As a lay person, your question seems to be limited to civil matters and yet, it seems that the whole system appears to be in need of a major overhaul. Judges are overworked, innocents are convicted , and families are torn asunder. The cliché "money talks" seems entrenched within the legal system.
The court deals with issues. Collaborative Law deals with the people. Court is a destructive process to the family fabric. Collaborative law mends portions of a torn family fabric.
Our legal profession is not broken. If each person in the legal profession truly worked for the client's best interest, rather than other interests, then our World would be better.
Fascinating question in its ambiguity. What do you mean by the "legal profession"? The question presupposes the answer by assuming the legal profession is broken. I first read this as assuming you are discussing the mainstream legal system, i.e. the courts. But on further reflection, you may truly be referring to the legal profession as a whole, including its insidious takeover of Collaborative Process? In my view, despite some complaints I may have about its bureaucratic process and narcissistic judges, the courts provide a necessary and functional process for the rare spouses who require its rules, boundaries and paternalism. Perhaps what you are getting at is that the vast majority of separating spouses require alternatives to an adversarial process and those alternatives simply do not exist as long as lawyers remain in charge. Even Collaborative Process is only a slight renovation of archaic legal systems and remains adversarial in the two lawyer protocol. Where I think your question is potentially most provocative is in opening a dialogue on whether Collaborative Process is being steered back to its adversarial roots by the lawyers involved as evidenced by the erosion of the two coach model for the one coach model? It seems to me that if the ideal is a non-adversarial process where separating spouses are facilitated in making the decisions required by the act of separation, we would not pit one against the other as we do in legal systems, but use a family centered approach of maintaining unity and moving to a one lawyer, as educator, process.
The legal system seems to lag woefully behind scientific research and technology. Discoveries in neuroscience, psychology, and the social sciences are charging ahead with deeper understanding of human behavior. Conflict is a natural part of being human. We must find more constructive ways to deal with our fellow humans when conflicts arise.
The current legal system is punitive, primitive, and destructive. We must learn to rely more on our creative, innovative and productive methods toward the understanding and management of human conflict. The conflict resolution processes already available today should be taught in law schools as the primary methods used to manage human conflict, especially when conflict affects families and children.
The legal system, along with most of the other systems in the US (medical, education, financial, political, agricultural), is definitely broken. I am very upfront about sharing that point of view with my clients. I consider litigation an absolute last result, and discourage my clients from going anywhere near that system, if they can help it. At times, clients end up there because their spouse refuses to go any other route. But it is definitely not a system that benefits families in any way.
I am not a critical or negative person, by nature, so I am not saying this because I have an axe to grind. I simply believe is stating things clearly and up front. And the legal system, at least in family law, could use a major overhaul.
Healthy conflict resolution options are essential to society. I have experienced a great upward trend in clients' frustration and dissatisfaction over my thirty years of practice.
Dear Pauline -
Thank you for leading this important effort!
Warm Aloha - Lisa Jacobs
Collaborative Attorney & Mediator ~ Better Way Divorce, also known as Pono Divorce
mailing address: 555 Paakiki Place, Kailua, HI 96734
cell: (808) 263-6299