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
Contemplative Practices in Law
Psychology of Lawyers & Multiple Intelligences
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
Contracts: Conscious, Values-based
Contracts: Proactive Law
Using Legal Visuals
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
Integral Law and Spiral Dynamics
Therapeutic & Problem-Solving Courts
Law & Economics
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.