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Story's by O.Frank

Holistic Lawyers

Wow! This took me by surprise. I thought I was up to date on most of the trends in my quest of the paradigm shift, but somehow I missed this one. There is now the IAHL (International Alliance of Holistic Lawyers). What is holistic lawyer you ask? William van Zyverden, the founder of the IAHL, answers this question by comparing it to holistic medicine.

In medicine, the traditional doctor looks for the problem by focusing on a part of the body, and then tries to solve the problem by cutting it out, controlling it or medicating it. The holistic doctor on the other hand looks at the whole person, i.e. the mind/body/spirit.

The traditional lawyer, Zyverden says, sees a client with a problem and says "Okay, who can we blame?" In contrast, the holistic lawyer looks beyond the illusion of separate interests for the shared or common interest that forms the basis of resolution. The holistic lawyer helps the client delve beneath the surface of the dispute to its underlying cause. He also says that —like a holistic doctor- a holistic Lawyer helps the clients help themselves.

Zyverden says that he has regular counseling sessions with his clients and explores their feelings and beliefs to help them understand the antecedent that lead them to the trouble they are in now. He has been accused of stepping outside his role and being a therapist, but he says that he does not get as involved as a therapist and is only dealing with the legal problem his client has. He said that he didn’t "win" as many cases in the traditional sense but that he has created more win-win situations.

A poll in California indicated that 70% of the lawyers in the state are either dissatisfied or highly dissatisfied with their work. Another lawyer, J. Gary Gwilliam travels around the country doing seminars to lawyers. He says that his focus in the seminars is ethics, but he approaches it in the broadest sense, defining ethics as a set of values, which we live by. He tries to get the lawyers in his seminars to talk honestly and openly about vulnerability. This is where the true power comes from he says, it is not about pushing people around and showing you’re tough. It comes from an inner strength, from being in touch with your own soul and spirit, and dealing with people in a loving and compassionate way instead of an angry and hostile way.

Holistic law is just in it’s infancy but look at how far holistic medicine has come since the seventies. Today 70% of medical patients have been to see some type of alternative healer. Now here is another sign of a paradigm shift. You can get more information about IAHL by calling William Van Zyverden at 802-388-7478, or fax 802-388-4079, or email

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copyright 2005 O.Frank