Becoming a changemaker

During the last 30 years, I have often questioned what it means for me to be a lawyer-what do I stand for, and what are the values that are important to me? In hindsight I see that my answer to this question has been consistent, but the struggle to balance out my need to be true to myself, with the need to meet the expectations of others, has clouded the lens that I have looked through. The last 10 years have given me the courage to lift the veil from this lens and see clearly who I am, what sort of lawyer I want to be, and how I can find a niche within the law that allows me to be true to this vision.

I am continuing to explore this niche, and I know that I must continue my journey to learn from others within and outside the law, to evolve towards being the best lawyer that I can be.

This week I was fortunate to be able to come together with 30 other professionals also interested in this journey. Our lead conspirator was J Kim Wright, who has been travelling the world for many years planting the seed to work towards a better concept of justice and the legal profession. Her vision is a world where the whole notion of the law is broadened to reflect respect for universal core beliefs. She advocates for all professionals to act collaboratively to promote and achieve this on a global as well as individual, family, and community level. I would like to share my interpretation of her ideas with you in the hope that others will be as inspired as I have been!


Even contemplating this idea of justice and the law involves a paradigm shift. This is easier for those at the beginning of this journey, but much harder for those of us who have entrenched patterns of thinking, biases and unconscious reactions to external traditional pressures.

This shift must be internalised to produce an integrative practitioner, before it can effectively be carried through into systemic and significant change in practice. We must develop integrative reflective practices, and then share the results of this, to begin to bring about change and growth. The inner life of lawyering must be examined on a multidimensional basis involving self-reflection, reflection on practice, critical reflection, and emotional intelligence.

Familiarity with current trends will reveal a melding of ancient teachings with this new thinking. Wisdom is drawn from meditation, spiritual intelligence, mindfulness, neuroscience, design thinking, empathy and compassion. This provides a new found integrity, based on our core values and what we identify as fundamental to our well-being and authenticity. Best described as reuniting law and love, this requires us to share our wisdom and love with those who are most important to us and who are dependent on us for mentoring and support, guidance and role modelling.

The purpose of law becomes not a framework for punishment or retribution, but for weaving relationships together, setting boundaries, defining duties and obligations, fostering accountability and protecting creative expression. By promoting a holistic approach, a perspective emerges with people and systems connected in a respectful and individual way. The questions become not who should win, what should be the punishment, or who should pay the price; but how to understand what has happened, and where and how those involved need to get to for a better life.


The steps that are required for this systems change include reflective practice, focus on values and purpose, bringing this thinking into our consciousness, engaging in systems thinking, and thereby becoming change makers.

There are many global trends leading the way, but it is sessions like the one this week where individuals can commence their exploration and begin this journey on an individual and community level. It is exchanging ideas, creating momentum and motivation, that will flow into making a difference on a community, state, and even a global level, and hopefully lead to systems change.


This week, we did not shirk from the task of developing this vision, and commencing this journey. We asked ourselves the following questions:

• If life and law practice was aligned with values, what would this look like?
• What change would need to be made?

In answering these questions we developed an action plan. Volunteers have taken responsibility for various tasks and we are to meet again to be accountable for achieving these tasks and moving down the pathway towards our vision of a better legal world. If you would like to join this movement, contact me at Creative Family Law Solutions or my colleagues at MELCA. We will join you to either our LinkedIn or Facebook page so that you can be part of this too!

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