integrative Law Movement?

By 2006 I had practised for nearly 10 years, most of which was consumed by litigation and the stresses that go with it. I then heard about mediation and realised that here was a way in which being a lawyer can actually add value.  I also suddenly had the benefit of looking at the legal game that was consuming me from the outside in. Meeting Kim Wright at the Integrative Law conference that Amanda Boardman facilitated in 2012, and reading Kim’s book “Lawyers as Peacemakers” made me realise that apart from mediation, there are many other ways in which I can practise law that has more meaning for me. It was also very encouraging at that conference to meet and hear about other lawyers in all areas of the justice system moving in this new direction.

3.     Can you briefly describe an “aha” moment in your legal career?

Relevant to Integrative law there are two that stand out: 1. When I realised the potential of mediation. I really wanted to become a full time professional commercial mediator! 2.The other was reading the book by Stewart Levine, “The Book of Agreement”. This thoughtful but practical book has inspired me to change the way I approach and draft agreements, and has made forging and drafting agreements a more meaningful profession.

4.     How do you integrate being a lawyer with taking care of your physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual needs?

I used to approach this problem in compartments, trying to make time for these different aspects of my life, but my work always dominated my time at the expense of the other needs. I find now that by trying to spend more time doing the work that I enjoy and has more meaning, I feel less anxious and overwhelmed, and somehow it’s now easier to find the time to do my sport, read interesting articles and sometimes just to go for a walk.

5.     What is the highest vision you hold for the legal profession?

A legal profession that is more concerned with how it can create value for the society in which we live.




Cape Town Divorce Training

“Collaborative Law is practiced in forty countries; it’s not only an American phenomenon. It is about having such a strong settlement focus that the parties and their attorneys sign an agreement saying that, if they don’t resolve, the attorneys will withdraw and they have to start over. That basically defines collaborative law.”

~Kim Wright, talking on Bruce Whitfield’s radio show “The Money Show”, March 2014

The first 2 months of 2014 were dedicated to running in-house Integrative Law Training programs and setting up for South Africa’s second training in Collaborative Divorce. Several of those attorneys and mediators trained last year by Pauline Tesler of the Integrative Law Institute decided to re-attend the training with Kim Wright to deepen their understanding of Collaborative Practice. Making the switch from a mediation role to a collaborative one or from a litigious practice to a collaborative practice is not a simple one but as more and more family lawyers see the damaging effect of adversarial divorces upon families, they are prepared to investigate and invest in, a different way of practicing law. As those who undertook the training experienced, it requires a complete mindset shift to help one’s client access their highest vision for the future of the relationship, rather than to help the client do battle against their spouse.

To date there are 33 attorneys, mediators, coaches and counsellors in South Africa who have been trained in Collaborative Divorce. Some are already undertaking Collaborative Divorce work while others are slowly bringing in aspects of collaboration and trying to interest clients in what is still an unknown methodology in this country. The Cape Town group has created the National Association of Collaborative Practitioners and it is hoped the Johannesburg group will also be part of this association so that together they can grow awareness of this methodology in the profession and for the public. Success of collaborative practice has grown in other countries through client testimonials. Clients who have experienced an empowering legal process and who have been assisted to seek a settlement not based on anger or pain but a genuine desire to retain their own and their ex-spouse’s respect and dignity, convince their friends and family that this is the only way.

In July Nicolle Kopping-Pavars, a highly respected Collaborative Divorce Attorney who’s an ex-South African living in Canada is going to provide further training to the NACP. Nicolle will also be talking at the SAAM Conference and addressing Advocates for Transformation and the Johannesburg Bar amongst other groups while she is here. Manndi Schuld and Debra Segrott, trained Collaborative Practitioners from Cape Town spent time in the United States during June to deepen their understanding of Collaborative Practice in order to transfer this knowledge to the NACP. It is very encouraging to see this practice area, one of the many Integrative Law practice areas, come to life in South Africa!

The CIL arranged for Kim Wright to speak about Collaborative Divorce on Bruce Whitfield’s The Money show under the “Be a Better You” section. Kim ended up going head to head with the traditional divorce attorney on the show, Graham Greenstein. You can listen to the interview here.


left & right brain paintingAny problem presented by a client may be amenable to a variety of types of solutions of differing degrees of efficacy; a lawyer cannot competently represent or advise the client or other entity unless he or she has the breadth of knowledge and skills necessary to perceive, evaluate, and begin pursue each of the options. Indeed, the lawyer is not even in a position to diagnose the client’s problem adequately, unless the lawyer has the range of knowledge and skill necessary to look beyond the client’s definition of the problem and identify aspects of the problem and related problems which the client has not perceived.” 

~American Bar Association’s McCrate Report on Legal Education and Professional Development

The Centre for Integrative Law was created to develop lawyers’ multi-dimensional skills. We know you’re smart. But you don’t know what you don’t know.

Here’s some information that might help:

Dan Defoe’s blog Psycholawlogy.com provides an easy-to-read overview of Non-traditional Disciplines for Lawyer Effectiveness, Training ad Development, based on the work of Professor Susan DaicoffHere is a list of 12 disciplines that can provide training in the abilities associated with the right hand side of the brain.

  1. Professionalism and Ethics
  2. Lawyer Well Being
  3. Leadership Education
  4. Corporate Management Models
  5. Emotional Intelligence
  6. Psychology and social Sciences
  7. Procedural Justice
  8. Integrative Law/ Comprehensive Law vectors
  9. Conflict Resolution
  10. Dispute Resolution
  11. Contemplative Practices
  12. Continued “clinical” education and training

To take just one of these areas: Procedural Justice: this is unlikely to be something covered in any of your firm’s training programs for associates. Yet how your clients perceive justice will play a major role in whether they recommend your firm’s services to others and whether they retain your services. In short it will affect the bottom line.  Most of this has to do with perception – not with facts. Defoe summarises an understanding of Procedural Justice:

“Three factors of a concept which relates to clients or other participants in the legal process and their satisfaction and with the process and perceptions of fairness:  voice, or opportunity to tell story; participation, chance to have input in the final decision; and perceived trustworthiness of the players, which is a function of receiving respect and experiencing dignity.”

Do you ask your clients for feedback after cases? Are you asking them whether they feel they were given an opportunity to tell their story? Have you ever considered the effect this may be having on repeat business?

If you’re running an in-house legal department you need to be well-versed in the skillset needed by in-house lawyers and know how this differs significantly to that of external lawyers. “In house lawyers, out of necessity, need a split personality. At time you have to think andact like a traditional lawyer. At other times, you must assume the perspective of a corporate executive. Most often you have to be both…for the in-house lawyer, the need for self-awareness and the ability to manage responses are more challenging.” To understand more about this you can refer to the “Perfect Legal Personality” Report in the ACC Docket (Association of Corporate Counsel)

Something else you may be struggling with:

“Most law firms do not have an effective performance counseling system. High performers are rewarded with financial compensation. Poor performers are noted during performance reviews and given feedback about what they need to do better. Then we congratulate ourselves on having dealt with the issue.

Except that we haven’t.” You can read the whole article here.

The Centre for Integrative Law has been building relationships with local and international experts in all these areas, many of who are at the cutting edge of their field.  You might be a forward thinker who sees the advantages that being trained in mediation may bring the lawyers in your firm or legal department but you can’t afford for them to take 5 days off to attend a mediation course. The CIL can custom design a training that includes 1 day of mediation skills (taught by an accredited expert mediator) along with, for example, Scenario Planning Training and a conflict management tool for in-office conflict. If you realize that meetings in your office are ineffective and using a lot of precious billable hours, we can design an intervention using tools such as The Thinking Environment and the 6 Thinking Hats to make your meetings short and highly effective.

If you are thinking about in taking the skills of your firm or your legal department to a whole new level, please contact us for a custom designed program.  Our network includes, professors who run leadership programs at major law schools in the US, experts in anxiety in the workplace, lawyers who are also psychologists and experts in creative problem solving.

We’re currently working on a program for young associates based on the American Bar Association’s McCrate Report on Legal Education and Professional Development

It’s a 400 page report you can read and try get your professional training department to figure out how to train lawyers in the skills they didn’t get at law school or on the job, or you can contact the CIL which, using a network of global experts on this subject, will take on the task for you!

Evolutionary Leadership for Lawyers Program

Sand spiral darker LEADERSHIP


“What kind of person the lawyer is matters equally as much as the power of the lawyer’s intellect.”

~ Pauline H. Tesler, Director of the Integrative Law Institute in San Francisco

There is a growing body of research on leadership indicating that the leader’s worldview and level of consciousness will shape the organisation that he/she leads. In the same way, a lawyer’s worldview and level of consciousness will shape the work he does, whether in trials, or contracts or negotiations. Therefore who the lawyer is, his or her own level of development, will impact the thousands of relationships encountered through his practice. The Centre for Integrative Law is developing cutting edge leadership materials for both law firms, and individual lawyers ready to connect who they are with the work they do. The era has come to embrace the concept of Multi-Dimensional Lawyering.

All too often lawyers working in large firms are unable to bring their full selves to work which greatly diminishes their personal effectiveness and results in many disheartened lawyers leaving the profession. Many lawyers study law with a sense that it is a profound tool for societal change. Yet after a few years in a private practice, whether it is 5 years or 10, they are disillusioned with their inability to make a difference and dissatisfied that the financial rewards have ceased to function as a motivational drive. Large numbers of these lawyers, unable to find outlets for their creativity and entrepreneurial mindsets, leave the profession to start their own businesses or join organisations that recognise people are motivated by very different things. But the profession cannot afford to lose the lawyers it needs the most –the creative lawyers, the entrepreneurial “rule challenging” lawyers and those who work from a place of sensitivity and intuition.

The CIL Evolutionary Leadership for Lawyers program (currently in development) consists of various modules, aimed at different levels of practitioner, covering a range of competencies identified by global experts in leadership for lawyers. The program focuses on skills required to be an integrative or Multi-Dimensional Lawyer: a “Problem Solver” and “Designer” in addition to the established “Fighter” role.

The program aims to

  1. Help lawyers find greater satisfaction in their work, connecting with why they became lawyers in the first place and working to uncover their purpose. Helping lawyers understand the idea of multiple intelligences and that it does not serve us to develop our cognitive ability to the exclusion of all other intelligences.
  2. Develop lawyers’ interpersonal skills which will affect their interactions with their clients, their colleagues, other lawyers and their communities.
  3. Assist lawyers to see the enormous responsibility that comes with legal practice and encourage them develop their personal leadership capacity, based on a deep understanding of themselves, their organisation and the legal system. This is done through lessons on worldviews, values and levels of consciousness.

As lawyers tend to be very short on time, the CIL is investigating ways of making the majority of the modules available online and through webinar format so that participants can do the coursework from the comfort of their own offices.  This also allows for video clips from legal pioneers globally who are assisting the CIL in the development of the materials.

If you or your law firm is interested in Leadership for Lawyers or in being part of trial groups to test the materials, please contact the Centre for Integrative Law.

J Kim Wright, the author of Lawyers as Peacemakers* will be coming back to South Africa to work with the Centre for Integrative Law during the first 3 months of 2014. If your organisation would like to take advantage of this amazing opportunity to be trained by a global leader of the Integrative Law Movement, please send an email to events@integrativelaw.co.za specifying the kind of training you are interested in.

*“Lawyers as Peacemakers follows the ABA’s tradition of publishing cutting-edge books that meld the goals of helping lawyers develop practices that provide competent, profitable, client-centered services and increasing the public’s access to justice. Building on the new paradigm shift of increasing a consumer-oriented, nonadversarial approach as pioneered by mediation, unbundling, and Collaborative Law, Kim Wright challenges lawyers to encourage peace, healing, conciliation, and sustainable human relationships within heartfelt client connections and needed new service products. Perhaps most important, to prevent career burnout and encourage lawyer self-care, this book is a must read just for its tips how to balance important, stimulating careers while maintaining a meaningful personal and home life. This book can truly help make peacemaking your life’s work.”
—Forrest (Woody) Mosten, author of Collaborative Divorce Handbook, Mediation Career Guide, Unbundling Legal Services, and Complete Guide to Mediation, recipient of the ABA “Lawyer as Problem-Solver” Award, ABA Lifetime Legal Access Award, and 2009 ABA Frank Sander Co-Lecturer


Integrative Lawyer Feature: James Wynne

James Wynne


1.       What makes your soul sing?

Time in the outdoors. Particularly, away from the city, in the mountains, on a trail. The Karoo is a particular favourite. Actually, this is a question I’ve had to wrestle with as I haven’t always been clear on what gives me joy and, to some degree, I’m still going through the process of uncovering this aspect of myself. Meeting like-minded people with whom I can connect is another very appealing experience for me; often it will be what I call ‘emotionally-fluent people’, people who’ve worked on themselves, who understand the importance of ‘being’ rather then ‘doing’, who put aside ego, labels and qualifications, and meet me for me. They don’t have to eat lentils and mung beans, but it helps if they have a good sense of humour!

2.       What led you towards the Integrative Law Movement?

The first meeting of integrative lawyers arranged by Amanda at the Hotel School in 2012. It was refreshing to meet legal people who weren’t simply lawyers, but people too and people who care about more than just the law and practice. As someone who left law and then returned somewhat reluctantly, it was eye-opening to hear other lawyers who have become disillusioned with the traditional ways of legal practice and, for those who continue in law, how they reconcile their personal journeys with their practices. And on top of this, hearing of ‘integrative’ ways of practising (from the likes of Kim) made me sit up and take note.

3.       Can you briefly describe an “aha” moment in your legal career?

It was a recent moment when I was meeting another lawyer from one of the so-called ‘big’ firms. Our respective clients were around the table and we were there to negotiate a settlement. My client was open to making an offer and we approached the meeting in an open-minded way, genuinely hoping to find common ground and reach resolution in a friendly way. The other lawyer (who was fairly experienced) approached the meeting as gladiatorial combat, a call to arms, proceeded to lecture me on the merits of his client’s case and did so in such a boorish and dogmatic way that all hopes of reaching amicable agreement were dashed within the first 5 minutes. Subsequent to this initial meeting, this same lawyer telephonically threatened me with how ‘deep his client’s pockets are’ and how his client was intent on making my client pay. It wasn’t just what he said but the arrogant way he said it, that rankled. We did eventually reach agreement some months later, but it was almost in spite of rather than thanks to the lawyers! For me, this was such a clear indication of the traditional, adversarial, pick-up-the-cudgels way of lawyering and by a lawyer that may be seen by many lay- people as representing the more sophisticated and professional side of our profession. An example for me of precisely how I don’t want to act as a lawyer and how disappointing it is that our profession is often characterised by this type of behaviour.

4.       How do you integrate being a lawyer with taking care of your physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual needs?

Although I work within a small firm environment, this is as a consultant. This means I only get paid for the hours I bill and this gives me more flexibility both in terms of office hours – I come and go as I please – but also in how I work. I don’t have fee targets or employees and I try to bill for value given rather than simply for hours worked. Financially, this isn’t always rewarding and can be stressful, but I choose this rather than working in a corporate environment with the stresses that brings.

In some cases, I advise clients on what to do and let them do it themselves, rather than automatically taking up the role of legal representative. In these cases, which often involve counselling as much as legal advice, I often don’t charge or charge only once I have actually provided what I feel is value. This may mean billing 2 hours when I’ve spent double this on the matter. Particularly with litigious-type situations, I find that billing a client R1’500 per hour from the start and sending them an invoice for 2 hours work (of taking instructions and writing one snotty lawyer’s letter to the other side), doesn’t add value. That’s R3’000 for the client and I’ve achieved nothing for them yet. That doesn’t work for me.

Of course, some clients want to be represented (and need to be!) and I do that, but where possible, I don’t litigate and I try to resolve the matter rather than simply fighting my client’s corner. I will often pick up the phone rather than automatically sending written correspondence that comes across as formal and hard. And when matters get to litigation, I hand them over to litigators. I’m not prepared to waste my time and energy on fighting, even if it is other people’s battles.

As I’ve become more emotionally and spiritually aware, I’ve become more attracted to the counselling, mediation and alternative-dispute resolution side of practice, of finding common ground between parties, of facilitating the process between them. I want to grease the wheels of communication and commerce rather than take one side of the table and fight a corner. I try to take this thinking into my daily practice.

Outside being a lawyer, I exercise – yoga, run and some light gym – hike, love (my fiancée), and (with a coach) continue the process of unlocking me (an unfinished work!).

5.       What is the highest vision you hold for the legal profession?

I’d like to see our profession as being more facilitative and enabling, a conduit for better human relationships, be they personal or commercial. Impacting peoples’ lives in a positive way by resolving conflict, providing forums for both hearing and judgment, and being seen by society as constructive, progressive resources that acts with high moral and ethical standards. I suppose, to a large degree and to quote Kim, it’s “lawyers as peace-makers”. In a society that seems to become ever-more violent, we need peace-makers. At the risk of sounding idealistic and totally head-in-the-clouds, what I’m trying to say is that I think the profession has largely lost sight of its ability to help people interact and to solve problems; lawyers are seen as a grudge purchase, out to fleece people of their money and obstructive. This reputation should be changed; in my opinion, it is only lawyers doing themselves (and being) differently that will effect this change.



The Values-Driven Lawyer



“For me the big prize that I walked away with was the knowledge and awareness that I am not alone in the legal world. That there are many other fascinating authentic and richly complex women lawyers all over the world who are conscious at all levels. One loves trees. One practises law from her home aided by her dog. And the male lawyer in the USA who openly proclaims his commitment to Love !” ~ Participant at JHB Values-Driven Lawyer workshop

The Values-Driven Lawyer workshop in Johannesburg in August interestingly, attracted only women. The goals of the workshop were for each lawyer to discover her values, learn how to make decisions based on her values rather than beliefs, and start to build a practice that is in alignment with who she really is. Well, it appeared the goals were a little ambitious for a ¾ day workshop! We did not manage to cover all we’d hoped to, but the conversations were valuable. It emerged there was a strong need for all the women present to share, in a supportive space, about their experience of practising law in a tough, male-dominated environment.

The model used as the basis for this workshop is the 7 Levels of Personal Consciousness designed by the Barrett Values Centre. The different levels, developed from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, show stages in the journey we go through as we evolve our consciousness. If you are interested in learning more about this model, and other models of consciousness you click here to be taken to the Shark Free Waters Blog post on Consciousness.  

Do you know what your values are? Do you keep a list of your values handy so you can refer to it when you have to make a tough decision? Do you wish you could find ways to bring who you really are at a soul level, to the work you do as a lawyer?

If you or your organisation is interested in a Values-Based Lawyer workshop, drop a mail to events@integrativelaw.co.za



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. 


Ahoy – Up She Rises! SAILA – Southern Africa Integrative Lawyers Association

sailor cap square image


Do you ever feel like you’re not a typical lawyer?

Do you ever feel a bit disconnected between who YOU are and the work you do?

Does the idea of a worldwide movement towards emotionally competent and mindful lawyering make a lot of sense to you?

The need has emerged for a space in which like-minded lawyers who identify with the Integrative Law Movement can connect, find out more about what it means to be an Integrative Lawyer and become connected with other lawyers worldwide who are part of the GLOBAL ALLIANCE OF INTEGRATIVE LAWYERS. The Centre for Integrative Law is a consultancy that provides workshops and training in Integrative Law but it’s time to create a separate non-profit association for networking.

Some of the reasons for wanting to meet are these:

  • To support each other in developing integrative ways of practising law – for eg one lawyer is using values as a starting point for ANC’s; another wants to connect with lawyers around restorative justice initiatives
  • To share resources (books, DVD’s, websites)
  • To determine what the needs & wants of the group are
  • To develop a model for SAILA and things like its funding, how often we’ll meet, a website for members, drawing the public’s attention to the Integrative Law Movement, how to identify yourself publicly as an Integrative Lawyer


Wednesday 14 August  

venue: DEAR ME, 165 Longmarket Street Cape Town

(those wishing to be on the committee to drive SAILA will be asked to stay until 7.30pm)