Holistic Law means many things to many people. As we use it, it is an approach or style of practice that focuses on the whole person and the whole of the problem as a way of finding more healthy and sustainable solutions to legal problems. The whole problem or picture to a Holistic Lawyer would include more stakeholders, a broader focus on the “other side” and their contribution to the problem. It often entails a look at the lawyer’s role, the client’s role in the problem and solution, and the impact of the problem and solution on the community.
Holistic Law practitioners often look inward to become whole themselves to better assist their clients in using the legal process to find wholeness. Often holistic lawyers take a spiritual component, exploring the unity of purpose between the seemingly opposing parties. Some attorneys who practice in this style view Holistic Law as the umbrella under which other styles or approaches fit. For example, a Holistic Lawyer might take a preventive law approach or a collaborative law approach as part of their holistic legal problem-solving.
Although this style or approach has been identified as Holistic, there a number of practitioners who practice in this style, but who are not aware of the term that identifies them. Other attorneys practicing as Holistic Lawyers have self-identified their approach putting Holistic Law or Holistic Lawyer on their business cards, letter head and in their marketing.
Holistic Legal practice has received attention through the work of many individual practitioners, articles and radio interviews, including the Christian Science Monitor’s July 21, 2004 article Lawyers who heal: http://csmonitor.com/2004/0721/p17s01-lire.html.
Holistic Law also caught the attention of Paul Harvey the legendary radio host in July 2004 when he spoke about Renaissance Lawyer Society its Holistic practicing President, Maureen Holland, and when he quoted Professor Wexler by noting that holistic law was the antidote to what has become a confrontational culture that resolves little. The show also mentioned holistic lawyer, Nora Bushfield.
For many years, the International Alliance of Holistic Lawyers was an umbrella organization that brought together lawyers who called themselves “holistic.” In 2011, the IAHL dissolved.