Pitfalls of the Adversarial System

Yesterday I received a series of e-mails form opposing counsel in a divorce matter (even the term “opposing” counsel has no place when trying to work through issues raised by a couple separating after more than ten years of marriage, but this is the recognized terminology). The e-mails were peppered with CAPITAL LETTERS, and the attorney had copied her client on each e-mail.

In a legal system built largely on a win/loss model and within which attorneys most often bill at rates exceeding $250.00/hour, many attorneys become primarily concerned with demonstrating their “value” to their clients and/or themselves. This is most often done by projecting an “I am better than them” front that is built on the illusion of separateness. While the “opposing” counsel in this particular situation might have a solid understanding of statutes or court procedures, this adversarial posture will result in wasted time, money and, more importantly, a missed opportunity to help these individuals move forward in their lives in optimal ways with knowledge and wisdom gained from this experience. In the more broad context, this adversarial system and posturing continues to feed pervasive egoistic behavior on which so much of our society is based.

The holistic approach rejects this notion of separateness and strives to facilitate connection with a client’s non-dualistic sense of being. Realization of this goal will result in a much greater likelihood of resolving legal issues in a way that is intrinsically satisfying and “right” to the parties involved.