February 07, 2015

Unmani Starts Writing A Book!

I have practiced mediation and Collaborative lawyering for over a decade now and after much talk with colleagues and a few clients, I have dedicated myself to writing a book about the underlying principles that inform my practice as a non-adversarial attorney. It’s currently titled: View Training For Lawyers.

While there is a lot of advice out there to develop a job that you love, cook your own food from scratch, exercise joyfully, sleep a lot and deeply, play, love, and smile I will offer snippets of View Training For Lawyers on this blog over the next few years as a reminder of another component to having a healthy, fulfilling life: gratitude. I am writing this book from a place of deep gratitude for the gift of being given eastern philosophical View Teachings, and will enjoy every minute of sharing that gift with others while I marinate in gratitude.

View Training For Lawyers

By: Unmani Sarasvati

Preamble, 2/6/15

In January 2014, I wrote an email to members of my local Collaborative Law group letting them know I would not be attending our monthly meetings for a year or two to focus on writing this book.  In my email I listed a few experiences I had had with law colleagues which inspired me to share my perspective of our job as non-adversarial attorneys—that is, mediators and Collaborative attorneys—and offer views which may both enhance our professional skillset and help us see ourselves, our clients, and their conflicts from an open, spacious place free of any tension added by us. I was surprised when one colleague emailed me back a picture of a beagle looking at the camera ashamed, as though it had just been caught peeing indoors.  My colleague added an apology that I had had to go through those trying times created by law colleagues, as though I had been separate from the events, or that my colleagues had somehow let me down. I immediately wrote back that I am not coming from a place of judgment or criticism, but instead completely empathize with how hard it is to be an attorney in a non-adversarial conflict resolution setting; I wrote that instead I was writing my book from a place of respect and regard for all my colleagues who valiantly strive to serve our clients with integrity.

So let me reassure you, friend, I am not writing this book from the place of being done or complete as a person or as an attorney.  I am not writing from an all-knowing place, or feeling like I have all the answers. In fact, I am just like you. I have situations in my life which push my buttons and make my A-game disappear. I have moments which overwhelm me and prevent me from digesting events in real time, leading me to ask for room to retreat to gain perspective before I respond. Like you, I am sometimes overwhelmed and sometimes I cry.

But what I have been taught is a perspective of life which has given me the gift of not having my challenges happen in the office much anymore. Seeing the world through the eyes of what in eastern philosophy is called View Teachings, it seems simple to remain neutral when mediating; it seems simple to understand that we are not looking for one truth and hence not looking for one just outcome; it seems simple to express the law in an educational manner, rather than in divisive terms; is seems simple to be curious, questioning, and receptive, rather than dogmatic, opinionated, and closed; it seems simple to realize that some people might come to their family law situation already weighed down with personality challenges and that the situation at hand will bring out their worst, not their best; it seems simple to know that any difficult conversation is worth having; and it seems simple to know that we all have the capacity to create a positive environment for those difficult conversations even if we are not perfect ourselves.

And therefore I am compelled to share these eastern philosophical View Teachings through the lens of the practice of law as a gift to all of my law colleagues, everywhere.  May the thoughts presented in this book bring to you an ease in connecting with your clients and colleagues, and help you in your journey to support your clients to resolve their own life situations through conversation, listening, and compromise.


Resolving Conflict: View Training for Lawyers

Change your View—Change your Practice—Change your Life

  1. Introduction to View
    1. Ancient ideas that are more fluid than presented here
    2. Like all living wisdom takes many guises
    3. We cycle through the views all day
    4. It’s a tool for self-awareness and creating a space between perception and response
    5. If we understand the underlying motivations of another’s behavior, empathy naturally develops, and solutions more readily appear


  1. Chapter One: View One
    1. View in General
      1. Theme: self-interest reins
      2. Statement: it’s all about me
      3. Driving motivation: fear
      4. Mindset: scarcity
    2. Supporting Others in View One….how one can go to two
    3. Supporting Yourself in View One


  1. Chapter Two: View Two
    1. View in General
      1. Theme: looking within and without
      2. Statement: it’s all about my judgments
      3. Driving Motivation: notions of right and wrong
      4. Mindset: share with those deserving
    2. Supporting Others in View Two….how two can go to three
    3. Supporting Yourself in View Two


  1. Chapter Three: View Three
    1. View in General: An introduction into the relative world
      1. Theme: self-acceptance
      2. Statement: it’s all about responding appropriately
      3. Driving Motivation: being true to self and respectful of others’ truths
      4. Mindset: live and let live……or, we’re all in this together; interconnectedness
    2. Supporting Others in View Three
      1. Keeping them anchored in their values
      2. How to respond to others not in view three
    3. Supporting Yourself in View Three

We were blessed to have her to help us through the rough spots in our lives.

Unmani is truly a blessing for those who find themselves ready to work with their soon-to-be-ex to bring a mutually satisfactory, peaceful end to their relationship.  Animosity and belligerence are optional in our lives, and Unmani is adept at reminding us of that and keeping us true to our better selves.  She has that rare gift for being light-hearted and no-nonsense at once, which of course is just what one needs at a time like that.  We were blessed to have her to help us through the rough spots in our lives.

- Don G.
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