People have often asked me how I went from practicing as a naturopath to becoming an attorney. The truth is, I've asked myself the same question more times than you can count. It has been quite a shock going from a healing profession to one that prides itself on being zealously adversarial.
But I have been relieved to learn that just as there are holistic or alternative practitioners in medicine, many attorneys are now discovering a more peaceful way to practice law. There is even an international association of holistic lawyers, many of whose members I had the privilege of working with at their annual conference last June.
Some of the legal modalities practiced by holistic attorneys include:
These practices focus on a more holistic, humanistic, solution-based approach to resolving legal problems, an approach that many clients want and need. In fact, these methods are becoming so popular the American Bar Association has just published a new book called Lawyers as Peacemakers: Practicing Holistic, Problem-Solving Law, by Kim Wright. Kim is one of the pioneers of the holistic law movement; her website Cutting Edge Law provides a wealth of information about the various forms of practice, and profiles dozens of attorneys who have happily transformed their practices into more satisfying ones.
As Kim explains, "Around the country, lawyers [are now] exploring these new approaches which [has] allowed them to return to the reason most of them went to law school: to help others and to be able to live a good and meaningful life."
Sounds good to me.
What is your opinion about the best way to resolve disputes? Would you prefer to have a bulldog litigator in your corner and let a judge or jury decide who's right, or would you prefer to engage a more holistic negotiator who might be able to resolve both your legal and non-legal issues in a more peaceful manner? If you are an attorney, are you satisfied with the litigation process? Can you envision ways your practice could become more personally satisfying?