It is often said that we are “a nation of laws.” What may be more accurate is that we are “a nation of government.” Our government is largely charged with the responsibility of reigning in undesirable behavior, and encouraging more benevolent behavior through the enactment of statutes that either punish people for harmful behaviors or provide incentives for positive actions.
When a client comes to an attorney for legal help, they often do so stating that they “do not know what to do.” It is true that to understand even a small fraction of our statutes and procedures and “common law” rules can prove hugely challenging even for a highly experienced attorney.
I would posit, however, that most individuals actually do know what to do. Through mindful attention in a way that connects up to one’s authentic sense of “being,” one can find the clarity giving rise to experiential knowledge of precisely what is the right action to take in a given situation. The attorney’s job is to facilitate this process and, once the client has identified the right course of action to fit his or her unique situation, invoke our contemporary legal system to bring about the right result.
This is the goal of holistic lawyering. It starts from the premise that we all know “the law.” Part of the attorney’s job is to know where to look.