Very excited that we may be hosting our dear friend and spiritual mentor, J. Kim Wright, back in Memphis. Many of the legal practitioners in Memphis are interested in developing a more collaborative practice but feel the need for a more nuts and bolts approach to this development. Pragmatists that they are!
We continue to consider the best ways to bring this practice to the public and to continue to promote and enhance mediation practice along the way.
The ADR section of the Memphis Bar has been actively pushing the local General Sessions Court to adopt a "Mediator of the Day" style project that is voluntary. One of the Judges created a special 9 am docket for pro se litigants every Wednesday. On that day one of the volunteer mediators offers pro bono mediation services to the litigants. First we explain why and what we are doing, then for those who are willing, we go to a conference room around the corner.
It was so wonderful to have Kim in Memphis last night! A local attorney who has been practicing collaboratively in a few cases, Pam Blair, and her husband, Sam, opened their beautiful home to attorneys and others in Memphis for an evening with Kim and the Lawyers as Peacemakers, Lawyers as Problemsolvers (LAP/LAP) group. There were about 30 people who gathered to discuss the changing face of the practice of law and reimagining the legal system to work for disputants and to pick up an autographed copy of Kim's book. Maureen Holland a founder of Renaissance Lawyers and a holistic attorney in Memphis was there sharing her dreams of a legal delivery system transformed for individuals- she loves the concept of a Legal Grounds style coffee house atmosphere for Memphis folks! Cindy Pensoneau, a beautiful yogi, desperately wants to marry her yoga practice to her legal practice and to help her clients self actualize even as they reform their families.
The entire legal profession — lawyers, judges, law teachers
— has become so mesmerized with the stimulation
of the courtroom contest that we tend to forget
that we ought to be healers — healers of conflicts.”
—Chief Justice Warren E. Burger 
I never really knew much about CJ Burger but the things I have seen that he has to say about litigation really ring true for me. I work with a number of young lawyers and there seems to be a real split- there are those who are itching to get into court and don't think you can be a real lawyer if you don't litigate. Then there are the others who don't care about litigating. It's the ones who think litigation is the end all and be all of solving a client's problem that interest me. Sure, litigation has it's place but it's just one tool.
Why don't we value our role as counselors? What is it that makes so many lawyers think they aren't real with litigation? Is it TV? Law school? Or a combination of things.