Tag Archives: choose lawyer

I don’t want to be your shepherd.

The divorce process is one of discussions leading to decisions. The discussions and decisions are best if they are jointly held and made. How difficult this is depends on who the two people are. How much and what kind of support do you two need to have the discussions? to embrace a perspective in those discussions that will result in decisions you can both live and continue to work with?

The image that comes into my head is of the difference between a Shepherd and a Sherpa.

Sheep are considered ‘stupid’ and shepherds are necessary because the sheep get so caught up in what they ‘want’ in this moment [o, look, a blade of grass!] that they don’t see danger and won’t even realize where they’ve gotten to and thus are lost. But other than driving them where s/he thinks they ‘should be’ and keeping the wolves at bay, the shepherd doesn’t do much for the sheep.
The sherpa on the other hand is there to support travelers who know where they want to go and are willing to even make their own decisions on the path to follow to get there. The sherpa offers support for THAT journey. The sherpa may decline to take them on that path, but isn’t there to tell them they ‘have to go’ this other way.

Litigation assumes people are fundamentally stupid and need to be managed [the self-serving term that is used is ‘protected’] or they will get eaten alive. Collaborative Practice presumes people can work together and make decisions, though some need some support.

I will always encourage and offer support that I believe might help you on the path you have chosen. I will explain to you how I believe that it might help. I will never tell you “that’s just how it’s done”.
I might decide that I choose to not stay on that path with you if you decide against the help. That doesn’t mean your decision is in any way ‘wrong’.

I am not a shepherd. I won’t treat you like a sheep.

Your first meeting with an attorney

When you make plans to see an attorney about your divorce, you will be able to find lots of suggestions for what information to bring, what questions you will be asked. These suggestions are all focused on the attorney. This is information the attorney uses to make guesses in answer to only one just question: “What is going to happen? What will the outcome be for me?”
I say “guesses” because that’s just what they are. Educated. Experienced. But still guesses. No worthwhile attorney would ever tell you “THIS is what your result will be.” But that’s what you’ve likely been told to ask about. That, and how much the whole thing will cost.
I’m suggesting that you think about asking some different questions. Ones that will actually help you in your initial consultation.

What they are and how they will help you more was the subject of an article I was recently honored to have published in The World of Collaborative Practice magazine. You can read it here.

It was also a topic I addressed when I was interviewed by Joanie Winberg, creator of the “Survive and Thrive After Divorce BOOT CAMP“, as part of her “Ask Joanie” Series.     Here’s that interview.    I look forward to you asking me your questions.