What is the Integrative Law Movement and How is It Changing the Legal World and Society?

 In Office Practice is Life Practice, Redefining a Successful Lawyer

Every legal seminar and workshop that I’ve gone to over the last 29 years has been about improving my knowledge of the law and how to effectively communicate to a jury — until The Lawyers as Changemakers workshop. I attended and spoke at last Friday.

While technical knowledge of the law is critical, so is our ability to listen to our clients. They want more from their attorney than legal advice. This is the message that rang loud and clear at the workshop. Whether it’s consumers, small businesses, entrepreneurs, or business developing organizations, such as Hatch Innovation, there is a groundswell of clients who want more from the legal world.   

The Integrative Law Movement is about giving our clients, and society, more of what is wanted and needed — which is exactly why I started Tipping the Scales. It’s why law firms such as Immix Law Group came into being. It’s also why Kim Wright started traveling the world in 2008. For meaningful change to happen, it starts at a single point: each one of us.  

While I can’t change the practice of law, I can change how I practice law. And when enough of us lawyers take on this task, together, we will bring about substantial changes to the legal world and society.

Listening is an art and a skill. Unfortunately, you’d never know that when looking at legal seminars for attorneys. Historically, there is virtually nowhere that lawyers can go to hone this much-needed expertise.

There are four areas that I identified on Friday where attorneys need to change how they relate to their clients. (There will be both an upcoming series of posts on these — for Tipping the Scales — and a CLE workshop.) They are:

  1. My attorney doesn’t communicate with me.
  2. My attorney doesn’t answer my questions.
  3. My attorney doesn’t care about me.
  4. My attorney doesn’t listen to me.

These statements are from the client’s point of view, not the attorney’s.

When we give equal importance to the art of listening, clients and society will see and experience the legal world as it was meant to be — as healers of conflict. Uniformly, we’ll see a rise in meaningful attorney-client interactions and an increase in attorneys finding increasing joy.  

Organizations such as Lawyers as Changemakers, Start Here HQ, and Tipping the Scales are bringing about change from the inside out. They are all part of the Integrative Law Movement.

For more information about this legal journey, you can visit this link to Kim Wright’s website. 

I’m thrilled to be part of the groundswell from within the legal profession to create needed transformation and innovate all of the areas of law that touch our society. And I invite you to click on the various links in this post to learn more about Integrative Law and get involved where you can.

Regardless of the type of law you practice, when we bring greater meaning to those who need our help, we bring the same to our own lives. And there’s nothing wrong with that!

To view photos from this event, please visit the Lawyers as Changemakers – PDX Facebook page.

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