J Kim Wright
Episode 1 9 May 2021
Now is the time to design the new legal system
J Kim Wright
Integrative lawyer, innovator, systems change agent, coach, speaker, author, educator, connector
J Kim Wright is a genuine legal trailblazer. She is a specialist in Integrative Law, a leading expert and trainer in Conscious Contracts® and a systems change agent. From her vantage point as a connector of transformational lawyers globally, she tells me that the old legal system is disintegrating and now is the time for us to start designing the new.
For over 2 decades, J Kim Wright has been an advocate for systems change in the law. She particularly focuses on a set of values and models called Integrative Law.
From the early 2000s, she has attended dozens of events and conferences and studied a number of innovative legal practices: holistic law, therapeutic jurisprudence, law and creative problem-solving, sacred activism, humanising legal education, plain language, PISLAP (the Project for Integrating Spirituality and Law), ADR (alternative dispute resolution), mediation, collaborative law, restorative justice, non-violent communication, and more. In her work, she decided to pull those silo-ed common themes together.
Thirteen years ago, to focus on her mission she gave up her house and law practice and went on the road. She has built relationships and communities on six continents.
Kim has been named by the American Bar Association as a Legal Rebel and has written two bestselling books published by the ABA: Lawyers as Peacemakers: Practicing Holistic, Problem-Solving Law and Lawyers as Changemakers: The Global Integrative Law Movement.
She is a coach and consultant, a leader in Conscious Contracts®, a speaker and trainer, a lawyer and mediator, and a specialist in systems change. As an author she has another 2 books due to be published soon: Trauma-Informed Law: A Primer for Lawyers and Lawyers as Designers. She is an educator and adjunct professor and a connector for lawyers all over the world who are changing the paradigm of legal practice.
[03:56] Kim shares her lightbulb moment when after graduating from law school and discovering that most lawyers were 'jerks', she realised there was another way.
[08:32] Kim explains 'conscious contracts' and their potential to change lawyering across the board.
[16:13] We discuss how the movement of Integrative Law has changed since Kim became part of it.
[23:27] Kim expands on her systems change work and her conclusion that the old legal system is dying and a new system is emerging.
[24:03] As an old system dies, there is a need for 'hospicing' it. One of Kim's new books is on trauma-informed law - an example of exposing the failings of the old system. We can all be better lawyers by recognising and appreciating trauma in our clients and ourselves.
[26:50] Kim's other new book is about designing the new legal system, finding new ways of interacting and being cross-disciplinary.
[29:25] Lawyers have the gift of analytical skills and training and by adding our humanity to that, we can develop the 'law plus' model.
[30:22] We share about the concept of 'starting where you are', for lawyers who want to change.
[33:39] For lawyers embarking on a transformational journey, finding a coach is valuable, as is a buddy, therapist, mentor or support group. The key is to find someone to help you figure out the path and provide structure.
[36:18] Internal work is how lawyers can get onto the path of change. Lawyers can take a long time to recognise and address internal chaos.
[38:28] Kim considers what about her personality made her a changemaker - being a mother at heart and expressing the mother archetype and wanting to make the world a better place; being not afraid to dream big!
[40:11] Spirituality ('integrity, purpose and joy in action') guides Kim. She is 'on purpose', always realigning and addicted to her joy.
[41:38] Kim reveals why lawyers are really magicians!
[44:32] Kim talks about her next project - teaming up with multi-disciplinary groups to effect systems change.
Kim's website: www.jkimwright.com
Therapeutic jurisprudence: from the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration
Law and creative problem-solving: from the Journal of Legal Education
Sacred activism: Andrew Harvey
Collaborative law: from Monash Castan Centre
Restorative justice: from RMIT Centre for Innovative Justice
Lawyers as Peacemakers: Practicing Holistic, Problem-Solving Law
Lawyers as Changemakers: The Global Integrative Law Movement
Trauma-Informed Law: A Primer for Lawyers (pending)
Lawyers as Designers (pending)
Hello everyone, and welcome to the very first episode of the New Earth lawyer, a podcast that features lawyers who are changing the practice of law to change the world. My name is Geraldine Johns-Putra. And I'm a lawyer based in Melbourne, Australia, running my own law practice known as Geraldine Grace. My guest today, in the very first episode, is J. Kim Wright, a genuine legal trailblazer. Kim is an advocate for systems change in the law. She particularly focuses on a set of values and models called integrative law. Kim has arranged her whole life to follow her passion and values to connect with lawyers who are changing how law is practised by following theirs. A few years into her career as a lawyer, Kim embarked on what she calls an 'impossible project', which was the transformation of law to have lawyers recognised as peacemakers, problem solvers, healers of conflicts - to be agents of transformation in their communities. From the early 2000s, she has attended dozens of events and conferences. She has studied a number of innovative legal practices: holistic law, therapeutic jurisprudence, law and creative problem solving, sacred activism, ADR, mediation, collaborative law, restorative justice, and many more. In her work, she has decided to pull all of those siloed common themes together. In 2008, she began to focus on her mission by giving up her house and law practice and she went on the road. She has built relationships and communities on six continents, and only a global pandemic could stop her commitment to travel. Kim, as an author, she's been named by the American Bar Association as a legal rebel and she has written two books that the ABA published: Lawyers as Peacemakers: Practising Holistic Problem Solving Law and Lawyers as Changemakers: the Global Integrative Law Movement. Both are ABA bestsellers. She has another two books due to be published soon: Trauma-informed Law: a Primer for Lawyers and Lawyers as Designers. She is a coach to lawyers - she coached me three years ago, she's a consultant - she consults in something called conscious contracts which I hope we'll get into, she's a speaker, a trainer, a lawyer, a mediator, a specialist in systems change, an educator, an adjunct professor, a connector for lawyers all over the world who are changing the paradigm of legal practice. Kim, wow, you know, I left so much out of that introduction.
I am really 150 years old!
I am so honoured to have you here. Welcome. Welcome.
Thank you. Geraldine, it's so good to be with you. And to see you again.
I'm going to ask you to get into the time machine with me. And we're going to go back to the first seed, the first inkling that you had that you could be a different kind of lawyer. What was it?
I've told the story so many times, but every time I tell it, it just makes my heart warm. So for those who've heard it before, let's just pretend that it's the first time for you, because it always feels that way for me. So I went to law school, because I wanted to be the lawyer for my family. I had a very complicated family. And I thought, well, one of us should be a lawyer, and I'll just go to law school and become a lawyer. And I learned a lot more about law in law school, I was like, oh, gosh, these people are jerks. I do not want to do that. And so, when I got out of law school, I became the director of a domestic violence programme and I worked there and then I moved on to some other non-profit oriented things. And I was adamantly not a lawyer, like it wasn't just that I was not a lawyer. I was NOT A LAWYER! And no matter what else was going went on, I had passed two bar exams because I wanted the law to know that the law hadn't rejected me, but I had rejected the law. But then I moved to a place that I wasn't licensed. And I was doing transformational work and I was in a course. And it was a regional course. And this guy had come from Chicago, which was some distance from where I lived. And he stood up in the course, and he introduced himself. And that was the moment that life changed. There's a before I met Forrest Bayard and and after I met Forrest Bayard. And Forrest said the most outrageous things. He said that he was a lawyer, that he practised law in a way that granted dignity to everybody. And that he was a divorce lawyer. And by that time, I had been divorced twice, so I knew divorce. He was a divorce lawyer, who made sure that the people were still friends at the end of the divorce, and they could raise their children together. And he continued to talk about his practice, I'm sure, but for me, the world went from black and white to colour. And the butterflies sang you know, it's like all of the things you've seen in the cartoons that happen, you know, it was one of those moments where everything changed.
You could see light, a new way.
It was my first introduction that there was another possibility for law. And when he shared that, I said, I can do that, like, that is something that I could practice. And so I went from NOT A LAWYER to taking my third bar exam, because I was not licensed in the place where I was living, and opening my own practice. And, of course, when I started my practice, it was kind of like I hit the wall, really I hit the courthouse wall, I envisioned like this brick courthouse, you know, like, I'm going out there, I'm going practice this new kind of law. And it was like, bang. And I hit that existing system that really was adversarial and rewarded behaviour that I would call being a jerk. And the difference was, I knew something else was possible, because of Forrest. And I knew that I was not the only one in the world who could see that possibility. And so I started arranging my life for that possibility.
And so Forrest was your inspiration. But now, since that time, you have served as inspiration for so many lawyers around the world, you served as an inspiration for me, when I began to think about a different way of doing law, I began to think of a different way of drafting contracts. And I looked up what I thought was the closest thing to a new kind of contract, I googled 'conscious contracts', and your name came up,
Of course it did.
And this is how I got to know you. So tell us about conscious contracts.
A conscious contract is a relational-values based contract. It's actually is a trademarked term for something that's becoming generically accepted in a lot of places. But our particular conscious contract version is a process rather than a piece of paper. So the process is that if people are going to be in a relationship that is documented by a contract, that they should know who they are. So we have a conversation, like who are you and what's important to you. With the clients, like this is not lawyers swapping drafts, this is, we're going to come into the room, we're going to have the client in the room or the Zoom Room, we're going to have the client there, we're going to have, if there's another lawyer, the lawyers there and the other client is there, and we're all going to talk about what's really important, like why did you choose each other? You know, what makes this the right relationship for going forward? And that's when we talk about what are your values. We might, you know, look at mission, vision and those sorts of things that people and companies look at except when people in companies look at them, they write them on the wall and they forget them.
We actually put it into the contract. It becomes memorialised in the contract, so that it becomes a reference point. And then, so that's the touchstone, that's the first part that makes it a conscious contract. And then the next part is, we call it ACED - addressing change, engaging disagreement. And the ACED is, now that we've created this relationship, and I have to tell you that when people create touchstones together, they cry, they throw their arms around each other, it's a moving process. You know, even people who are really distant from each other, find themselves coughing. Because, we're not used to being seen, and especially not in a legal environment.
That's very profound. That's very profound.
So then there's this conversation about how do we preserve this because we are human. And human beings get triggered. Human beings have arguments, they have differences of opinion, circumstances change, sometimes the internal circumstances, sometimes a boat gets stuck in the Suez Canal, or a pandemic happens, or, you know, it's a lot easier to have a conversation about unexpected change these days. So these things happen. And when that happens, what are we going to do? Like, are we going to run off and sue each other? No, we're going to have conversations. Are we going to get somebody to come in and help us? And so the ACED actually is like, usually, a three or four step process, it says, the first thing we're going to do is we're going to send the other person an email that says, there's been a disturbance in the force, or something that's a code word. You know, something that they understand, it could be something like, we need to have an ACED conversation, or, they're going to call each other up because they don't like email, but they're going to design the relationship, so that they know what to do. And then it's really easy. Like, when you're triggered, I like to think of you as being like a two year old. Human beings are like two year olds when we're triggered. So we need really, really specific and detailed instructions about this, send an email, the email should say this and nothing else, or, you know, or whatever. And so the conscious contract, you know, creates this touchstone ACED as the beginning of the contract, and then they talk about the terms. But by that time, they know their strengths and needs. It depends on the contract, if it's an employment contract, we actually may have that conversation, what are your strengths? What are your needs? And that gets also memorialised in the contract. And it gets memorialised in language that is the language of the parties. It's like Joe and Fred say these words. And that's the way we're going to do it. They call each other Joe and Fred, they do not call each other 'the party of the first part' and 'the party of the second part' or you know, like in court, it's the defendant or the plaintiff or whatever. We actually use names. And we use nicknames and all that. So that is all relational. And when they read it, they see themselves, they recognise themselves, they understand the contract, there's nothing in there that's designed to be obscure. And they know what to do. They know what to do when things are going well, they know what to do when things are not going well. And then usually, we also put in some kind of a, 'we're going to review this at certain milestones'. So if it's a start-up, for example, like the first time they get money, they need to have a new conversation. Or hire an employee or something like that. So that's a long answer to what is a conscious contract.
So conscious contracts - that actually goes into the right sort of depth, because that shows how a conscious contract could apply to just a myriad of relationships, in countless circumstances, which is how conscious contracts can actually impact the practice of law all across the spectrum, which is what you wanted to do.
It's why it's my number one workshop. Because family lawyers create separation agreements and parenting agreements and engagement letters with their clients. And, corporate lawyers create big contracts. I mean, I have one company that I hope has just hired me where so far they said yes, for 12 contracts over the next year that are like major, that include design factors like cartoons and things like that, which is also sometimes part of the conscious contracts. It is like how do we want to communicate this so that people actually read it, so we're putting it in cartoons and working with artists.
Read it, live it, integrate it.
So this is really interesting to me. You've talked about conscious contracts and you've gone into how those contracts are designed for the human and the human relationship. In your work, the first two books that you've written, the ABA bestsellers, Lawyers as Changemakers and Lawyers as Peacemakers. Now the books you have coming out are Trauma-informed Law and Lawyers as Designers. So what's the movement that's happened? The evolution that's happened between the first two books and what you're working on now?
So, um, boy, that's a long answer too...
Go for it.
Let me see if I can keep my train of thought through that. Lawyers as Peacemakers was actually commissioned by the ABA. They asked me to write that because they saw the work I was doing, I was videotaping interviews of lawyers, and the editor came to me and she said, we know this is the way law's going, but we didn't think that we had progressed this far. We would like for you to write a book about what you're discovering. So in 2008, as you said, I gave up my house, and I travelled with a videographer and we interviewed about 100 lawyers, who were pioneers in a new way of thinking. And so that new way of thinking got written into Lawyers as Peacemakers. At that time, there were things like, what is collaborative law? What is restorative justice, and people were beginning to do contemplative practices in law, and starting to integrate their spirituality and there was this whole movement towards, well, maybe lawyers really should be doing some more personal growth, and maybe coaches would help. And what about wellbeing, wellbeing isn't like, you know, something you do for one hour a week and that's it. It's a multi-layered kind of practice with the physical and the mental and emotional, and the spiritual, and environmental and all of the different ways of wellbeing. And so that first book was like, just throwing all of that in, these are the trends that are happening as I wrote it in 2009. It came out in 2010. And I kind of looked back over the last 10 to 20 years of the things that had been developing.
So after that book, I continued to travel and I started going overseas. In fact, the first country I went to outside of the US was Australia. And I was invited to come and talk about a holistic approach to law. And I was like, well, that's interesting, someone's willing to pay me to fly across the ocean and talk about holistic practice of law. Maybe this is something bigger than what's going on in the US. And indeed it was, and now that I've been on six continents, meeting lawyers, I actually could see that it is an international movement and that's when I wrote the update, or the expansion, which is Lawyers as Changemakers which is about the global integrative law movement. And so I didn't include the things that I'd written about before, even though those things had expanded, but I wrote about the new things that were coming. And so I wrote about conscious contracts. And I wrote about Earth law. And I wrote about, you know, a lot of other different approaches, sharing law, that had not made it into the first book for various reasons. But then I also wrote about the international movement. And the way I write a book, by the way, is not normal. Because I'll write, but I'm not an editor and I'm not completely the author, because I really love showcasing people and so I did some of this in Lawyers as Peacemakers. But in Lawyers as Changemakers, I have 111 contributors. And so I asked people to write for me about integrative law, like a story of something they were doing or something that to them said integrative law. So then I took all of those, and I made like a patchwork quilt and said, okay, this is like this and this is like this, and I recognised the patterns from what they looked like. I gave them as few instructions as I could get by with, because they were lawyers. The one instruction I gave them was 500 to 1000 words. I got one piece that was 8500 words that I had to reject. I got one piece that was only 150. But most of them were more like 2000 words, because that's how we are as lawyers. But each one, I could say, oh, this one's really speaking to what are the values as lawyers. And so then I had a list of values, that I really think the movement represents. And these are practice areas that are evolving. And then I started looking at, well, wait a minute, some of these trends are happening in other places as well. And so, like in the prison system, there was at that time a lot of attention on the Scandinavian prisons and focus on rehabilitation. And so I have a piece on that. And I have a piece on holistic policing, and then on legal education, and about legislators and all that, so I have a chapter on that. And then on leadership and how we can be leaders. And so my books are long.
I've read it. It is powerful, it's inspiring. Because you can dip, one dips in and out of the book, and finds people like you said, you know, who are all thinking about this different way of practising the law and making it happen. And so, every time I would read two or three stories, and I would feel just better about being a lawyer and more optimistic about the future of lawyers. So that book was - you did a massive service with it. So thank you.
It was mostly a joy, I will say that there are ups and downs in writing a book. But it was mostly a joy to put it together. And so that sort of gave me that view of, something's happening here. This is not like just a bunch of random lawyers. Or that, you know, we all in the beginning just thought we were the weirdest lawyer in our town.
Yes. The weirdest lawyer in the town, the weirdest lawyer in the firm, the weirdest lawyer in the street. Yes.
Yeah. But the weird lawyers are actually sort of picking up on something ahead of their peers. They're the pioneers. And so as I listened to them, and then connected with them, and we had workshops, and all of that kind of stuff, you know, all of the ways that I connect with people, I realised that this was really an international movement. And something was happening in law. And so that systems change piece became part of my lens of how are we going to change the system. And I've come to the conclusion actually, that the old system has died. And then a new system is emerging.
That has exactly been my observation, Kim. So it's amazing to hear you say that.
And it's not unusual, like Margaret Wheatley, who does a lot with systems change has written about, overall, the system's breaking down. It's really clear to me in the law. And so one of the things that happens when a system is dying, is there is a need for hospicing. You know, just like when people are dying, they go to a hospice and they get special care and there's a different kind of awareness. And part of my interest in the trauma-informed law book was that I think that that is one of the ways to hospice the old system. So if our courts and our systems start to be aware of how damaging they are. Nobody goes to a lawyer for a reason that doesn't have to do with trauma. They're either being traumatised or they're trying to prevent being traumatised.
And a lawyer should not be retraumatising them.
And the lawyers, we retraumatise all the time. I have a friend who's going to probate court, because her husband has died. And the lawyer treats her like she is a number. And, you know she's grieving her husband. The lawyer is saying, can you make it at six o'clock? You know, and completely cut off to her feelings, because that lawyer has learned that that's the way to cope. Because the system is designed to avoid the emotion. When you're in law school, if you bring up, what did the client think about that in some important case. Nobody knows. It's all about the law. It's all about, you know, that analytical brain cutting off our emotional life. And so the trauma-informed law book is about really creating a paradigm shift inside the existing system, so there's more hospicing going on. There's more care, there's more awareness that there's trauma that lawyers who want to get into law because they want to make a difference often have a trauma that they're trying to respond to. Then we're retraumatising our clients. The legal education system traumatises, the court system traumatises. The systemic racism and sexism and all the -isms that are present in the law are further trauma. And so we're trying to raise some awareness. I'm one of four, there are four of us who put this book together with, again, contributions from many people, with us writing our own sections as well. And so, that's part of that evolution. And then Lawyers as Designers is because we are designing a new system, and we're designing new ways of interacting and we're being cross-disciplinary. And so it's like, how do you bring design into a system, how do you bring design into a contract, or into a relationship? So that's sort of the arc.
And that's the midwifing part. So there's the hospicing part and the midwifing part of the new system.
And here you are, with these two books doing both, right, after a decade, more than a decade, of having done the groundwork with Peacemakers and Changemakers. Now we're ready to birth a new system.
Enough people are ready. And, you know, those who aren't ready will come along, or the ones that are the young lawyers will bring the new ideas, or the market is going to make that demand. If lawyers can't respond to all of the things that are going on in business, then lawyers will become obsolete. They almost have in family law. You know, around the world, something like three quarters of the people don't hire lawyers.
Or lawyers become the function that you go to last, because you really don't want to have to deal with talking about all of that conservatism and risk, which is what we do best and there's a place for that. But it's how we do it. Rather than bringing our skills into the whole picture, we stand alone and say, well, this is how we apply the law and that's it. Which is changing. But with the lens of conscious contracts, and an integrative law and all of the practices you're talking about, these are tools that give lawyers the path in to making themselves more relevant, but not just being more relevant for the sake of it, but actually applying the law in a way that serves the ultimate purpose.
Our analytical brains, trained as lawyers, are really valuable tools, but they are not the only tool. And so, you know, sometimes I call this 'law plus', you know, because let's take that analytical brain that allows us to strategise and think in ways that are structural and add to that our humanity and our clients' humanity. A more holistic approach.
Yes. So this actually comes to one of the things that I want to ask you, which is where does the change - well the change has started, obviously, from what you're saying - but where in the whole ecosystem where lawyers operate will the impetus really come from? Is it law firms? Is it law schools? Is it lawyers in clients, in-house counsel? Is it innovators like you?
It's everybody. It's everybody. I think it has more to do with, blooming where you're planted.
It almost, I use the metaphor sometimes, it's like popcorn. It's like sometimes the heat comes up, because things are not going well. Or you get a glimpse of something that is so much better. There's sort of, there's two ways, there's people who say, I just couldn't do it the old way. I was miserable and I was going to either quit law, or I was going to find a new way. I heard that many, many times. Or there's happening upon somebody like Forrest Bayard and saying that, I can do that. But whatever that is, then you look around you say, where am I and how can I do this from where I am? So if you're a family lawyer, you find mediation and collaborative law, and maybe some family systems work. If you're a criminal lawyer, you find restorative justice and problem-solving courts. And if you're a corporate lawyer, you find conscious contracts or purpose-based practices. It depends on where you are. But so far, I've pretty much seen everybody, even tax lawyers, can find a way to bring a more human approach to their daily work. And they don't have to be systems changers, they don't have to, you know, leave their law firm or give up their law practice and travel around the world or anything like that, they just start to bring all of themselves to their work.
And I can speak to that, because I started to do that within a law firm. And it does effect change. There are challenges, obviously, of working within a structure. But to begin where you are, is very empowering in itself. So if one wanted to encourage lawyers listening to this, who are wondering where, how do I start? Well, you could start like I did, which is Google something or look at your website, and find out what's going on in the world, because you have connected many of these pieces, and many of the lawyers who are practising these pieces. So one could go to your website, jkimwright.com, check out your work, and then begin to make the connections. I began to make connections to purpose-led companies, led me to work for not-for-profits in the area, and then the path opens up. And it can be done virtually at any level within a large organisation, or it can be done within smaller organisations. I would definitely agree with that, start where you are.
So in my first book, I recommended that lawyers find a coach, because a coach can help you start where you are. And help you figure out a path. And one of the reasons to get a coach is that the coach will actually provide a structure for you, and give you that kind of a path. You know like, I'll just speak for myself, if I'm left to my own devices, I'll have a lot of good ideas. And they may or may not happen. And it's really easy to come into the office and have a lot of messages and a big stack of work and just to continue doing whatever it was you did the day before and not create change. So if you're going to create some kind of change, I do recommend having a coach.
Well, I recommend it too. The work that we did together when you coached me was so powerful, because one of the first things you did was that values work. What are my values, was the question. And you gave me the exercise of examining my own values and that work stays with me. It applies to every part of my life, to all of my relationships, so I know what my values are as a person and that is in all of my roles as a sister, daughter, partner, lawyer, etc, etc. Plus, it then led into the purpose, so that I know what my personal purpose is. And from there the work - the path, at least - the work doesn't do itself, but the path becomes seen. That was incredibly empowering.
And I don't want this to be a commercial for coaching. But the idea is that, if you have someone that you're accountable to, you're more likely to actually create some change and one of the structures is to have those conversations about what's important to you. So some people go to a therapist, some people get a buddy, some people find a mentor, some people just get together a group of people who know how crazy and weird they are, and will encourage it. But for lawyers, we're not real forthcoming when we're doing change, internal work. We don't want to tell anybody we're doing it. And so having someone who is a trusted adviser, it seems like it's a really important piece, because something has to interrupt the chaos.
Yeah, coming back to what you said about the weird lawyer feeling, and how long it takes, how long it can take for a lawyer to connect with that sense of something being personally off-kilter. Because we're so used to organising things in our professional lives, to bringing that approach, if something is chaotic within, it can take a long time to address it. And even once it's addressed, to even look at it, there's an urge to compartmentalise it, to not bring it into the professional role. When, in fact, it's quite important to bring it into the professional role, because it's saying something. It's saying something you're doing professionally is affecting you personally. Or it can do. It did in my case. And bringing it in, actually, is the way forward. Once again, integrating.
Even if nothing externally changes, everything can change if you do that internal work, and then bring it to whatever you're doing.
So I was going to ask you, because this topic that we're on is relevant to it, what about you? You know, I felt like a weird lawyer. What was your sense that there was something in you, and now that you've embarked on the journey for many years, what's in your core? For me, it's my spirituality, my belief in a higher purpose. What's in your core that has led you down this road?
There are a lot of factors. I'm at heart a mother. And I have to - I have to - make the world a better place for my children. And when I say that, it's like, I'm the mother archetype. I do have children, but it's bigger than that. I really take responsibility for the world. And so there's that. I'm actually, you know, I'm a pretty normal person, really. I grew up on a farm, a small farm, we grew our food, in a small town, like there was nothing about my early life that would say that I would become a world class leader. Which is, at one point, I was taking a course and I said that out loud. I said, like, my dream is to become a world class leader. And at the time, if people had laughed at me, they would have had every right because I didn't have any sense that was even impossible. It was just one of those fantasy kinds of statements.
But that just shows how when you align with your truth and - what did you call it - the 'impossible project', that the impossible can happen.
Yeah. A good friend of mine, Pat Sullivan writes for the work and spirituality movement. And she defined spirituality as integrity, purpose and joy in action.
Integrity, purpose and joy. And so that certainly guides me. Like I am on purpose and I am always realigning. That whole idea that when you ride a bicycle, you've got to first go this way and then that way. That's how alignment works. You notice you're out ... like, you might be going along just fine, and all of a sudden you're out of alignment. And, something changed, and you have to realign. And so that's integrity for me. And the joy that goes with it, is kind of addictive, you know, it's like when you have that kind of alignment, and you are living on-purpose, so many serendipitous things happen, that, you know, I just have to believe that there's some team of angels that are completely kind of giving me magic on a pretty regular basis. And the more I travel, the more magic I have, which is why I really love the travelling around the world.
I was going to use that very word 'magic', and I would never have associated it with the practice of law, you know, all through the early part and into the middle part of my career. Magic didn't really happen in law as I knew it. But it does now.
I had a law professor who actually said that lawyers are modern day magicians. That, you know, we wear - actually, in most places people still wear robes. In the US, we still all wear the same suit. Very little variation. And we go to court and we say magic words...
And we make spells. And we make spells that make people married and not married, or adopted or not adopted, or free or in jail, or companies become one company or become two companies. I mean, all of these things where we're creating magic spells, all the time.
And with that comes immense responsibility.
Immense responsibility. I think we failed there.
Yes. And therefore, it behoves us to actually understand that responsibility in a higher way, so that we can discharge it in a way that honours the responsibility and honours the people we're impacting and the planet that we're impacting by discharging it. And that is really what this whole project that I've started is about, it's featuring people like you who understand that and who say, right, with this role that I've taken on and the powers that have been granted to me in this role, I am going to discharge those powers for good. Not for selfish means.
People look to lawyers for leadership. And for, we do really know the magic words of what's right and good, and so if we are accepting that responsibility, and honouring that, then we've got to change the way we practice.
Thank you. That is just perfect, Kim. I was going to ask you if there was anything else that you wanted to raise, we've talked about the two books that you've got in the pipeline that are going to come out soon. There's the conscious contracts work that you are continuing to do. What else, I'm sure that you're not sitting at home and you know, twiddling your thumbs?
I have started working with groups that are multidisciplinary. And so, I'm just going to put that out there because the law doesn't stand alone. The law is like one strand of DNA. It governs our relationships, but the other strands are things like work and finance and the human - I'll call it - the human condition, who we are as human beings and how we're evolving. And so there are these strands of how society works. And so I'm starting to work with them, because if we're going to have major systems collapse, and creating new systems, we're going to have to have all of those pieces.
Yup, it doesn't sound like something that's small, but that doesn't surprise me. Kim, thank you. Thank you so much. It was just an immense joy from beginning to end, as always.
Thank you so much.
Thank you for everything that you've spoken about and all the guidance you've given to everyone who's listening and to me over the years.
My pleasure. Thank you for having me.