Samuel Johnson is quoted as saying “[i]n order that all men may be taught to speak truth, it is necessary that all likewise should learn to hear it.” My chance to learn to hear truth came as I tried to wrap my “think like a lawyer” brain around the concepts of interest-based mediation during a 5 day, 10 hours per day course on family mediation. There is a leap of faith one has to make when transitioning between being “lawyer” and being “neutral” and, after years of legal training it is not an easy leap to make.
The mediation crowd calls it “letting the process work”. It took me 3 days to stop calling it “a quick way to get into trouble.” The hardest part in leaving the advocate behind is abandoning the lawyer’s laser focus on issues, facts, and law for simply hearing truth – not the law’s truth, but the parties’ truth – and realizing that in that moment of silent hearing meaningful solutions are generated without your involvement. Continue reading