Vermont Bar Journal
Revitalizing the Profession
THE VERMONT BAR JOURNALVolume 35, No. 3Fall 2009Revitalizing the ProfessionEmbracing the Spiritual Side or LawyeringReviewed by Linda Ocasio, Esq.David Hall has provided a gentle, yet relevant call for lawyers, judges, and legal educators to embrace the sometimes-taboo, spiritual side of law in his book. The Spiritual Revitalization of the Legal Profession: A Search for Sacred Rivers. This book is not written for the latest wave of pop spirituality, nor is a belief in any particular religion necessary for tapping into his message. Hall's approach is one of practical application, emphasizing areas such as ethics, professionalism, leadership, education, and service to clients and the community at large. Instead of providing a harsh critique of the profession. Hall's observations are from the perspective of love for law. Using the metaphor of a river for soul, he does not discount the role that we play by placing stones or building dams to control the flow in our lives (often trying to compartmentalize and keep the sacred separate) and how that may lead to destructive tendencies.
Through the lens of history, he demonstrates that lawyers' roles have evolved into what is sometimes a divorce of feelings/spirit from the practice of law. While Hall does not advocate that the role of the lawyer is that of a psychotherapist, he does challenge us to serve the whole client in a manner that extends beyond traditional interviewing and counseling skills. Developing an open, creative approach to the practice of law can benefit clients, as well as attorneys.
Hall also touches upon the need for the judiciary to incorporate a view of justice that involves sensitivity and practicing impartiality in the judicial process. He cautions against allowing personal stereotypes and prejudices to "pollute the streams of justice" (184). Judges can play a pivotal role in helping restore a sense of balance and integrity to the legal system.
Legal education is the beginning of a life-long learning process for future lawyers. As such, the system is uniquely poised to help set expectations about the profession through such means as being honest about the...