‘Lawyer: one whose profession is to conduct lawsuits for clients or to advise as to legal rights and obligations in other matters’ [Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary]
‘Lawyer: someone whose job is to give advice to people about the law and speak for them in court’ [Source: Cambridge Dictionary]
‘Lawyer: a person who practises or studies law, especially a solicitor or a barrister or an attorney.’ [Source: Oxford Dictionary]
As a lawyer I can guarantee you that those definitions fall way short of what we actually do. So short in fact that I, for one, would advocate that they be changed.
We start off being told we are officers of the court – the bearers of legal knowledge and all the intricacies that go with it. Licensed to ‘practice the law’ ensuring it is respected, enforced and complied with.
What they didn’t tell us is that we are also psychologists, life coaches, influencers, mentors, change-agents, problem solvers and guides. Whether we are listening to the stories, sifting through the problems, offering solutions, creating opportunities, resolving the conflicts or managing the chaos, we are acting in a capacity that goes far beyond the definitions stated above.
I don’t think there’s a lawyer about who would disagree.
But that’s not all we are.
Lawyers are also healers.
And we heal in 3 key ways.
1. We provide comfort.
When our clients come to us upset, confused, inundated or lost, we are there to calm them down. To tell them that everything will be ok. We take the weight from their shoulders and place it on ours. We take the jumbled thoughts and give them order. We take the panic away and provide solace. We try to boost their spirits, increase their confidence and self-worth. We teach them about respect and trust and loyalty. And we do all this with love.
2. We create solutions.
Our knowledge of the law, of business, of the ways of the world means that we can see things from another perspective. We are detached enough to see the core of the matter but involved enough to be able to take charge and fix things, respecting the stories and the emotions that go with them. In this way we offer a light at the end of the tunnel. A way out or a way in. A problem solved or an opportunity created. Order where there wasn’t any. Road maps where the road was previously blocked. Every time a client comes to us, they are either looking for creation or resolution. And that is what we offer.
3. We protect from future pain.
When we do all of the above, we always keep in mind that prevention is better than cure. So we take measures to protect and avoid future pain. We value the emotional, mental and physical costs involved in having to fix things, so we ensure that they don’t break next time round. After having provided support and resolved the problem, we want to protect our clients from any future suffering. We need to consider all scenarios and mitigate as many risks as we can. We tell them how to move forward to ensure their ‘health’ is at the forefront and all actions are done with integrity and careful planning.
When our clients leave us, they start to feel whole again. They tap into that inner peace and freedom that comes with relief. They can focus on the road ahead and leave the past behind as they turn a new leaf. And that is the healing work we offer.