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conflict resolution methodology (or African Jurisprudence, which is underpinned by principles such as Ubuntu) has been replaced by the RD Law & English systems.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

Women in Law: Finding New Ways

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“Synergistic forces were evident in more ways than imagined when I found myself at a recent summit entitled ‘ Finding New Ways for Women to Lead in Law’, a joint venture between the Centre for Integrative Law & UCT’s Law@Work Division. I had planned to go in my private capacity as an independent consultant/law lecturer but was fortunate to have attended as a guest of the new and innovative law firm, Whipping the Cat, Tailored Legal Services, one of the many sponsors amongst Investec, Old Mutual, Webber Wentzel, Werkmans, Cognia Law and others.

 

Dominique & Ann

What transpired amongst the 100 or more delegates and 24 odd speakers throughout the day- consisting solely of women in law in varying capacities as high- powered professionals and practicing lawyers, academics, and consulting entrepreneurs – was a notably conscious energy of women interested in meeting the challenges of a changing legal world.

Amanda Lamond’s brave and honest opening started with a rhetorical question on these lines: ‘In the last decade, more women have entered the profession. Did this mean that there were simply more women professionals in law or did it mean that law was becoming a more ‘feminine’ profession?’

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This was followed by the warm and inspiring keynote address by Yvonne Kgame who told of her personal journey of ‘Infinite Grace’ (part of the title of her book ,a Miraculous Awakening which she generously gave to me after I introduced myself to her (and spontaneously hugged her!)  commenting on her almost divine wisdom.

TO READ THE REST OF THIS BLOG POST BY DOMINIQUE MALHERBE CLICK HERE 

 

Encouraging women to find new ways to lead in law

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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: 

 

 

 

 

A New Way of Practising Law

AB profile pic 2014

A New Way of Practising Law

“In my noisy family, it’s hard to get a word in,” laughs Amanda Boardman, who admits she probably became a lawyer to be heard. As a wide-eyed law student, it also seemed a glamorous and empowering career choice. But then she discovered jurisprudence – the philosophy of law – and began to imagine a more soulful kind of legal profession, one that would marry values and feelings with procedure and precedent, and allow the client to be heard in a holistic way.

TO READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE IN O MAGAZINE CLICK HERE

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Highly recommended for younger associates in law firms.

ANNUAL INTEGRATIVE LAW CONFERENCE

ANNUAL INTEGRATIVE LAW CONFERENCE

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:

PERSONAL & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR LAWYERS

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

 

DEVELOPMENTS FOR LAW FIRMS

Leadership for Lawyers

Values-based Law Practices

 

NEW AREAS OF PRACTICE CIVIL LAW

Mediation

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

 

DEVELOPMENTS IN LEGAL THEORY & JURISPRUDENCE

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.

INTEGRATIVE LAWYER FEATURE: ROBERT DEROOY

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.

www.linkedin.com/robert-de-rooy

 

COLLABORATIVE APPROACHES TO LAW

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.

SAILA LAUNCH SEPTEMBER 2014

SAILA LAUNCH SEPTEMBER 2014

 

 

 

 

We know that lawyers don’t do touchy feely. We also know that there are a lot of lawyers in South Africa trying to do things differently and feeling like they’re alone. So we have created SAILA, Southern Africa’s Integrative Lawyers Association.

It’s a community of integrative lawyers supporting each other to transform the practice of law towards problem-solving, peacemaking and healing.  Some are more into the problem-solving and some are more into the healing, there’s space for a wide variety of worldviews in SAILA!

To date we’ve held 6 gatherings and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. One lawyer told us that the support of SAILA has finally given her the courage to start doing the type of legal work she’s always wanted to try. Her practice is still composed of 75% of her traditional area of law, but she’s devoting 25% of her time to a new offering that she’s really excited about. Two other lawyers are delighted that SAILA has put them in touch with each other because we could see they both work with legal visual contracts. As neither of them has written or received much publicity about their work (yet) they haven’t been able to find each other online.

In September 2014 SAILA will begin operating on a subscription basis. For the cost of approximately two hours of billable time, you can join a community of lawyers across the country practicing law in new ways.

Being a SAILA member will enable you to:

  • Attend SAILA meetings with like-minded lawyers to support you in your professional and personal development. Some meetings are discussion groups, others are presentations of interest to lawyers eg: executive coaching for lawyers; dealing with anxiety; Creative Problem Solving Tools; Understanding the Neuroscience of Conflict
  • Be part of a Membership directory for the public looking for lawyers who practice client-centred lawyering and do things differently
  • Have access to discussion forums that will allow you to learn from colleagues on subjects such as “moving beyond the billable hour to project based fees” and other Integrative law topics.
  • Have a place to debrief some of the more taxing aspects of your practice
  • Have access to articles, sites and blogs relating to new practice areas and new practice methods
  • Receive significant discounts for CIL trainings and events, including the Annual Conference, more about that HERE.

Joining SAILA will help you realize you’re not alone in your thinking, it may give you the courage to design your practice in alignment with who you truly are and it may encourage you to take better care of all the parts of yourself – to realize your body is not just a life-support system for your intellect!

Lawyers tearful with gratitude is something we’re quite familiar with at the Centre for Integrative Law. Why? Because we work in a profession that brings us into daily contact with people in the grip of rage, tragedy grief, loss, separation and insecurity. It is a profession that expects us to miraculously not take on board any of our clients’ stuff. It is a profession that doesn’t allow for us to have our own emotions about these things or ways of releasing these emotions. Crying about cases is not going to help you in your quest for partnership or the corner office. It is a profession that demands we always have an answer to everyone’s problems. Often we work in organisations where there is very little tolerance for being wrong which cripples any desire we may have to try something new or be creative. Law is based on precedent. We do things this way “because we’ve always done it this way” and we don’t show chinks in the armour of our suits.

Is it any wonder that lawyers find it a relief to realize they are not alone in carrying this burden? To realize that there is indeed a whole repertoire of skills they did not get taught at law school that it might be time to learn. It is always a privilege to work with lawyers ready for change and grateful for support in the change process. This was our experience with many of the delegates during 3 days Integrative Law Training with Legal Aids Justice Centre Managers and senior managers from around the country in January 2014. These are lawyers doing brave work with the poorest of clients and limited resources.  But while in some ways the Legal Aid Lawyers’ experience may be very different from lawyers in private practice, in others it is very similar. Research shows that all over the world there are lawyers thinking:

  • The way I currently practice is not why I joined the legal profession.
  • I sometimes look around the legal system and feel like I am profoundly out of place, like I have landed on an alien planet.
  • I wish I could help my clients understand their own role in creating this conflict!
  • On this case I’d like to use a problem-solving model I’ve been told about and I’d like to see what happens if we brought everyone involved in this conflict into one room but I’m not sure I have the courage to try it.
  • I wish I had the ability to give each case the full benefit of my attention instead of being permanently rushed. I realize when I lie awake at night that mostly what my clients want is someone to tell their story to.

As more lawyers question the legal system and their role in it, they are wanting to connect with colleagues who are not despondent, but are actively pioneering change. The Global Alliance of Integrative Lawyers is beginning to take shape and it is hoped that SAILA will eventually become part of a global network.

You will be sent an invitation to join SAILA in August! Please contact the CIL with any suggestions or comments you may have regarding SAILA.

KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW

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!