Tuesday, January 1, 2013

systems - personal, political, legal - a framework for learning in the new year!

I work within the realm of conflict and in the realm of dishonest communication or action, deceit or fraud, and sometimes misunderstanding, to resolve situations that my clients confront so that they can attain their goals - recovery of money; better relationships, peace of mind, justice and fairness etc. The most useful thing that I can do for my clients is to understand them, and to fully understand the situation in which they find themselves. This involves by and large, a great deal of study - a study of the exchange between myself and the client; of the client, and of the people involved and actions taken by the people involved with my client. Here are some fundamentals to retain in the study undertaken: Human beings are complicated... each and every one. How and why? Each of us is a system. A group of us forms another system around an issue or cause, an identity including nationality or ethnicity, or a margin. But as much as we may form systems, systems form us also, through education, through family values or culture, and through the rules created to conform us to particular structures in each country and also internationally. The study undertaken is a study of the various systems involved...to ascertain what similarities, differences, affinities attract the exchanges and actions that have created the situation to the point of conflict or deceit or misunderstanding. Personal systems relate largely to family upbringing and relationships, values, as well as cultural, religious, and educational background. Much of this study will inform a study of the groups to which a person belongs or simply conforms. Law and the rules that structure identity on a state, national or global level can also be linked to personal systems to some extent, but evoke a greater sense of group dynamics, class or power struggles. But how does this help with the development of a case; or with the process that leads us to make a decision relating to adjudication; or to informing and alerting relevant authorities; or to challenging the authorities themselves; or finally if political processes are engaged - to creating the means and mechanisms to shift legal structures on a wider level? I will not move without understanding who I am dealing with, when I speak with a client, without fully understanding what the problem is, and why it is a problem for this particular client. This requires much back and forth, and compassion/empathy for the client - him/herself. It also requires an understanding sometimes of the wider world or system in which the client finds herself as relevant to the problem at hand - for instance the industry or more specifically the corporation in which the client may be a whistleblower; and thereafter the legal or other systems invoked by understanding the conflict at hand and the process(es) required to challenge or target the injustice. I explicate this in such basic terms because it is difficult for clients to understand that the law and lawyering is not simply an exercise of issue spotting and rule application, at least not at KLS. Here the measure of our success is found in the understanding and learning we obtain in the interface/exchange itself of information gathering by speaking with the client, with witnesses, sometimes friends and sometimes others close to the situation, to have a fuller debrief of the conflict and its causes and the impact, for instance - personal, psychological, financial that has been sustained. It occurs to me these paragraphs are worth writing, because too often our clients like the clients of so many other law firms expect that answers will be swift, and the information they provide about themselves and their problem can be sparse. When I do decide to proceed - a great deal of exchange and understanding must take place prior to the development of the file or case, or strategic plan to resolve the problem or conflict. Three years later... our process has become clearer, as it moves to understand the complexes it encounters. I am sure this year will lead to even further understanding of the systems we engage! Happy New Year to all our clients!