Photo by Tony Avelar.
Half Moon Bay, Calif.
In contract dealings, attorneys are often the advocates, the fighters, the protectors. For solo practitioner and business consultant Linda Alvarez, that traditional adversarial process simply doesn’t work. After the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Alvarez found herself looking for a way to incorporate nonviolent principles into her practice of law. She found it while dealing with the estate of Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue.
Alvarez had worked for O’Donohue as a business consultant, but after his death in 2008 she discovered that his business relationships lacked many of the most basic formalities.
“I had a choice,” Alvarez says. “I could have sent a typical nasty-gram and shut down those actions, but these were people John loved and who loved John. I had to find a way to powerfully address the harm that was being done to John’s rights and at the same time honor and preserve these essential relationships for John’s family.” Out of that need Alvarez developed a process she calls “discovering agreement.” It helps her clients design agreements that honor the needs and values most important to them, and eschews traditional dispute resolution tactics to create a customized, legally binding system of resolving conflict—one that relies less on the use of legal weapons and more on restoring the original sense of agreement.
Some of her clients say her values-oriented process has revolutionized the way they approach their business. Says Alvarez: “Finding ways to join forces with others and—together—design sustainable, beneficial and enjoyable relationships and enterprises is better than approaching deal-making as an encounter between opposing forces seeking to win an advantage, one over the other.”
Click here for full profile of Linda on the ABA Journal site