Boulder was a blast - now on to SLC!
September 21, 2010
Cheryl: Kim, I have missed you a couple of days. Share with me some of the recent highlights?
A: I blogged on my own yesterday so I can catch up on yesterday and today with you.
Cheryl: So what happened yesterday?
A: I was at Colorado University School of Law, CU. Yesterday morning, I met with one of the law professors and then went to a lunch talk with a group of law students who all thought that we alone. Each had come to law school, hoping to collaborate and helping others. Some met resistance from others who thought this motivation was unusual. I met some neat folks. One man, a former divinity school graduate, thought he was alone and had to suffer by himself. It was a good conversation with more than half a dozen students. They were engaged.
Cheryl: Did you speak to any classes?
A: Yes, I joined a Mediation class. One student asked what is the most important skill. I said that the top 3 skills were 1. listening; 2. listening. 3. listening. I think some students were surprised by this answer. There was a full classroom of mediation students, who were knowledgeable about meditation, generally. I think there may have been a few ah-hahs about the use of mediation in different contexts and that problem-solving skills are part of the mix. Putting mediation in context of all this movement was an important outcome.
Cheryl: Did you lead the CLE program too?
A: Yes, that was also at CU in their Courtroom. (I barely had time to feed the meter in between!) It was an interesting collection of lawyers, from labor, family, litigation practice, and all in a big courtroom at CU. We talked about “what is the purpose and role of law”, “what is the role of the lawyer.” They were lively and thoughtful. Again, there was sense of excitement about having this conversation and coming together around these issues. Many were still standing outside talking when I left. It was one hour of ethics credit and it was free.
Cheryl: And, what was next?
A: I went to Naropa University and spoke at a program sponsored by the Peace Studies Department. It was a full classroom, with peace studies majors and some who were future lawyers.
Cheryl: What were there concerns?
A: Many were peace activists and all wanted to make a difference in the world. They thought that learning advocacy skills in law school would hone their skills to do the work they wanted to do in the world. There was much concern about how much it costs. Melissa Johnson, a local lawyer who organized this, talked a bit about this. She shared how hard it was to break loose of that. She had been offered partnership at a large law firm and left to follow her values. That was a great addition to the conversation. There were 3 of us there; Melissa, Libby and another lawyer, part of the student body, who had gone back to school to get a degree in conflict resolution. While I talked a bit about the movement, we talked more about how to go to law school and keep your values, how to choose a law school, and how to pay for it. Some said they had decided that they would pay off their current loans first, and do some activism. They already had the idealism, and this conversation was a reality check for them. I was afraid they'd be talked out of law school but they saw it as a way to strengthen their commitments and sense of values.
Cheryl: Did you have a sense of what the group came away with?
A: I think that there was a good reality check about legal education and lawyering. And, we talked about other ways to serve some of the same objectives without going to law school.
Cheryl: Anything else?
A: This morning, I spoke to a contracts class at CU and about relationship building with contracts. We talked about being clear, creating relationships, consciously. I shared that a lawyer had told me that he thought his job was about creating contracts to make them as ambiguous as possible, so he could argue whatever he wanted later. It was fun to share these alternative perspectives and the conversation wandered into collaborative law and other holistic approaches. The students asked good questions.
Cheryl: And what is next?
A: I have a day off...well, a day to travel to Salt Lake City and a day to finish my preparations for my keynote and workshop for the Guardian Ad Litem program on Thursday. I probably won't be ready to blog again until Friday.
Cheryl: Talk to you then!