About the Task Force

The Relational Practices Task Force was formed to promote development, implementation, and expansion of relational approaches for negotiating and for addressing conflict. We are convinced by evidence that many of the well-being challenges in the legal profession are linked to a lack of a relational approach.

What does it mean to be Relational?  

We asked each Task Force member to share a few ideas about what it means to be Relational.  For each Task Force member’s bio, follow the link.

Being relational means living in relation to others in recognition of an interconnectedness with others. It means, in our interactions with others, being engaged, centered, grounded, clear, generous, humble and kind.   It is a systems world view. It believes deeply in each person’s individual capacity to foster well-being and the desire to be connected to others. It is responsive to factures, errors and harm through engagement, forgiveness and compassion alongside boundaries and responsibility.  It is resilient because it is premised on a hopeful view of humankind.Louise Phipps Senft, Chair

Being relational is conscious, with an awareness of self and an awareness of others.  It is connecting, a sense of relatedness, of values, an understanding of life conditions.  It is a lens, not a checklist.   –J Kim Wright, Co-Chair

Being relational is fostering human connectedness even when advocating and negotiating.  It is not something only certain people can do.  It is not woo-woo or fringe.  It means bringing humanity into the room, our own humanity and the humanity of the other.  – Sharon Eckstein

Being relational is a shared connected space where you are open to listening and respecting with patience, grace, curiosity, and hope.  It is not a competition.  –  D.G. Mawn

Being relational is a sharing paradigm, affirming connectedness and unity.  It energizes and adds creativity.  The co-creativity is in the interaction.  It is about curiosity, kindness, humility, strength, an ethic of care, a process of how we engage.  It isn’t instrumental to get something from someone.   – Susan Brooks

One of the keystones to this concept is to remember that every interaction is a negotiation, and improving our ability to negotiate or resolve a conflict from a posture of being relational can lead to better outcomes, better health, and more satisfaction for the clients as well as the practitioner. 

A relational perspective will help lawyers move beyond the crisis of professionalism and will provide them with a framework for exploring practical ways to improve the quality of their work, their satisfaction with their work and their contribution to their communities, and as a result, more effectively serve clients, the legal system and the public interest.

Being relational offers a path to you, and those with whom you are working, to being happier, healthier and more content. And isn’t that one reason why we chose this career path?  —Linda Warren Seely