Lawyers are known to have strong personalities. It figures lawyers get right into the trenches; we take pride in our work and the results we achieve for our clients. We are trained to defend one perspective – that of our client. Not winning or not getting the deal for our clients impacts us. Call us crazy, but we would rather win than lose.
When we meet opposition to our requests or if our counterpart raises their voice at us, it’s likely we will react in kind. Unfortunately, we often get caught in the moment and we may react strongly, loudly or rudely.
When this happens, our body prepares for what it believes is a threat, and a series of physiological reactions ensue. Our limbic system, a primitive defence system, is designed to protect us from danger. Under real or perceived threat, our defence mechanism gets activated. In case we have to run for cover, we unconsciously prepare for our survival and our body does things like bringing more oxygen to our lungs and bringing more nutrients to our muscles.
The problem is that when we get into this protective state, our pre-frontal cortex, which is our intelligence centre, works less. Hum. This is not good when we are responsible for people’s lives.
The client’s case does not get advanced during these kinds of heated interactions. We are not planning strategies, we are not evaluating options, and we are not maximizing our intelligence to see opportunities for our clients.
Clients get better results when their lawyers can keep their pre-frontal cortex – their intelligence centre – fully activated. Finding ways to remain in control so that the limbic system doesn’t take over is what our clients need from us.
Since the discovery that the brain is plastic and not fixed or hardwired, there are new powerful possibilities that enable people to use their brain’s incredible abilities to control how we react and to avoid losing our bearings.
Humans were built with the ability to react quickly to avoid all kinds of dangers, from fear of being hurt physically to fear of being hurt emotionally. That’s the mechanism that is at play when we lose it with our colleagues.
But humans are also built with the ability to control themselves. This is why the Law Society of Upper Canada approved this workshop for professionalism credits: The New Lawyer: The neuroscience of self-regulation. Learn more about the event here.
The new standard of practice requires us to do whatever it takes to acquire the tools that will enable us to remain in control of our emotions even if our counterpart does not.
Register in our workshop and be a pioneer in the changing profession for the benefit of clients!