Monday, February 11

Hi, I'm a recovering attorney

This morning I sat through what turned out to be a crossover between a mediators' meet and the little I remember of anti-natal classes before the birth of our first child.

[Where, all those years ago, we sat on the floor in our stocking feet after a hot day at the salt mines and introduced our eager first-time-parent-selves; "Hi, I'm Martin - I'm a struggling artist, my passion for art comes before everything" (ha! say goodbye to that, buddy); or "Hi, my name's Jo - I'm a foreign correspondent, just back from covering the war in Eritrea..." - ohhh's and ahhh's from the group.

Then "I'm Geoff, I'm a lawyer, sorry about my socks" - silence]

Oh yeah, the mediator meet.

Well, two mediators, TWO! introduced themselves as 'recovering lawyers'.

That's so offensive - to both professions.

1 comment:

Victoria Pynchon, said...

Yes, it is, offensive. There's actually a social science insight here about how quickly we split ourselves up into groups and demonize the "other."

Old litigators' saying -- "litigation would be GREAT if it weren't for the CLIENTS." Too many mediators I hear say something similar -- "mediation would be GREAT if it weren't for the LAWYERS."

I say -- but the LAWYERS are YOUR JOB! And the best part of your job because you're helping the attorneys become heroes to their clients; getting them out of the jam the litigation has become; translating their clients' fears and desires into concrete solutions; de- and re-constructing the other side's intransigence into something that can be understood and mastered.

If you don't like your former lawyer self, you can't love your litigants, which include the attorneys. And if you can't love the parties; can't resonate, empathize, truly CARE, your "recovering lawyer" will be right back in practice a year from now.

We are, unfortunately, too often our own worst enemies.

Thanks for keeping it real Geoff!