Leaving the Law

leavingWhen I was 29 years old I left the practice of law for a while.  I had lived for a time in Washington D.C. and decided that becoming a bartender was the way I could find work anywhere I wanted to live, so when I followed a woman I was involved with back to the Bay Area, I enrolled in the Golden Gate Bartending School.  I recall to this day with great fondness, old Mac McLaughlin hiking his chubby body onto a bar stool with the San Francisco Chronicle splayed out before him, ordering various cocktails which I made from liquor bottles filled with colored water.  I’d make my Manhattans and Mai Tai’s while Mac would keep up a constant banter, “So, Mr. Joe, what do you think of that People’s Temple thing, there?   That’s sweet vermouth you need…”  When I had my private practice for many years afterward, I hung my Diploma from Mac’s school along with my other sheepskin on the wall.

Upon my graduation from bartending school, I went looking for jobs and, predictably, experience counted for a lot in a fairly tight market.  I finally landed a job in a bar which was attached to an old, institutional Italian restaurant, “Bellini’s” on Telegraph Avenue right on the border of Oakland and Berkeley.  It was a pretty dicey area and a pretty dead bar, but on those few nights when we had a nice crowd in, the concentration required to keep all the orders straight was a Zen experience – hours passed by in seconds.  To this day, I cannot hear “I Will Survive,” by Gloria Gaynor or “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy” by Rod Stewart without being shot back to that dark, often empty, bar and the mindnumbing number of times the owner put those songs on the jukebox.

One Friday night, on a particularly busy night in the bar, the front door swung open and in walked a guy dressed in jeans, a sweater, and with his entire head covered in gauze.  Gloves covered his hands and when he sat down at my bar, the conversation level dropped to a whisper.  He pulled out a steno pad and pen and wrote, “A beer please.”  I asked if domestic was ok and he nodded his assent to that question and, also, whether he wanted a Bud.  He introduced himself as “Mickey” and wrote that he had experienced an allergic reaction to painting his apartment and couldn’t talk and his wife had told him to get out of the house and go to a bar after being cooped up at home too long.  I asked him how long he was going to look like The Mummy and he wrote “No Mummy Jokes!”  Mickey was a delight and his company brightened my night.  About an hour into his visit, he wrote me the question: “Where did you go to high school?”  When I told him, he asked if I knew a particular woman with whom I had gone to high school and law school.  Suspicion flooded my system as I looked into those eyes and asked, “Who the f*** are you?”  He shrugged, said he had to go to the bathroom and when he emerged, bandages unrolled, he turned out to be one of my dearest friends from law school who lived in Santa Barbara.  Steven Faulstich wanted to come see me as a bartender, but didn’t want me to know it was him, thus no voice and no face.  Definitely one of the greatest things anyone has ever done for me.

As the weeks went on, and I would say to patrons of this neighborhood bar that I was a lawyer, but had decided to try something else, these working class people looked at me in disbelief and even some disgust – finding it incomprehensible that I would take this incredible opportunity to be a lawyer and just piss it away.  It got me to thinking and, out of respect for these people as much as for any other reason, I returned to practice for another 8 years before I finally went back to school to earn my Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy.  Still, it took me another 10 years to fully disconnect from the practice, as I had great anxiety about what else I could do – having more experience in a field for which I was temperamentally ill-suited than for anything else.  Slowly, as I gained experience and confidence in my writing and therapeutic work, I was able to fully detach and have since enjoyed the happiest years of my life.

My experience is certainly not unique.  Now and again I read of others who have made this transition.  The most recent is a wonderful column by Bob Markowitz in the New York Times  entitled “Abandoning the Work I Hated.”  Enjoy – and for all you disaffected lawyers out there, take hope!

Living the Good Life ?

A New York Times article appeared on April 27th featuring the struggles faced by recent law school graduates, 20% of whom, according to one survey, are not working at a job weatlh.1that requires a license to practice law.  This rather desperate state of affairs was introduced by the story of 29 year old Jonathan Wang, a Columbia Law School graduate who is quoted as saying, “I would spend three years at school in New York, then work for a big law firm and make $160,000 a year, and someday, I would become a partner and live the good life.”

Really?

So what is the “good life” that Jonathan and his cohorts strive to achieve?   It sounds an awful lot like making a lot of money and then enjoying all the money he made.  I don’t hear him talking about a deeply satisfying work life which responds to whatever inner calling he brings with him – be it service to a population he is attracted to, intellectual curiosity, deep engagement in the machinery that makes this society just and workable.  Does the “good life” include time with his family – the chance to spend leisurely weekend mornings lazing in bed with his kid(s) crawling all over him or the loving rituals he will share with his partner that will keep them secure and bonded?  Does “the good life” include a spiritual calling – be it a membership in an embracing congregation, or the awe he might experience in moments of private reflection?  Does it include doing good works for no compensation other than the knowledge that you have contributed to the well-being of others?

This mwealth.2ay be very generational, but I really don’t understand it when young people say they want to retire when they are 50, or even 40.  I never hear (it may be said, but I’m not hearing it) that these people, who wish to sacrifice their early adult years for a “good life” later, speak of what they want to do with this good life other than spend the money they have sacrificed to amass.  Meanwhile, they will likely find they must spend a lot of time, emotional energy  (and money) attempting to reweave the bonds with their loved ones which have frayed and stretched as they have become embedded in a culture of striving for great financial reward.  We should not forget that lawyers have a unique and valuable role in our society.  No other profession studies the way a society works – how common disputes can be resolved in a productive way.  It has been said that doctors are healers of the body; ministers are healers of the soul and lawyers are the healers of the society.  It is a bit of a perversion to see the practice of law as an avenue to riches.  It has become sadly common to think of it that way.  Yet, we can’t escape the fact that lawyers have a frighteningly high proportion of their population suffering from depression.  Google “lawyers” and “depression” and you’ll see what I’m talking about.  It’s good, actually, that the practice of law may no longer be a gilded path to wealth.  Hopefully, this will result in a greater number of young people not succumbing to the siren call of some “good life” and who may choose, instead, to contribute their skill, knowledge and earned wisdom so we can all live a good life.

 

Law – The “Betrayed Profession”

lawyer.4I recently came across a lengthy article I wrote about 20 years ago dealing with the stresses of law practice at the end of the 20th Century.  It was packed with quotes from both lawyers and law professors describing how legal education, and later the practice itself, have been leeched of their humanity.  I had recalled that lawyer and diplomat Sol Linowitz had made some powerful statements in his book The Betrayed Profession and sure enough I found them in my paper. While written more than 20 years ago, he and former Yale Law School Dean Anthony Kronman identified a pervasive and enduring problem with the practice of law in the late 20th and early 21st Centuries.

In describing law as it was practiced in the middle of the last century, Linowitz comments,

“The satisfaction of practicing law were in the knowledge that others depended upon your judgment and loyalty and your abilities and that at the end of the day you knew that you had, in fact helped your client.  In my generation, we thought of the law as a helping profession, not a continuation of war by other means.”

Kronman chimed in with these comments in his book The Lost Lawyer – Failing Ideals of the Legal Profession:

“This crisis (of morale among lawyers) has been brought about by the demise of an older set of values that until quite recently played a vital role in defining aspirations of American lawyers.  At the very center of these values was the belief that the outstanding lawyer – the one who serves as a model for the rest – is not simply an accomplished technician but a person of prudence or practical wisdom as well.  It is, of course, rewarding to become technically proficient in the law.  But earlier generations of American lawyers conceived their highest goal to be the attainment of a wisdom that lies beyond technique – a wisdom about human beings and their tangled affairs that anyone who wishes to provide real deliberative counsel must possess.”

Much of this has been reconfirmed in an exhaustive study of lawyers and well-being recently concluded by Florida State Law Professor Lawrence Krieger and Kenneth Sheldon.  They found that there is very little correlation between happiness and salary, prestige of law firm or law school or the other achievements which law students and attorneys strive so vigilantly toward.  Rather, it is the degree of personal autonomy and the congruence of one’s professional life and personal values that show the highest correlation to well-being.

Lawyers and Personal Conflict

angry.couple.1I like lawyers.  Some of my oldest, dearest friends are lawyers.  It’s really the same thing that has me coming back year after year to teach counseling skilargumentls to law students.  Lawyers, as people, are smart, funny, generally very positive and full of life.  This is even more so for law students – with their youth and energy.   Yet one thing has always bemused me about lawyers – They are a conflict resolution profession that hates interpersonal conflict.  Take mediation, for example.  The classic approach to mediation is to sit the disputing people down together and have them talk to each other.  The mediator’s job is to help this process by creating a safe environment where each person will have their space to express what’s on their mind and help in phrasing it in a way that is both true for the speaker and also said in way that can be heard without defensiveness.  It is almost guaranteed that if we are accused of something (or feel we are being accused) we will automatically become defensive and the speaker will be hugely frustrated at the fact that they are not being heard.  This is just one of the realities of interpersonal conflict resolution – helping people speak to each other in a productive fashion.  Lawyers, however, find the possibility of sitting in the presence of emotion that can become hot and possibly escalate to be too potentially destructive, so they choose, almost invariably, to separate the people (or groups) in argumentdispute.   This is kind of consistent with one of the most poignant elements of lawyers’ discomfort with conflict – how they fight at home.

One of the real problems with legal training is that lawyers feel they have to “win” an argument.  Often by “winning” this means being able to explain their position either clearly enough or with enough supportive evidence (and examples from the past) that their partner will ultimately relent and admit that they are right.  So how does one deal with the reality that you don’t “win” marital arguments?  When what is at stake is each person’s deepest needs, fears and vulnerabilities, “winning” seems beside the point.  It certainly won’t get us what we want, which is peace and connection.  I wrote a blog post about a year or so ago about the two different conversations couples have when they are in conflict.  The one that we try to win is the unwinnable one.  How’s that for a conundrum?  The way out of it, I think, is to understand that no relationship will touch on our deepest needs, fears and vulnerabilities like our intimate partnership.  If we are going to have these feelings, this is going to be the place.  Learning to understand them, express them, listen to them and connect with them, while often uncomfortable, is the way out of that maze.

Personality Styles

type.tabletype.tableMany of us are familiar with the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, a personality sorter that tells us if we tend toward Introversion or ExtrovMBTI.2ersion as a preference – whether we are likely to make decisions based upon the straightforward and logical Thinking function or the more subjective and personal values-based Feeling function – how we take in the world we experience,  as concrete and evidence reliant Sensors or future oriented and inspired Intuitive types – and finally if we prefer to affect our world in an organized, results-oriented Judging fashion or rather let our world affect us in the observant, keep-our-options-open Perceiving way.  These eight preferences result in 16 different Personality Types.   Scores of journal articles have been written about lawyers and the MBTI.  It is a standard part of many law school orientation programs.  I have presented this material in a number of law firms – to great effect and enjoyment.

Recently, I was introduced to an instrument which is similar to the MBTI, but is quicker to take, simpler to explain and enjoys almost all of the valuable insights to be gained by the lengthier instrument.  Its simplicity and brevity lends itself to a 2 hour lunchtime presentation.  The break-downs are quite simple.  We are sorted into Four basic preferences – each having its own way to prioritize information; communicate and make decisions.puzzle.4  We will usually have one style – or perhaps two – which dominate our approach to life and business tasks.  One of the great values of this material is that we can begin to understand that (1) there are other approaches which, (2) while different are valuable and which (3) exist in all environments, to one degree or another and (4) which, without some instruction and reflection will be impermeable to our efforts to connect and persuade.  These styles are characterized by colors, for ease.  Certainly the quick thinking, results oriented Directives will have some difficulty working with, and getting through to, the more easy-going, “take it as it comes, but make it entertaining Adaptives.  These latter folks may have some difficulty understanding the need of the Analyticals to get it right and find their difficulty in reaching conclusion frustrating.  That doesn’t even begin with the care these people take with their communication which can dismay the Supportive style, who finds the over-concern with precision to be antithetical to the higher value of empathic and interpersonally harmonious exchanges.  Different environments will find certain styles dominating.  Likely any law firm will see an abundance of Analyticals and Directives.   In fact, there may be such a predominance of these two styles, that the livelier Adaptives and more empathic Supportives may have difficulty understanding and expressing the value they provide.  It is the choice and challenge of every working system to find a way to harvest the kernels of skill and natural talents of every part.  The first, obvious, step is to be able to identify these difference and then to knit the fabric of our collective powers to make the overall organization energetic, effective, resilient and a place of belonging for all involved.

type.table

Lawyers’ Stress

A recent article in the Louisville Courier-Journal discusses a disturbingupward trend in attorney suicides.  This is not an altogether new concern.  More than 25 years ago, Dr. Andy Benjamin and his colleagues identified legal education and the resulting culture that has been created as leading to serious mental distress among attorneys, as reflected in much higher than normal rates of substance abuse and depression.  There are many causes for this, generally unacknowledged, problem.  Perhaps the greatest is that it is unacknowledged.  Lawyers are trained from the inception of their education, and are probably self-selected as well, to eschew emotion at the expense of reason.  I recall at the beginning of law school we would exalt the ARM (the Average Reasonable Man).  No greater disdain exists than that heaped by lawyers upon anything that is “touchy feely.”  No wonder that lawyers (who are human beings, after all – with active limbic systems that generate the normal amount of fear, caution, anger and grief over loss) will erect concrete mental defenses against acknowledging  their fear, caution, anger and grief….well, not anger.  That emotion gets a pass.  It’s easy to protect oneself against appearing vulnerable with the expression of anger.  When we are forced to protect ourselves from judgment – which is leveled at our natural thoughts and feelings – life can become exhausting and alienating.  I see this even among my colleagues in the collaborative law community.  These are a group of lawyers (and other professionals) who are striving to make the experience of law healing, rather than damaging, for those who encounter it.  Yet these lawyers, too, avoid disclosure of personal doubt, worry, sadness or fear.  These precise feelings that are universal and which can form the real basis of a bonded community are dismissed as inappropriate within this professional world.  More’s the pity.

The Happy Lawyer

Law professors Nancy Levit and Douglas Linder have just published a valuable guide for lawyers of any age.  Before you read on, I invite you to take a most interesting little quiz (derived from the findings in this book) which appeared in the ABA Journal.  How important is money to lawyers’ happiness?    Do the most satisfied lawyers come from the “top tier” law school?  (Speaking of which, check out the recent New York Times story about the competition among law schools to get those coveted -and misleading-U.S News ratings.)  Lawyers’ ability to be happy is challenged on many fronts.  The assaults on well-being by the competitive law school environment;  lawyers’ natural penchant for pessimistic thinking as described by Martin Seliman, Ph.D, the “Father of Positive Psychology”; the demands on a person’s time that are driven by the need to earn the funds to cover a six-figure student loan and the general lack of civility in legal culture and some of the most notable examples.  Keeping a handle on personal relationships is so critical for personal well-being – as is the commitment not to lose connection with one’s own particular life passions.  Achieving balance between professional and personal needs is ranked by lawyers of the millennial generation as their highest value. Levit and Linder provide a wonderful array of tips and wisdom for high achieving lawyers who feel their lives slipping through their fingers.

Labelling People – Thinking About Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Recently, the New York Times reported that the mental health diagnostic “bible,” the DSM is going to drop Narcissistic Personality Disorder in its 5th Edition.   Laura Smith, Ph.D. provides a good explanation for why this was done, here.  While an interesting development in its own right, the move brings to mind an overriding concern about the easy use of labels like “narcissistic.”  Many, many, times have I heard people in recent years label someone as “narcissistic.”   It’s not that “people who believe the world only exists if seen through their own eyes” don’t exist – and it’s not that these folks don’t cause a lot of distress to those close to them. (I remember hearing in my training that the only way you see a person with NPD in therapy is if their spouse or family basically says, “Get help on this or we’re outta here!”)  San Diego mediator Bill Eddy identifies people struggling with NPD as one of a handful of “high conflict personalities” who challenge helping professionals mightily.  But here’s the problem – it’s easy to label, isolate and dismiss another person, losing sight of the fact that this rigid shell of a personality they present to the world covers enormous, old pain.   Eddy has suggested that the 4 major “high conflict personalities” at their core, are protecting themselves from the pain of early, constant violations to their developing, tender personalities.  The “borderline” personality is driven by the Fear of (emotional) Abandonment, suffered so early.  The “antisocial” personality is driven by the Fear of Being Dominated.  The “histrionic” personality is driven by the Fear of Being Ignored.   The “narcissistic personality” is driven by the Fear of Inferiority.  In fact, these people with hugely (over)inflated views of themselves have buried within their hearts a glass shard of failure to measure up – of not being good enough.  When we almost cavalierly label others as “narcissists” (or any other thing) we rob them of their humanity and pain.  Of course,  in their striving to protect themselves from the ancient, overwhelming wounds that are long-buried within,  they may often overwhelm and deeply injure their intimates.  But as with all injuries which we suffer at the hands of others, our own healing comes in part through our own halting efforts to understand and even hold compassion for the other. It’s not necessary to label the other so that we don’t take on responsibility for our own injuries.  It was never our fault anyway.  To humanize ourselves without dehumanizing the person who wounded us is an ongoing challenge and, I think, righteous goal.

Collaborative Lawyers – A Different Type Indeed (Part I)

There’s been loads written about lawyers and psychological type.   Larry Richard did a landmark study in the early 90’s that became his doctoral dissertation all about lawyers and psychological type.   It has even been the subject of  many Law Review Articles (a place you’d expect only to see hyper technical discussions of the law for lawyers).

There are 4 pairs of preferences and 16 combinations.  We have many ways to slice the same orange.  Most important for this post – David Keirsey devised 4 overall temperaments from these combinations.  You can explore his ideas and take his Keirsey Temperament Sorter here

Since the ancient Greeks, philosophers and psychologists have grouped people into categories that, over time, are remarkably similar.  Keirsey’s Temperaments offer a wonderful window into this world of observation.  The combination of the practical, down-to-earth Sensing preference with the flexible, play-it-as it lays Perceiving preference brings us the SP Artisan.  (Reading some of the links above will give some concise background of these preferences.)   The combination of this same Sensing preference with the organized, results-oriented Judging preference brings us the SJ Guardian.  Combining the ever-inquisitive, speculating Intuitive preference with the logical, “how does it all fit together” Thinking preference results in the NT Rational.  Finally, the same meaning-seeking Intuition preference, when combined with the empathic, personal values-driven Feeling prerence results in the NF Idealist.

Let’s take a close look at each of these:

The SP Artisan lives for today.  As Keirsey says, “Artisans are most at home in the real world of solid objects that can be made and manipulated, and of real-life events that can be experienced in the here and now.”  Artisan’s “go for it,” whatever their “it” may be, and resist limitations and rules if they stand in the way.  Artisans are likely to have winning personalities and can be excellent at enjoying life.  They’re not big cogitators.  Elvis and FDR are representative Artisans in their different fields.  About 30-35% of the general population tend toward the Artisan temperament.

The NF  Idealist values values.  Supporting others to deepen their personal growth and well-being are ardent pursuits of the Idealist.  Keirsey says that , “Idealists dream of creating harmonious, even caring personal relations, and they have a unique talent for helping people get along with each other and work together for the good of all.”

Idealists base their self image on empathy, authenticity and benevolence.  They tend to hold themselves to quite a high standard of personal integrity.   Representative Idealists include Mohandas Ghandi and Oprah Winfrey.  About 15 – 20% of the general population tend toward the Idealist temperament.

The SJ Guardian is the pillar of whatever community they may find themselves a part of.  Reliable, steady, realistic and stalwart, Guardians find their greatest value in being an integral part of a greater whole.  As Keirsey notes, ” if there’s a job to be done, they can be counted on to put their shoulder to the wheel. Guardians also believe in law and order, and sometimes worry that respect for authority, even a fundamental sense of right and wrong, is being lost.”   Guardians tend to trust authority and are comfortable in a leadership role.  They tend to be conservative, in that change can make them uneasy.

  Representative Guardians are George Washington and actor James Stewart, in his many iconic roles from Mr. Smith going to Washington to George Bailey in Its a Wonderful Life.  About 40-45% of the population tend toward the Guardian temperament.

 

 Finally, the NT Rational is the pragmatic, ingenious seeker of knowledge and accomplishment.  If there is one word that characterizes the goal of the Rational, it is competence.   As Keirsey says, “They are rigorously logical and fiercely independent in their thinking — are indeed skeptical of all ideas, even their own — and they believe they can overcome any obstacle with their will power. Often they are seen as cold and distant, but this is really the absorbed concentration they give to whatever problem they’re working on.”   Rationals may see themselves – and others will see them – as technicians.  Precision – in thinking and language – is highly valued.

Bill Gates and Thomas Jefferson are quintissential Rationals.  Approximately 5 – 10% of the general population tend toward the Rational temperament.

As we will see in the next post, the array of these different temperaments in the legal population and in the collaborative law community may speak volumes about who lawyers are – and the kinds of people who have struck out along the path of Collaborative Law.

Collaborative Lawyers – A Different Type Indeed (Part II)

(I’d suggest you check out Part I of this 2-part post to get the foundation for what I’m going to be talking about here.)

So…..where was I?  Ah, yes – we have some really good information about lawyers and the kinds of temperament categories they tend to fall into.   Larry Richard’s huge study of lawyers and psychological type gave us a ton of insight.  The first interesting bit is that, while about 30-35% of the general population falls into the SP Artisan temperament, only  9.1% of lawyers fall into this category – definitely  the smallest percentage.  This makes sense when you think about it – as lawyers really aren’t encouraged to go-go-go and live for the moment.  While being quick on your feet and able to put out the fire is a valuable trait for a lawyer, it is much more valuable to be prepared.  The next least likely temperament you are likely to find among lawyers is the NF Idealist.  Studies have shown that Idealists experience the highest drop-out rate in law school.  The intense adversarial world of litigation (the meat and potatoes of legal practice for the last 40 years) makes the profession quite uncongenial for the Idealist lawyer or law student.  Richard found that 14.7% of lawyers were Idealists, about the same percentage as in the general population.  (Teaser alert!: There are way, w-a-y, more Idealists in the Collaborative Lawyer sample – see below.)  The next most common temperament among lawyers today is the SJ Guardian – the conservative, pillar of the community, who is preoccupied with everyone doing the right thing.  Of the 16 personality types, the one with the greatest presence (17.8% of the total) is one of the 4 Guardian types (ISTJ).  Fully 35% of the lawyer population are Guardians.  I would suggest that this temperament reflected the prevailing approach to work and life of the lawyer community in an earlier era, before the “law as a business” crew came into prominence about 40 years ago.   This also pretty much tracks the number of folks in the general population, in which 40-45% (by far the greatest percentage) are Guardians.  Finally, the NT Rational accounts for 41.2% of Larry Richard’s lawyer study population.  This makes sense!  Lawyers are focused on the outcome, are encouraged from their first class in law school (and throughout their careers) to be logical, dispassionate and technically brilliant.  In any battle between the head and the heart with these people, Head Wins.  Every time.  What is particularly striking is that in the general population, only 5-10% are Rationals.  I’ll leave it to you to ponder the significance of such a huge majority of lawyers tending toward a temperament that a meager part of the general public shares.  Now, here is where Collaborative Lawyers are such an anomoly.

In the early Spring, I conducted a Myers-Briggs workshop for members of the Puget Sound collaborative community.  Lawyers, mental health professionals and financial specialists all took part – yet the vast majority of this group (22 of 32) were lawyers.  Each person completed the Myers Briggs Type Indicator Self Scoring Instrument.  Of this group, not-a-one demonstrated an SP Artisan or SJ Guardian temperament.  Of the 22 lawyers, only 5 demonstrated the NT Rational temperament that is so dominant among lawyers nationally and 17 of the total (77%) were NF Idealists.  Given that the general lawyers population is comprised of only 14.7% Idealists, this difference is pretty amazing.  (I realize our sample size was rather low, but still…….this difference is, well, ponderable.)

So what can we make of this?  Well, for starters, it explains the intensity and passion with which most collaborative lawyers embraced this form of practice.  The damage inflicted by conventional litigated divorce would be of particular distress (both professionally and personally) to people who tended towards an NF Idealist temperament.  My observation is that a great number of Idealist lawyers are terribly unfulfilled with their profession.   Anyone who responds to the phrase “law as a healing profession” will find the aggressive, adversarial, “my client over all, regardless of the damage to others” ethos of  today’s legal world very disheartening, indeed.  When collaborative law came around, you can imagine it seeming like an oasis for the NF Idealist family lawyer community. 

Also, an approach to conflict resolution that seeks to address the interests of all is quintessentially NF.  The collaborative Participation Agreement, in which peoples’ good faith forms an explicit cornerstone is, again, characteristic of NF law practice.   When we tell our clients that we expect them to bring their best selves to this challenging process – and that we will help them be their best selves – we are acting as Idealist lawyers.   In many ways, Collaborative Practice provides a  home for many exceptional, caring people who might otherwise have drifted away from this wonderful profession – which provides so much opportunity to do good without harming others.

Small wonder that 77%  of the lawyers (and a similar percentage of financial experts and (of course) mental health people) within our collaborative community are drawn to the Idealist temperament.