The fifth Legal Highlight is my old friend and colleague Tim Birnie. I have known Tim for over two decades. He and I taught courses together at Hastings College of the Law, co-presented a symposium at an annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, and participated in a two-year intensive with the Center for Mediation in Law. We also completed a ten-day psychosynthesis training with the late Harry Sloan after whom a mediation fellowship program has been named.
I saved this interview until now because November 10 is the birthday of today's Legal Highlight. Right here on idealawg, I wanted to wish him a great birthday. Happy birthday, Tim!
Please click back to the first of the Legal Highlights to learn about the Legal Highlights process and the reason behind this feature which focuses on what is right and working well in the legal profession.
And now here are the responses given by this Legal Highlight to the seven questions:
1) Think about your recent experience in the legal profession or system and think of a specific incident or event that made you feel extremely satisfied or proud. Give a brief description of the incident or event, if you would like. The reasons I felt that way were . . .
Recently, we were able to eliminate two heir search organizations and their law firms from receiving part of the probate estate of our client. The heir-search firms had signed up five developmentally disabled adults for their services. Three of the developmentally disabled adults were actually signed up through their conservator. All were signed up within a week of my filing of a probate. The heir-search firms would have received 20% of the probate estate (or approximately $100,000.00) for doing nothing…we already knew who the heirs were. When confronted with a Court hearing to determine the reasonableness of their fees, the heir-finders folded and agreed to withdraw.
2) I attended law school because . . .
I was graduating from college and didn’t know what else to do. Law school looked like it held a lot of future possibilities.
3) I would recommend the practice of law because . . .
I am not sure that I would recommend the practice of law. But both of my daughters are now practicing lawyers, so I guess I have given some implicit message that it is a good profession. There is always the possibility for me of satisfaction of problem solving and relationships with people.
4) My colleagues who practice law appreciate doing so because . . .
I think there are very few people who really appreciate practicing law. A few have found a good niche for them.
5) The benefits lawyers contribute to society are . . .
I think it is real simple… lawyers are professional problem solvers. Many of the attorneys I know who have practiced for sometime bring a good deal of personal and professional experience into finding a solution that will really work for the parties.
6) The factors that make up the heart and the soul of law are . . .
To me, the heart and soul of law is personal relationships and honoring your higher self in dealing with conflict.
7) Think of a lawyer you consider a role model. The traits or values I respect or admire about him or her are . . .
Gary Friedman: His integrity, his genuine concern for people and desire to help them find a meaningful resolution.