Integrative Lawyer of the Month: Rhiannon Thomas – July 2013

Rhiannon

 

  1. What drew you to the Integrative Law Movement?

For a long time I have viewed law as having the potential to bring about healing in individuals’ lives and in society. To do this I realised that my EQ was as important as my IQ. However, I always felt very alone in this view. Every so often I would cross paths with a like-minded lawyer but they were few and far between. Then I discovered the Integrative Law Movement and realised that there were many other lawyers out there who thought and felt the same way that I did. In fact I soon discovered that there were so many of them around the world that they had begun a movement, which aims to bring together lawyers who have been, or who would like to, practise law in a more meaningful way.

2. In what ways do you consider yourself to be an Integrative Lawyer?

I practise law as an authentic person, bringing my full self to work each day. I also focus on people’s needs and feelings about a situation rather than just the legal issues. I try to find people a meaningful solution not just a legal one.

Currently I am working with a Clinical Psychologist to develop a more holistic approach to drawing up antenuptial contracts (ANC). Together, we have developed a process in which we assist couples to create an ANC which reflects the underlying values and vision for their future marital relationship. This approach, which we call Integrative Contracts, provides a more expansive service, creating more meaningful contracts, which are also legally compliant. We believe that using an interdisciplinary approach we can add value to traditional legal processes which tend to be dry, hollow and formalistic.

I am also working with a Family Counsellor to create a similar approach to drawing up Wills. Not only will the process produce a Legal Will, but there will be the opportunity to create a Living Will and an Ethical Will. All three Wills are tailor-made to the client and will embody their personal values.

These two projects are being launched in September 2013 under the name of Milkwood Law. For more information you can visit our website: www.milkwoodlaw.co.za

3. What has been the biggest influence on your legal career?

When I did my articles I was introduced to a world that was very different to the one I had envisioned at university. My colleagues were successful lawyers but most of them were unhappy and highly stressed. I didn’t want to become like them. But I loved law and its potential to bring about change, even small changes. So I decided at this very early stage of my legal career to remember that I was a person first and a lawyer second and not the other way around.

4. How do you integrate your physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual aspects?

I do my best to live a healthy and balanced life. I explore alternative ways of thinking and being by being open to new ideas. I am not defined by my career but rather by the idea that I am a person who is connected to all other people, to the Earth and the Universe.

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

My highest vision for the legal profession is that one day lawyers will take back what is rightfully theirs – to be part of a profession made up of people who are honourable, ethical and who, using their legal acumen, bring healing to the social fabric of our society.

To get in touch with Rhiannon you can visit www.rtattorneys.co.za