(Updated from 07/17/2017 post)
Because I am often in court and handle legal actions daily, I sometimes forget that a large portion of the population rarely or never deals with lawyers. They might have friends who are lawyers, and (for better or for worse) those experiences dictate how they expect us to operate.
Yet lawyers are as unique as the people who serve in these roles.
To help you prepare for your experience working with Third Ear Conflict Resolution, I recommend the following:
- Tell me the whole truth, even if it scares or embarrasses you. As I often tell clients, I can work with what I know about, but surprises can change strategy in an instant. I can’t always adapt to protect our strategy in that instant.
- Make the Seven Choices (of a conflict resolution master), as often as you can. Forgive yourself for having conflicts. Forgive yourself for hiding out and hoping they would go away. Forgive the world for having and creating conflicts. Free the emotions. Clear your mind. If you must make an assumption, assume you know nothing about anything. Listen with your third ear (your heart–including to yourself).
- Regularly review Conflict Mastery Actions One, Two, and Three. Clearly defining the conflict makes it easier to resolve. Identifying your interests (e.g., expectations, beliefs, wants, needs) gives us a broader range of potential solutions. Playing with the possibilities brings us freedom and reminds us that there is always more available to us than we think.
- Let me know if your circumstances, needs, or desires change. Legal matters can take months or years to resolve. Life doesn’t stop just because your case is stalled. As your circumstances change, so might your priorities. But I won’t know that if you don’t tell me.
- Trust me–to do a good job, meet deadlines, and return calls or respond to messages as soon as I can. It might seem like I should be available 24/7 because of technology advances, but I am often in (virtual) court, meetings, or depositions. I can’t always respond immediately.
- Tell me if I’m not meeting your expectations. I understand the legal process can be quite stressful and frustrating. I do what I can to alleviate some of the burden. Yet I base this on past experience and best guesses. These might not always work for you. If they don’t, let’s come up with something else.
- Pay me on time and in full. I know lawyers have a reputation of being greedy and rolling in money. I think you will find that my fees are very reasonable for the New York City area. If you’re having a cash flow problem, I will work with you on a payment plan. Otherwise, I think one of the best ways to show your appreciation is to pay me.
- Exercise “extreme self-care” while I resolve your matter. There are aspects of the legal process that seem counterintuitive and invasive. You might experience a wide range of difficult emotions, fears, and self-doubt. That is normal whenever you are experiencing something new or in which your future is less within your control. You might need more sleep, a healthier diet, and stronger support while your case is pending. Don’t feel bad about that, and take great care of yourself.
- Use your third ear with me, and remember I am not a machine. Like you, I need sleep, exercise, meal breaks, time with loved ones, and other replenishment to do my best work for you. And that is what I want to give you.
- Ground yourself in gratitude daily. When something is going “wrong” in our lives, it is easy to lose sight of all of the good things around us. I recommend that you practice expressing gratitude every day. Make a list of what you are thankful for and share one or two with a loved one. This won’t make the negative things in the world go away, but it will make your experience of the world more enjoyable.