Episode 22 22 July 2021
The current state of play
Principal lawyer, Geraldine Grace | Host, New Earth lawyer podcast
In this episode, I provide a summary of the current state of play from my perspective, having interviewed 11 lawyers doing interesting and innovative work in the practice of law.
These lawyers are truly transforming the world through their new ways of practising law. I explain who they are and what they are doing. They make me optimistic we will see a tipping point in the way law is practised which will make lawyers better equipped to serve the new paradigm.
This episode celebrates these amazing lawyers.
I am an experienced corporate lawyer, using the law to build purposeful, human-centred, Earth-friendly legal enterprises & ecosystems, for happier humans and a better planet.
I am also the founder and host of the New Earth lawyer podcast.
I am based in Melbourne, Australia, and an expert in enterprise governance, purpose, business & human rights and modern slavery. I established my own law practice Geraldine Grace in 2020, focussing on enterprises seeking purpose, and actors in the impact economy.
I am a legal advisor to not-for-profits with a national reach in impact and purpose. I work with Boards to optimise performance and help enterprises embed purpose and integrate human rights into their business.
I have over 20 years' experience practising law in Australia, the UK, Hong Kong and mainland China. I have worked for large global and Australian law firms and was a partner of a top-tier Australian law firm for several years.
I sit on the peak governing body of Australia's largest university.
[1:32] I'm seeing many lawyers leaving large hierarchical law firms to step out on their own or in smaller groups to be true to themselves, to better allow people to be authentic and serve their clients humanely, like David Cameron (David Cameron Law Office), Matthew Burgess (View Legal) and Mel Lyon (Hive Legal). John Chisholm is a lawyer who is a mentor to these new law practitioners.
[4:12] Lawyers are also helping corporations and businesses to be more human-centred and better for the planet, like Patrick Andrews who devises innovative structures for visionary businesses.
[6:40] To facilitate these changes, we will also need government reform for a true representative democracy, including the voice of the Indigenous, and reform of courts to empower human rights and personal liberties.
[7:52] Lawyers are healing conflict at an individual and small business level, such as collaborative family lawyer Marguerite Picard (MELCA) and former 'head-kicking' litigation lawyer turned collaborative lawyer Peter Lustig.
[8:55] In contracts, Kim Wright is a leader in value-based contracts, a way for contracts to really allow the parties to join together to build something positive together. Meanwhile, Camilla Anderson produces comic-book contracts, which makes contracts more accessible and compassionate.
[10:49] Spiritual lawyers such as Amanda Lamond and Virginia Warren are bringing divine guidance to lawyers through coaching, training programs and mentoring programs, thus ushering in more spiritualty and love into the profession and our clients.
[13:04] As we move through this time of volatility and change, we need to avoid stepping into negative energy and remaining in the polarised old paradigm. We can create most effectively from a place of higher frequency, which means focussing on the new.
[15:39] An initiative that is occurring right now includes Amanda Lamond convening a council of lawyers to hold a vision for a New Earth paradigm from a legal perspective.
[16:50] Kim Wright and several others are also hosting a global online event this week to explain and teach lawyers in new modalities that will serve the new paradigm.
David Cameron Law Office website: dc-lo.com
View Legal website: viewlegal.com.au
Hive Legal website: hivelegal.com.au
John Chisholm's consulting website: chisconsult.com
Patrick Andrews' Barefoot Lawyer website: barefootlawyer.co.uk
Marguerite Picard's firm MELCA website: melca.com.au
Peter Lustig's website: peterslustig.net
Kim Wright's website: jkimwright.com
Camilla Andersen's comic book contracts website: comicbookcontracts.com
Amanda Lamond's website: amandalamond.com
Awakening Lawyers mentoring program: awakeninglawyers.com
Virginia Warren's Lawyers for Love website: lawyersforlove.love
Hi, everyone, and welcome to the New Earth lawyer podcast. My name is Geraldine Johns-Putra, I'm your host, and I'm a lawyer based in Melbourne, Australia.
Today, I wanted to do a recap on where things are at from my perspective, as I have now interviewed 11 lawyers who are changing the practice of law to change the world. So speaking to these 11 amazing individuals has given me insight on where the legal profession is in terms of transforming itself to better serve the new paradigm. Now, this new paradigm is one where we're moving into a more loving, more compassionate environment. We're learning to live and work together harmoniously. We are learning to have our personal liberties and rights protected and honoured. We are building responsible and ethical enterprises and governments. And we're learning to live with less control, less hierarchy, and empowering everyone to be their authentic genuine selves without this fear of how we're all going to survive.
So I'm seeing many lawyers working across the spectrum. These include lawyers who have just left large law firms to set up their new legal practices, we call this New Law, as opposed to Big Law. These are people like David Cameron of David Cameron Law Office in Hong Kong, Matthew Burgess of View Legal in Brisbane, Australia, and Hive Legal, which is a practice that's been going for a few years in Melbourne, Australia. And I spoke to their Executive Director and Experience Designer, Mel Lyon, I had her on the show. So they've all moved away from these extremely top-down hierarchical structures that are very rigid and conservative in the way that they do things. Everybody knows their place in those structures. There are large, well oiled machines, but they treat people like resources, like units and they are, to a great degree inauthentic, because they're so large, and everything is done to a certain brand or message. Compare this to the New Law firms, the people I've been speaking to, they're nimble, their structures are flat, so there's not a lot of hierarchy. They think about how to design things with their people in mind, and the clients. So they treat their clients like real people, they don't just bill by the hour, they don't treat their clients like cash cows who are there just to pay these eye-watering huge legal bills. If you listen to these lawyers, you'll hear example after example of how they really thought about what being a lawyer and practising as a lawyer should be. And they've put that into, into practice they've manifested it into being. I've spoken to John Chisholm, who is a very experienced lawyer who was himself a managing partner of two large law firms. And he has now transformed himself into a consultant and a mentor to those who want to bring in this new way of practising law.
So it does make me think that the era of large law firms is coming to an end. Because the way they deliver their legal services, isn't truly humane to the clients or the people and doesn't have the community's best interest at heart.
I see this moving away from the hierarchical corporate and management structure echoed not just in law firms, but in business in general. So I spoke with Patrick Andrews, who is a very innovative corporate lawyer in England and he's been doing this work for about two decades. And the work that he does is truly emblematic of the new structures. He creates these cutting edge frameworks. So in their very design, they ensure that the businesses operate for purpose, for something that's good and positive and not just money, short term profit. So these businesses have different kinds of governing boards. So they don't just have a board that sits there looking at how to maximise profit, or governance for that. They have shareholder control structures that make sure the shareholder interests are aligned with long term objectives, not just seeking to draw out dividends in the short term. And then management frameworks that are very fluid, and not just about telling people what to do. So his work and the work I see around me in in different communities, like the B Corp community that I work with and I advise to, this makes me think that it's not just the Big Law firms that are over, We will soon stop giving power to Big anything, Big Banks, Big Pharma, Big Tech, hopefully, we will begin to understand that for all the fancy talk of these corporations, you know, about their so called purpose and so on, ultimately, they all operate on the profit motive. Instead, I see that where we need people to come together in the future, for large scale projects, or to coordinate we'll allow people to do that in association with each other, associations or collaborations of individuals or smaller enterprises who are empowered, and not employees working in these big structures who are beholden to what their boss says.
Now, in all of this, we may ask ourselves, what's the role of government? I haven't yet spoken to any lawyers who are working in government reform, although I would love to. But I see this as an area that's desperately in need of change. We need a representative democracy that actually works and does what it says - represents us. We need politicians that understand that they have a civic duty to represent the people. And we really need to eliminate this ego driven party politics that we have. In Australia, I believe we need an integration of the Aboriginal voice, so that we can be more in touch with this essential part of this country. That is the Indigenous connection to the land. This is along the lines of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. We need a full scale reform of our court system so that all judicial officers have a proper understanding of the place of human rights and personal liberties.
At an individual level, I see lawyers doing great things, such as collaborative practitioners like Marguerite Picard, who I spoke with, and for more than a decade, she's been working in collaborative divorce and family law. And she with her compassion, has been helping families move through the pain of divorce, but not in a way that creates trauma, in a way that's good for everybody, including the children, so that people do not carry the pain of that event. And then the pain of the legal system compounded on top of it, the way that things used to be done. Peter Lustig is another example. He used to be, he says, a head kicking litigation lawyer, and he's transformed and he now guides his clients through the conflicts in their lives in a way that's very wise and very balanced and also avoids that retraumatising of the individual.
In the realm of contracts. There's a lot of work being done there. Kim Wright, she's the first person I had on this show, she's a global leader in this new area. Well, it's not so new now. But you will hear more about it. I'm very sure, in the coming months and years. The area I'm talking about is values-based or conscious contracts. Now these contracts are about building something between people, that reflects their deepest and purest values. This contract, this document reflects what they want each to bring to the table, to each other in the shared objective, instead of a contract as a punitive document that only gets pulled out when there's a problem. So this deep values-based work actually moves the people forward and it moves their shared vision forward in a very constructive way. Camilla Anderson is another lady who works in contracts, she's a professor at the University of Western Australia. And her contribution to the law is in a unique area called comic book contracts or visual contracts. And these are actually contracts that look like comics. But they allow people to access them more easily and allow people to visualise and understand and integrate the ideas within their contracts. So all of this work actually shows how innovative lawyers can be and how we can work from a place that's really about people. And really about allowing them to express themselves and contribute whatever they have within themselves, bring it out and contribute it to the world.
Then we have people like Amanda Lamond, and Virginia Warren, and a few others whom I have I'm going to have on the show are in a similar vein. These are very spiritual lawyers. They work with spiritual understanding, and bring a divine perspective into their work. Amanda is a legal futurist, she's a soul coach and a spiritual channel. She brings in guidance from her spiritual guides, to work with other lawyers, to coach them to bring out their purpose. She has started a mentoring programme called Awakening Lawyers to mentor young lawyers coming into the world of law. And she matches them up with mentors, who are who are more experienced lawyers who are awakened or conscious to show young people coming into the profession that there is another way to practice law, just as I've been describing, Virginia Warren, she's based in Queensland in Australia, she infuses her work with love. And she says love is the energy that underpins all of our being and everything that we do. She's embarking on a training program for lawyers to bring the perspective of love into everything that they do with their clients, so that they can go on and spread the message of love into the people that they come across. And therefore that's going to reduce conflict and unify people.
So what I want to say is, there are lawyers all over the world. And I've been so fortunate to speak to some of them, I'm looking forward to speaking to more of them, because they're really moving us forward to a better place for the legal system. I'm so confident that with this much work being done all over the world, with people embracing it, clients, we will, in a short time, I hope, reach a tipping point where the legal profession can move towards what is really a profession that serves the community, genuinely.
So right now we're moving through this time of intense volatility and change. And what's coming up outside, as we look around us, is conflict and divisiveness. So you may be wondering why I'm talking about all of this new paradigm building, when there's so many examples of dispute and drama happening around us? Well, the shadow in our collective is truly coming up so that we can see it for what it is and we can choose something different. The truth is, it could get worse before it gets better if we continue to choose to play there. There are still people who seem to enjoy playing there. There are still people whose egos are attached to that world, to the roles that they're playing. Or they feel trapped and they feel sorry for themselves and they don't realise that they are empowered to step out of it. The sooner we step out of it, the sooner we will move collectively to something better. It is purely a choice. Or you have people who enjoy fighting it because it's part of their identity and they can't seem to let go of that and move on.
I get asked by a lot of friends, whether I'm tracking or following this particular legal dispute or, or conflict. You know, for example, lawyers who might be arguing against what's happening now with the lockdowns and other examples, examples where some of our control structures seem to have gone too far. Being bogged down in this energy, I would say although I'm interested in ensuring that our individual human rights are not eroded, being bogged down in this energy will allow our mood to be negatively affected and I don't see that that's particularly helpful. In building something new, we need to operate from a very high positive level of energy. Because that is far more powerful in manifesting than a low level of frequency or energy. So I would rather focus my energy on talking to people, connecting them, highlighting their work, people who are doing real positive things to build new paradigm.
So to this end, I just want to mention a couple of things that are happening. Amanda Lamond in South Africa has convened a council of between 12 to 15. lawyers and we will meet on a regular basis, say monthly. The group isn't fixed, the composition isn't fixed, the number isn't fixed, but we will come together and on Zoom from around the world, we will share our vision for the new paradigm, the New Earth. And we'll share energy in this way, sharing our vision, lending our creative essence, our visionary capability to the shared vision will actually turbo charge it. The combined power of 12 to 15 individuals doing this enlightened awakened individuals doing this will multiply the effect because that's how our creative energy works. So Amanda's convening of this council is to be applauded. And we're very grateful to her for courageously following through her guidance to do this.
Tomorrow, Kim Wright. and a few others, including Jacqueline Horani, are setting up an online conference about the integrative law movement. The integrative law movement is a collection of all of these new law modalities that I've been discussing here, like collaborative practices in resolving conflicts, and conscious contracts, and so on, and many others that are really going to be the nuts and bolts of the new legal system for individuals and enterprises. So we're going to do this tomorrow, Kim, and the others have put together a schedule, that is going to repeat. So it's going to be carried out once and then repeat another time, around the clock, over 24 hours or so, so that lawyers from all over the world can access at least one of the sessions. And as many of us can participate and learn and then carry out this work ourselves. This is a massive amount of work that she and others like Jacqueline are doing. So once again, we are so very grateful to her.
I want to bring this to an end and say thank you for allowing me to share with you just all the wonderful work that's been done. I thank people for the support, you've been showing us new Earth lawyers. That's really been very touching that people have said to me, I didn't realise that lawyers could be awakened in this way. Well, there are many of us and we're doing what we can.
So that's just the intention of this short episode. Thank you so much for listening, and for supporting me and the people I've been speaking about here. Thank you.