DOES HUMANITY HAVE A PLACE IN THE LAW?

Should the law support what is important to us in our lives or should we resolve conflicts based on case law and statutes?

As part of a recent mediation, the correspondence between attorneys was sent to me as part of the file. One attorney letter stands out in my mind.

First, the attorney had written a really beautiful description of his client’s perspective on the situation from that person’s human perspective–from their emotional place– and with no demands; he simply stated what the client was hoping for. Then, the attorney wrote, “Though I do not often put these discussion in human terms, I believe it is necessary in this case …” and then went on to say why.

I was really struck by this soft division that attorneys so often place between legal issues and human relationships and feelings. Almost as if human feelings are irrelevant and something else is more important or worthy of a higher consideration.

Now, I get what he was saying . . . that rational decisions cannot be made from a place of upset and that “human terms” can mean solely driven by emotions of hurt, pain and anger. I agree that hurt pain and anger are not generally good bases on which to make decisions that impact the rest of your life but

Shouldn’t the law support the human and emotional quality of people’s lives, not the other way around?

The traditional system, negotiation based on the attorneys’ view of the probable outcome in court, does not encourage feeling. There is little room to explore how people feel about things or what they are trying to accomplish. What the system tries to do is resolve conflict objectively, and that may or may not be possible in certainly not inclusive of the human side of the participants.