Balanced Lives spurred along by Women in Law
Law touches the lives of all women, not only those who work within the justice system. Knowledge of the law is a valuable asset that allows women lawyers to assist and to inform fellow women as well as to support female colleagues. From www.womeninlaw.com
Everything we do now is aimed at being “bigger, better, faster.” All of the sudden, the explosion of technological advancement has transformed our world into one that functions on a global scale. Information is moving at a dizzying rate and we are all breaking our necks to keep up. Maybe “bigger, better, faster” isn’t the most fulfilling standard of living. Maybe there is a spirituality and humanity in life that is being ignored in exchange for what we mistake as advancement.
The traditional 40 hour work week has become a thing of the past. Doctors work upwards of 60 hours a week, sometimes even 80 or 90 hours. Lawyers these days are expected to work at least 60 hours a week, sometimes significantly more. Many people work two, even three jobs just to pay the bills. We have become so obsessed with efficiency and the bottom line, so concerned with the end result, that we’ve lost sight of the things in life that make us balanced and happy people.
Dr. Linda Spedding, Co-Founder of Balanced Lives and Women in Law Ltd (UK), is trying to change this. She has facilitated a forum through these groups to teach lawyers how to bring spirituality and balance into their lives amidst the whirlwind of today.
Born in Newcastle, England and raised in Devon, Spedding studied Latin, French and History before pursuing her law degree at Queen Mary College, London University. She completed her PhD at London University in European and International Law. She is flueant in French and English and possesses an adequate knowledge of Sanskrit, German, and Latin.
Dr. Spedding has been practicing law for over twenty-five years and has since specialized in International Environmental Law and Corporate Governance. She is one of a select few lawyers qualified to practice law in three jurisdictions: England and Wales (1975), USA(1985) and India (1989). She is an International Lawyer and Writer, Advisor to Social and Ethical Risk Management (SERM), Co-Founder of Balanced Lives and Women in Law Ltd (UK), and Vice President of Adhyatmik Foundation Inc. (USA), among many other things.
Spedding is forging vital avenues of communication between lawyers in an effort to connect them on a global scale. Her goal is to change the face of law by creating a judicial system that does not promote and perpetuate conflict, but instead one that resolves conflict and results in a satisfactory resolution for all involved (lawyers included). As one of a handful of lawyers eligible to practice law in three jurisdictions, she has the connections and the knowledge to turn her vision of balance and healing into action. And this is exactly what she is doing, in her law practice, in her writing, and in her life.
When Dr. Linda Spedding became a lawyer in 1975, women were still a novelty in the field of law. She says of this experience, “My early years of practice took place when women lawyers were few and it was unusual to advance without a legal family tradition or connections.” But she advanced nonetheless, thanks to an acute intelligence and a strong vision of positive change.
Spedding possesses a vested interest in people and improving the self in her life and in the lives of others, what she calls practical spirituality. “As I matured and traveled extensively, particularly after going to India and assisting a humanitarian ethnic minority charity, I developed a greater interest in taking responsibility for self, having positive thought and a balanced lifestyle.”
Experiences like this spurred Spedding to bring this ideology to her professional law practice, “I found that I did not fit into the usual lawyers’ chargeable hour lifestyle, and after some experience with that, politics and power play in various firms and organizations of different size and origin, evolved my own consultancy practice.”
In pursuit of the goal to enlighten other lawyers, Women in Law was conceived. “Observing the profession’s decline from a position of respect in society to an—often—unnecessary evil, I returned to consider how my substantive practical experience could be used to make a difference: hence Women in Law.”
Women in Law is a project that Dr. Spedding, in collaboration with Ruth Eldon, a legal journalist and publisher, initiated in 2002. In her own words, the exchange of ideas through Women in Law will “enable a vital support system to lawyers wherever they practice.” She believes that Women in Law will be able to provide “mentoring, life coaching; professional training; drafting and writing.” This project “emphasizes lifework balance” and encourages “open debate, communication and the sharing of experiences—good and bad—from women throughout the world” in order to come to reasonable solutions with firms who do not offer flexible work schedules to women who want to practice law and care for their families. Women in Law strives to teach lawyers how to balance their personal and professional lives so they can attain true happiness. Its focus is on the wellbeing of lawyers as well as their clients. Women in Law enables lawyers to give and receive advice in governance, environmental, and sustainability issues.
For more information: womeninlaw.com