I have developed a professional practice by use of the ideas of and tools created by an MIT professor called Donald A. Schön and described in his books: The Reflective Practitioner  and The Education of the Reflective Practitioner , and made more useful by my friend Steward Shapiro in Case Studies in Reflective Inquiry .
“Reflective practice” uses a set of techniques to monitor every professional “move” – no matter how minor – to test its effectiveness in accomplishing its intended objective. A reflective practice also provides a means by with the practitioner can test the alignment between what he does everyday in his office and his abstract values and beliefs. The overall idea is to allow the professional: (1) To continually define, refine and improve his practice over the course of a lifetime, and (2) To enable him to compare what he does to what he believes, which allows belief to change behavior and vice versa.
Reflective Practice involves explication of action and belief at a number of levels of abstraction.
I have a set of principles that apply to my work as a legal consultant (Analysis and Planning Sessions), a set that apply to my work as a mediator, and a set that applies to both.
Overhead is a major factor in determining style of practice. If you have staff, there must be paying work for them to do.
The typical hourly fee arrangements use by family law attorneys work against the interests of the client and demean the lawyer and devalue the skill and experience s/he is being trusted to use.
A client or clients have solutions to their own problems that are infinitely better than anything I can think of. At most I can help them to access those solutions.
I should not and cannot make any personal judgments about a client. This is a part of the respectful attitude which I must assume and maintain in order to do the work I’ve agreed to perform. The respectful attitude also assumes without qualification that each client’s understanding of his “reality” makes at least as much sense to him, as my understanding of my reality makes to me.
If I assume client’s experience is the same as mine, I’ll almost always misunderstand him.
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