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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/15/11

Is There a Job for Lawyers as Healers of Conflict?

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Drawing upon the teachings of   A Course in Miracles, Reid suggested that forgiveness offered an opportunity for healing in every context, be it the family, the environment, business or the constitution. He had the courage to suggest that those in the legal system could give up the judgment that stands in the way of healing. That book was my introduction to the notion that justice could be more reflective of our spiritual inclinations. It felt like a call to join a revolution!


Next, I came upon a book that had come out two years earlier, Howard Zehr's   Changing Lenses: A New Focus on Crime and Justice   (1990). Zehr is not an attorney, but his early work was closely tied to the criminal courts. Zehr is sometimes called the grandfather of restorative justice, a worldwide movement that now extends well beyond the court system and addresses conflict in all kinds of situations. It is also effective in preventing conflict before it manifests as violence.


Here is the dilemma for lawyers. The model of justice that stems from love and seeks healing is simple, not complex. It requires no legal degree to become a "facilitator" of the process. Dominic Barter, an accomplished practitioner of this new model of justice who also has no law degree, says that it is more like a trade than a profession. Good training consists of an apprenticeship under an experienced facilitator and the willingness to be totally open to possibility, without preconceived limitations.


Is there a job for lawyers when resolving conflict means healing the pain that the harm has caused? You be the judge.

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