Spring 2019 Gavel Spring Gavel 2019 - Page 8

generate more options for the client’s consideration, but can work with a certain confidence that they have given their all and done their best for their clients.8 Second: Mistaken preconceptions or assumptions sometimes get in the way of truly understanding a situation or a client or seeing the best solutions for the problem under scrutiny.9 Self-monitoring and self-correcting faulty conceptions may save a lawyer from these and other costly mistakes, especially jumping to erroneous conclusions about clients whose life experiences and assumptions may be very different from their own. Third: The more self-aware the lawyer, the more he or she may draw from their own humanity and life experience, the more likely he or she might be able to anticipate the personal and social dimensions of the client’s problem and address these considerations in meaningful and compassionate professional ways – an approach that may also help work against the unfortunate image that many people have of lawyers as mercenary and opportunistic. Fourth: Equipping students with a self-reflective bent should help them to uncover and negotiate the inevitable conflicts or disharmonies that arise between the professional and personal realms when lawyering. 10 This is vital to professional health and happiness. It is vital to bringing an integrated self to the professional arena – a self who can intentionally draw upon both intellectual and emotional resources in rendering professional service, a self who can more knowingly balance professional and personal demands, and a self who can more consciously attempt to reconcile the cognitive and emotional dissonances lawyers sometimes feel when professional obligations cramp personal belief or preference. Professor Alleva teaching her last law school class, Civil Procedure, on November 20, 2018. 8 THE GAVEL And fifth: The more developed a lawyer’s self-evaluative ability, the more likely he or she is able to learn from mistakes and build upon or repeat successes. In short, self-awareness promotes growth and life-long learning – critical long-term survival skills for legal professionals, who must constantly adapt and respond to new situations and problems in this increasingly complicated world. 11 And that, very briefly, is why teaching to the whole person and cultivating self-awareness carries with it the hope that professionally self-reflective students will be able to make better judgments on their clients’ behalf as well as lead more authentic, integrated, and satisfying professional lives. Indeed, this pedagogic approach is based on a respect for the self that each student is and will become by his or her own design. And it holds the potential to enrich our profession and, ultimately, our state, with new lawyers who bring to their practices a more holistic and humanistic understanding of professional role and responsibilities – lawyers who thoughtfully bring wisdom beyond technique to client problem-solving, with head more consciously connected to heart, along with an abiding capacity to self-evaluate and self-improve. Given the gnarly challenges of the ensuing decades, North Dakota deserves no less in its new lawyers. Part II So here I am, at the far end of my University of North Dakota teaching career. I have wondered, time and time again, especially in these last few years as I agonized over the right time to leave the law school that I love, how three decades and then some have passed. It was July 25, 1987, when I boarded the Northwest Airlines jet in New York City that would take me from all that I had ever known to a