J. Kim Wright's blog
As regular readers know, I was asked to write a book on Lawyers as Peacemakers for the American Bar Association. I've created a survey to collect some information. Please take a few minutes to help us.
Lawyers only: Please take a few minutes and click on the link below:
Thanks so much!
I was scheduled to speak on Friday at the National Association of Women Judges Conference in Memphis. I expected to zoom in, speak, and leave. I almost parked my car in a 2 hour spot but was concerned I might not quite make it back. After all, who wants to hang out with a bunch of women judges?
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. - Mahatma Gandhi
I regard it as a duty which I owed, not just to my people, but also to my profession, to the practice of law, and to the justice for all mankind, to cry out against this discrimination which is essentially unjust and opposed to the whole basis of the attitude towards justice which is part of the tradition of legal training in this country. I believed that in taking up a stand against this injustice I was upholding the dignity of what should be an honorable profession. -Nelson Mandela
Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb. - Sir Winston Churchill
For over ten years, I've been talking about the transformation of the legal profession. Those words are shorthand for a bigger conversation which I sometimes express as an inquiry: What if lawyers were peacemakers, problem-solvers and healers of conflicts?
Take a moment and imagine the paradigm shift of lawyers being peacemakers, problem-solvers and healers of conflicts. The world is facing a lot of problems these days. Many of them seem critical to the survival of the species or at least to the quality of life, peace and security of our country. A friend of mine with interests in both conflict resolution and environmental issues grew up with the goal of saving the world. After law school, she told me that she was torn about where to put her energies. Would the world be destroyed first by conflict or by environmental disaster? We need our best and brightest minds and most passionate hearts to be engaged in solutions, in finding common ground, healing polarization, in addressing the critical problems of the day with reason and compassion.
Lawyers occupy a large percentage of the leadership positions in our country. About half of all the members of Congress have law degrees and we all know that lawyers hold a lot of other political offices from local city councils to a high percentage in the executive and judicial branches of all levels of government. Lawyers are community leaders in many ways other than politics, on boards of directors of corporations, for-profit and not-for-profit. In many kinds of crises, lawyers are the ones who are called upon for advice. We are the protectors of human rights, the defenders of the Constitution. We have a lot of power to resolve or escalate conflict. We have the potential to be the problem-solvers or the problem-exacerbators. What if we took on being the problem-solvers?
The adversarial system was a big improvement over armed combat but I believe our society is evolving beyond that. I've seen evidence that the legal recession is actually part of a longer term shift away from adversarialism. Healthy people are exploring better ways to resolve their conflicts. One judge lamented that the majority of his cases now involve one party with personality disorder since everyone else settles out of court. In the business world, corporations can no longer afford the luxury of enemy-making through litigation.
Noting the trends toward a decrease in litigation, the ABA recently predicted that alternative dispute resolution is an area of growth in the profession. Those in the ADR profession haven't yet seen that shift in an increase of business and we are challenged to find ways of educating the public to the value of peacemaking attorneys rather than just avoiding the conflict or filing pro se.
Change is Urgent
Several studies and my own interviews have supported the idea that beginning law students have altruistic motives. In dozens of interviews, I've heard “I went to law school to change the world.”[If viewing from home page, click Read More or the title for rest.]
If you're a regular visitor, you have already noticed that we're remodeling. The familiar faces on the home page are changing. New content is being uploaded. We're re-organizing.
Six months after launch, we have over a thousand files and we're preparing to double that over the next few months. Our original ideas about how the site would be used are being tweaked to reflect the reality.
Publisher's Note: I sent this out as a newsletter a little while ago and I'm reposting it here in case there is anyone in the known universe who is not already on my mailing list. ;)
"We must let our voices be heard for our ideas and our ideals are important; it doesn't take a great deal of intellect to solve problems that confront us everyday. Some of our greatest ideas came from ordinary people trying to make things right." David Tanguay
A quick report in the midst of book-writing:
While I wasn't looking, last month we passed the mark of 20,000 unique visitors. By the end of this month, we expect to be at about 25,000. Not millions but not too shabby either.
The great news is that each visitor visits an average of over 4 pages and visits twice. So, people are spending some time on the site.
We showed up in Ode Magazine's newsletter in August. I've been interviewed for some other periodicals and expect those articles to land in the next couple of months.