Lost In Translation – Analyzing Adversarial

The word ‘adversary’ has a negative connotation, so it’s understandable that the adversarial legal process does as well.  Therefore, when heading down that path clients often presuppose that it will be painful and unpleasant, and many times it is. The very idea conjures up a scenario in which lawyers, acting on opposite sides of a dispute, are like opposing generals surveying a field of battle. 

However, when families are restructuring we like to hope that the lawyers are thinking in terms of how to best preserve the lives and livelihoods of their clients, rather than how to tear apart their lives, those of their children and perhaps that of their opposing attorney as well.

The word “adversary” is from the French adversare, and Latin adversarius, and also relates to the term ‘versus’, as used in numerous sporting contexts. Depending on how one practices law, they may approach their cases like a boxer getting ready to go into the ring, or a sports-team getting psyched before entering the stadium.   

Although we expect lawyers to prioritize their client’s goals (and in fact hire them to do so), helping clients see goals beyond their immediate desires is often a challenge not embraced by legal counsel.  When clients and their lawyers miss the forest for the trees, going into court and approaching the bench can feel more like a forum for sparring than one for resolution. 

In ancient Rome, gladiatorial combat pitted people against each other, and against various animals, in fights which depended upon everyone being adversaries. The goal of gladiators was to stay alive at all costs, and to take down anything and anyone who presented themselves as your adversary. However, in the modern court, when you find yourself facing contentious problems, we hope your mindset is less dire: we aim to resolve our client’s problems by helping them find fair, zealous and wise counsel, as long after lawyers leave the courtroom, families continue to evolve.  

Instead of seeing a family dispute as Me Versus You, Consilium trained  lawyers are taught to think holistically, and of the well-being of their clients and their clients’ families. It’s time for a (Dis)Solution (R)Evolution ©. Watch for the unrolling of our remote training program at ConsiliumInstitute.com (website under construction). 

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