Here is the latest post from student editor, Anna Jirschele:
The title of this post comes from the inspirational “holistic lawyer” J. Kim Wright, who emphasizes peacemaking in the law profession. J. Kim Wright spoke about her book, Lawyers as Peacemakers, on the Jeena Cho’s “The Resilient Lawyer” podcast (which I would highly recommend!). One part of the podcast that caught my attention was Jeena and Kim’s discussion about the law school culture which breeds a certain type of lawyer. Peacemaking is an all too rare goal among lawyers, and it starts in the environment of law school. After an unfortunate experience with ruthless classmates in law school, Kim made it her mission “to be a lawyer without being a jerk.” In the podcast, Kim discusses her journey to become the holistic and collaborative lawyer she is today. In her now flourishing career as a lawyer, speaker, and consultant, Kim emphasizes helping lawyers discover their authentic path while staying true to their values. In Lawyers as Peacemakers, being authentic means “a focus on a more holistic, humanistic, solution-based approach to resolving legal problems.”
I began thinking about a similar message last semester when I chose to explore the Mediation Clinic at Chicago-Kent. I became a certified mediator, mediating real cases in small claims court within the first month of the semester. During my 1L year, I found myself longing for an area of law that would allow me to incorporate parts of my personality that a traditional attorney position would not offer. Mediation allows me to tap into my “clients” true needs and interests. Yes, attorneys serve their clients to the best of their ability, but I often found that clients still feel marginalized by the court system whether they win or lose their suit. I think every attorney or law student has heard a client say “it’s about the principle of the matter!” I believe clients want to feel heard within the legal system, and mediation best serves that end. Connecting my story back to Kim’s mission, my authentic legal path means seeing clients’ needs and interests beyond winning, and finding a legal solution that promotes the most peace among the parties.
As a law student or as a lawyer, I challenge you to find figure out what your values are. Figure out what parts of your personality must shine through in your career (legal or otherwise). And finally, never compromise those values. Read more about J. Kim Wright at lawyersaspeacemakers.com; and listen to Jeena Cho’s conversation with J. Kim Wright on The Resilient Lawyer podcast.