I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The law can be a very dangerous thing. Although the legal system inevitably is imperfect, it sometimes provides important benefits such as helping people solve difficult problems, making institutions function properly, and promoting justice. Unfortunately, the litigation process needed to achieve these goals often is extremely … Continue reading The Law Can Be Dangerous to Lawyers’ Mental Health
Everyone talks about knowing one’s BATNA in negotiation and mediation. But that’s a lot easier said than done. In litigated cases, the value of the BATNA usually is the expected trial outcome, but that is notoriously hard to predict for many reasons. The outcome of numerous legal and factual issues may depend on the evidence, … Continue reading How to Calculate and Use BATNAs and Bottom Lines with LIRA
This part of the symposium includes several pieces focusing on key skills in legal and dispute resolution practice. Lisa Amsler highlights the importance of interpersonal and process skills as technology is radically changing legal practice. Russ Bleemer identifies deficiencies in mediators’ listening behaviors as mediation practice becomes routinized, and he encourages mediators to keep focusing … Continue reading Theory of Change Symposium – Part 4
Recently, I was invited to give a lecture at the University of Saskatchewan College of Law. This talk grew out of my post, Legal Stress, which summarized how the law and legal system can be very stressful for everyone who comes in contact with it including parties, lawyers, law students, and even law professors. Law … Continue reading The Law Can Be Hazardous to Your Health
During the past two years, did you have the same reaction as I often did – that President Trump’s lawyers must have been constantly pulling their hair out when they learned about some of his tweets and decisions? There’s a popular assumption that lawyers and clients generally are in sync, but we know that often … Continue reading Client From Hell
Michelle Obama’s fabulous memoir, Becoming, has valuable lessons for us in legal education and practice. This post first summarizes the book and then describes some of these lessons. The book is a chronological narrative of Ms. Obama’s life, which is fascinating in itself, though I was particularly interested in her portrayals of the worlds she … Continue reading Becoming Ourselves
From Debra Gerardi: “Wholeness is not a place you can get to. Wholeness is a kind of attitude or approach to the whole of life. It’s a way.” David Bohm The University of California Hastings College of the Law held a two-day symposium last month entitled, The Integrated Lawyer: A Symposium on Well-Being and the … Continue reading Notes from Hastings’s Symposium on The Integrated Lawyer
In a recent post, I described the intense stress that individual and organizational litigants often undergo as a result of litigation. The legal system attracts and magnifies stressful conflicts, which affects everyone in its ambit. In addition to litigants, this includes law students, lawyers, and legal academics. This post provides excerpts from my research summarizing … Continue reading Legal Stress
“About half the practice of a decent lawyer consists in telling would-be clients that they are damned fools and should stop.” That’s what lawyer Elihu Root supposedly said a century ago. Many lawyers are frustrated with their actual clients at times and are tempted to tell them the same thing – and sometimes do. There … Continue reading Stop Being a Damned Fool
I recently visited our DR friends and colleagues at Quinnipiac, courtesy of an invitation from Charlie Pillsbury, the co-director of their Center on Dispute Resolution. He invited me to give a talk as part of the Quinnipiac-Yale Dispute Resolution Workshop. Using the patented Stone Soup process of systematically eliciting input from audiences, I tested some … Continue reading How Can Practitioners Help Clients Assess Their Interests and Risks in Litigation?
Over the past year, we have witnessed growing evidence of the massive failures of our legal system to deal properly with a rampant system in which powerful men sexually dominate others, especially women. This post describes the nature, magnitude, and consequences of a long-term history of criminal and civil sexual offenses in the US and … Continue reading How Can We Fix Legal System Failures to Properly Handle Sexual Offenses?
The first episode of the Serial podcast’s new season is a dramatic illustration of how much you can learn from a single case. The case involves a young white woman who was prosecuted for her participation in a bar fight. The Serial team are incredible storytellers, so this podcast is not “just” educational, but it … Continue reading Serial Podcast Shows How Much You Can Learn From a Single Case