Who Are Integrative Lawyers Really? (And What it Might Mean For You)
Imagine lawyers as peacemakers, collaborators, looking to inject some joy and love into society – explore with us: Who are Integrative Lawyers, really?
22 September 2021
Peacemaking. Love. Compassion. And satisfaction. If these aren’t the type of thoughts that come to mind when you think about your lawyer, you might want to explore: Who are Integrative Lawyers? Because there’s a whole new side to the law you didn’t know was out there.
About Integrative Law
If you missed our previous post, we explored the origins and nature of Integrative Law, a global movement of lawyers and law-makers actively working to change how our legal systems function. To find ways to make it more conscious and positive for all of society – explore with us: What is Integrative Law?
Many people have a negative outlook/opinion about the legal system and lawyers – and that’s so unfortunate, because the law is so integral to our lives – it sets and reinforces the rules, systems and principles on which our society functions.
If you think about it, the law can be used for so much good in this world.
And that’s where Integrative Lawyers come in.
Who are Integrative Lawyers really?
If Integrative Law is a movement to make the law more conscious, caring, holistic and approachable, Integrative Lawyers are the people making it happen.
You should know that no one organised the Integrative Law movement. The quest to make things better started when individual lawyers who wanted to make a real difference, working on their own, took the initiative. All over the world, lawyers, who believed that the legal system could be better and more humane, started doing things a little differently in their own practices and interactions with clients.
Integrative Lawyers are legal professionals, all around the world working actively within their own practices to change the adversarial nature of the law, and find ways to use the legal system to create peace, understanding and true rehabilitation and collaboration instead.
Phew, big words… perhaps the best way to understand who Integrative Lawyers are is through sharing some of their stories:
Some examples of Integrative Lawyers and their journeys
Being a peacemaker instead
Probably one of the best-known Integrative Lawyers is J. Kim Wright. She’s published numerous books on the subject, famously spent years interviewing other Integrative Lawyers around the world (see the recordings here) and is a coordinator for the global movement.
And in the above video, we get a unique insight into J. Kim Wright’s own story. Disillusioned with the law on completing law school – practising law just seemed so miserable and negative! – she almost didn’t pursue a legal career.
That is until she was inspired by a divorce lawyer who explained one day that the foundation of his law practice and his own personal goal with every divorce case was to handle it in such a way that both parties separated with dignity and friendship.
“That was the moment for me,” she says. “I realised that I could be that kind of lawyer. I could be a lawyer who is a peacemaker and a healer.”
Connecting through values
Known as a practising Integrative Lawyer in South Africa and the United Kingdom, Rhiannon Thomas of Milkwood says that Integrative Law requires an attorney to want to be more holistic in their work.
It’s not just about intellect. But also a capacity for compassion, self-reflection and connecting with others. “Because an Integrative Lawyer wants to bring their whole self to their work, so that you can have joy in what you do, because you’re being yourself.”
Discover the 9 shared values of Integrative lawyers.
A practice built around Love
Another example is Sean Mason of Mason Love Law, who, as an Integrative Lawyer working with estate planning and divorce, says he wanted to be a mediator that creates positive interactions with the law. So he styled his divorce-focused practice around the concept of Love (his chosen life purpose). And within one year, his clients were happier and his income increased by 70%.
Creating joy and happiness
Yet another, Australian law firm, Marque Lawyers, was started by a group of successful lawyers who sought to “create happiness” through law. So they did away with billable hours, created a fun, open-space office and invited artists into their space to explore and play with new ideas. It’s a very different way of running a legal practice.
What makes Integrative Lawyers different?
It’s common knowledge that most people enter the legal world in search of money and status – hence all the “lawyer jokes” and cliches. But Integrative Lawyers practice law to actually make a change through connection and healing. Many of these lawyers went into law because they wanted to be of service to society.
Here’s what you can expect from an Integrative Lawyer:
- Integrative Lawyers are reflective – they don’t just do, they ask why and explore the real reasons behind things.
- They are guided by purpose and values – in an industry largely tainted by prestige and money, Integrative Lawyers want to deliver legal services in alignment with their own values and principles.
- Integrative Lawyers are system thinkers – while the legal field is often intentionally myopic in its approach, Integrative Lawyers look wider, trying to see the interconnectedness between things.
- They want to bring change – it’s not just about legal procedures, it’s about finding ways to make the law more accessible and workable.
Now, who would you rather connect with?
Discover the 9 shared values of Integrative lawyers.
(Wondering why that’s special? Just take a look at what happens when traditional lawyers resist change a little too fiercely.)
Connect with an Integrative Lawyer near you
Integrative Lawyers are very diverse and you’ll find them all around the world – see the global website.
And, if you’re based in South Africa or the United Kingdom, you’ll find a proud Integrative Legal consultancy in Milkwood.
From Conscious Contracts® to Antenuptial and Cohabitation Agreements, to Conscious Parting, Wills and Legacies – Milkwood even offers Training and Workshops on how to build your own Integrative Law practice. See our Integrative Legal Services.
At Milkwood, we are peacemakers and problem-solvers who want to help make the law a positive experience for our clients. We’re all about compassion, caring, continuous learning, humour, integrity, listening, trust and wellbeing.
And we’d love to share in your journey.