Collaborative Law & The Human Nature Conundrum

I originally studied and began practicing a form of law called Collaborative Law, in response to becoming acutely aware of the destructive nature of our current legal system and how it implements archaic laws that no longer serve the current social times; it also creates an unnecessary financial burden upon its constituents that basically singularly exists to simply support the salaries of those still practicing within the confines of such an outdated political model and benefiting from ruling over others through an ignorant yet still strongly existing form of control.

 Now, I know that's a mouthful, so let's break it down a bit.

Control over Others, Archaic Laws, & Ignorance of Those Claiming a Supposed Power

"Power Tends to Corrupt.  Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely."  ~ John Dalberg-Acton

The first time I heard this quote was from my Constitutional Law professor Brian Landsberg; it was the first thing he said on my first day of class.  It's always stuck with me, almost as a ringing bell in my ear reminding me at specific times what I was perceiving before my eyes.  At the time, I had no idea that those words would have some of the most profound impact on the shaping of my world view, more so than most of what I learned throughout the remaining three years of my law school experience.  

I initially studied and majored in environmental law, hoping to aid in the protection and preservation of our wildlife and natural settings; and I was inspired to contribute in educating the human community on how our habits impact our world - OUR HABITAT.  Basically, I wanted to wake people up to the fact that "shitting where we eat and sleep" isn't working out too well for us or our children's future.  Very early on in this career path, while working as a law clerk for an environmental firm in California, I saw just how ineffective my altruistic and wide-eyed pursuits were, when a client, despite being informed of the consequences of destroying an endangered spotted-owl habitat, decided to do so anyway, because the 30-day jail time and $125,000.00 a day fine (until rectified) was an acceptable trade off to the millions he would be making in the long run with his development plan.  That day, my naive hope in humanity met reality, and I cried.  Power tends to Corrupt.

We'll be blogging about specific laws that are archaic and have an extremely ignorant and useless impact on humanity, especially marriage and divorce laws, but for now, we'll speak of this matter in broad terms.  OUR ENTIRE LEGAL SYSTEM IS COMPLETELY OUTDATED AND KEEPS US IN PATTERNS OF RIDICULOUS IGNORANCE, TIME & FINANCIAL WASTE, AND STIFLES ENTREPRENEURIALISM, TRUE HUMAN CREATIVITY, AND THE REAL EXPERIENCE OF AUTHENTIC FREEDOM.  Our representatives, generally and by-in-large, are not interested in making any real radical change regarding this as it does not support their "power over others" and monetary endeavors.  No matter who you vote for, no matter a politician's platform or original determination, it is difficult to not be sucked into "The Hill" status quo when you're swimming in such a flooded environment.  Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.

So what can we do?  As much as possible, settle things outside of court.  This is Collaborative Law.  But it isn't an easy approach.  Why?  Because it requires two parties, that are already in conflict and carrying much revenge and anger between them, to set their differences aside and make decisions that are in the best interest of both parties.  This is no simple task or endeavor.  Here again, when I first began this practice, my naivety crept in.  And again, not too long after working with clients in this particular setting, I realized just how difficult it is for humans to overcome our natural tendency to blame, fight, and attack - even if just verbally, emotionally, and financially.  This behavior too is an example of power corrupting.  

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that we shouldn't be individually empowered.  By no means interpret my words in such a manner.  But what I am saying is, when we attack others, we simultaneously rain harm upon ourselves.  There is a big difference between stating your view and perspective, and attacking another with the approach that "I'm right, and you're wrong."  We rarely, in these emotionally escalated situations, are able to put ourselves in the other party's shoes, and see that they too view the situation just as we do, we rarely see that we're standing on opposite sides of the same coin.

Nevertheless, despite these challenges, I do believe that Collaborative Law is the most effective form we have right now in changing our archaic legal system.  Instead of following the rules made by those long ago who never lived or experienced our current day and age, by engaging in Collaborative Law, we step outside this old washed-up game, and create our own rules... and in so doing, empower ourselves, together.... We Collaborate (and Listen).  :)

In addition, Collaborative Law is a much more affordable and cheaper route to take than engaging in litigation.  The attorney hourly rate is much less than the litigation hourly rate, the time involved is usually much less extensive, and the intense emotional trauma that accompanies litigation is nonexistent.  The effectiveness of this practice and path rests upon the parties emotional maturity, wisdom, and willingness to work from a place of true insight and collaboration.  It, in essence, means - We choose to leave hate, blame, guilt, shame, victimhood, self-pity and revenge behind.  Not easy - but definitely much more rewarding than our current conflict-enhancing litigious legal system.  Power Tends to Corrupt.... Empowerment Does Not.

Take care dear readers.  More to come next time.

Heather RA Wilson Strobel, Esq.