IQ Meets EQ Podcast

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Ep 45 Look for the 'YES!'

by Jacqui Brauman
December 9th 2020

In this episode, Jacqui interviews another pioneering lawyer, Zinta Harris. 25 years ago, Zinta’s very first case was a bitter estate battle that ended in court.

She saw first-hand how fight... More

Welcome to the I. Q. Meets EQ podcast. I'm Jacqui Brauman, principal solicitor at T. B. A. Law and Ceo of legally wise women and I'm here with Ush Dhanak former corporate lawyer then head of HR and now an emotional intelligence coach. Good morning Morning Jackie, how are you going? I'm well, how are you? I'm good. A shame that the viewers can't see a video because Little Marsh has arrived. Um you're literally just over a week, but he made an appearance on the Queensland Law society panel. So cute. He has he's made an appearance there and he's made an appearance probably about seven of my zoom coaching sessions as well. So I think he's he's my little mascot. That's great. That's the benefit sometimes of zoom, isn't it? Because people get an insight into, you know, the cuteness that you have at home or other elements of life. It's good. Yeah, exactly how you been. Yeah, Good, good.

I also had a panel with the Law Institute of, remember how did yours go? Yeah, it was really well done. Um it was, I think your conference was a little bit the same. It was sort of more of a business development, well being sort of conference rather than really heavy, you know, legal updates. And so The panel was sort of towards the end and we talked about the silver lining of 2020 and it was just good fun. Good. Yeah, I found mine fascinating because I've never really, to be honest given much thought to elder law, it's not something you think about, right, well not until you have to, I guess correct and you, and just listening to all these questions that came up on the panel and you know what these lawyers are going through in this area of law is just being, was amazing. I just learned so much, so, so much and with your parents being overseas, I suppose you won't have the direct looking after responsibilities will, you know?

Exactly. Like I didn't even realize there was a whole looking specialist law around it and that lawyers do that, you know, a niche in it. Yeah, it's incredible. Like I was literally fascinated. I think I was as much as I was like, oh yeah, I gotta answer something on the panel. It was felt like I was sort of just listening as well and learning until the EQ question popped and I'm like, oh yeah, I better speak now. Yes. So yeah, you're getting exposure. And I think that you've got that gig from the podcast, which is amazing. You know, it was beautiful from the beautiful into actually who we're going to be listening to today shouldn't even told me until like afterwards. So, um, yeah, I just, that's awesome, awesome that we're getting, we're getting that exposure. Yeah, I didn't actually make the connection either because I didn't realize she was on your panel when you first started speaking about it until later and then I didn't tell you that I had done this interview were obviously listening to today. So Zinta is someone that um I became aware of maybe, you know, towards the middle of last year, I think, um in 2019 or so.

There's another woman really influential up in Queensland who's now actually appointed to the um the court. She's a family lawyer and she won a women in Law award and she got up and in her speech um she was just, she talked about the tiredness and the burden and the burnout and all those things in an acceptance speech and it was just, it sort of went a little bit viral and then, yeah, she's sort of women's centers network, but Zinta is an estates lawyer, not a family lawyer. And so I got the link to Zinta and realized, well, you know, they think alike because they're friends. And then Zinter started putting out training in collaborative practice, which is completely changing the approach of disputes. And so I'm like, oh yeah, I'll jump on board with that.

So the very first training she had for victoria, I did that this year. Yeah. And so Zinta sort of recreated herself into doing the exact kind of law she wants to do in the way she wants to and trying to help others see as well and retrain the legal industry for those who want to do it differently. Yeah, I'm really inspired by her. I mean, what a high achiever, right? That's the way I think of when I, when I listened to her and I thought that before even listened to the podcast, like just when I met her and yeah she's just so with it you know one of those people that just go with it. Yes, yes, there's no other way to explain it, you know? And I think she's got such, she's just got everything sorted in terms of she's been really clear about what she wants, she's got a really good balance, She's got really high self awareness about what works for her, you know? Um and I think she mentioned it on the podcast but also at the panel that you know she sets her hours that suits her and her lifestyle and I think yeah she's she's amazing.

She's just yeah, she's got it all together. One of those I wonder if the house is as clean as I imagined it to be. Let's let our listeners have a listen then too. Good afternoon Zinta, Good morning, how are you back in the twilight zone? We are. Isn't it strange still that we have a different time zone between the Eastern States. It is strange but I saw a story recently about how I thought we were the backward ones because I've come from Canberra originally growing up so I was very used to daylight savings and I could never understand why the Queenslanders, I didn't want it but now I heard there was a study actually saying that it's not good for your health to move time zones around like that. So I thought that was quite interesting. Anyway, I am still a strong advocate for daylight. So let me just like those long evenings. Yes, yes, yes, so you mentioned Canberra tell us about where you grew up and what you wanted to be when you were a little girl.

Oh my lord, okay, so I did grow up in Canberra and we spent my early childhood up until I was about 8, 12 years old in Canberra. So that is where I grew up. Look, I don't think that I ever knew what I wanted to be when I grew up because the perpetual question that I always annoyed my darling mother with was what am I going to do with my life? And I genuinely don't think I ever really had a clear picture on what that was going to be. And I was even as a younger teenager, as I was going through high school, I was quite good at all of those things and academic pursuits came easily. I was also very much into ballet dancing and contemporary dance, sing and dance and creative arts and performing on stage in drama was part of what I loved to do, you know?

But I guess, you know, my parents, a refugee family that came to Australia after World War II and so they always instilled in me to things and they said, you know, the two things that can never be taken away from you in life are your education and your faith. And so those two things were always kind of put four front and center. And even though we were never brought up in a very religious family, but it was and I came to my faith, my personal faith Much later in my life in my sort of late high school, early 20s years, it was very much this, you know, focus on education. So I never really thought too much that my creative pursuits were, you know, and that's not because my parents didn't encourage it because they absolutely did. They were always you know when I when I completed high school I completed with what was called a 9 90 T school which is your kind of top you know, you know, I could do anything that I wanted to do in life and yet I didn't know what I wanted to do.

So I actually enrolled in physiotherapy and then I deferred for a year and I worked for six months and then I traveled for six months because I overseas I just needed, I'm that typical gap year person. I was so clueless on what I wanted to do and it was literally sitting on a train between I think it was Munich and Florence where I was flicking through, you know the old we used to never nothing was online of course. So I had traveled with the tone that was the University of Queensland became like this, you tack guide things honestly. And I started at a and I just flicked right through the whole book until I came to law and I guess I'd always done debating at school and I quite enjoyed that. And I think innately I was also one of those kids that would say, but that's not fair mom, you know. Oh and my Lord, my sister would tell a story about as a child, we used to go to like a clubhouse and we'd get a packet of chips and we had to share it, you know, and she would sit there with like I'd get the chip out and then I put the other chip on top and make sure that it was just exactly, it was equal and even and fair.

So I mean clearly I had this fairness there. So I think really law was kind of where I started, you know the study and I actually did Science and law at the beginning of my studies and never completed my science degree. But that's where it all began. So I never really knew what I wanted to be when I grew up just kind of went for a swim in an ocean and found my way. Well that's brilliant. I think that's what so many of us do do and then you find that you're actually good at what you the path you set out on. Yeah, I think so. I mean, you know, I think it comes down to much of the experience that we have when we come out of law school and into workplaces, many of my friends who were equally passionate and excited about the prospect of a career in law, you got chewed up, munched up and spat out by larger firms, which was, you know, I mean, that's kind of what it was years ago when we started law, I was fortunate enough to start in a very small practice in a general practice and it kind of fell in, I fell into that role really because it was again not what, you know, it's who, you know, and this practitioner, I think it was actually my, my parents in law were gardeners at their house and so when he found out that I was graduating and I had graduated halfway through the year because I've done this science thing, I got picked up to do a speedy trial in an estates matter.

So I had luxury, pure luxury. Like you see in the movies, you know, we've just been able to work on one case, nothing but working it from go to whoa, but that was really the very first time I saw an estates matter go from start to trial and I saw firsthand the absolute devastation that that caused to that family, how awful it was to go to trial, you know, just all of the things that I now, you know I use is the passion that drives me to do something completely different. Yeah. So even from that first case, I suppose you could see the potential of what you can do as a lawyer, but you were already questioning um I suppose the outcomes and the process at that point. Yeah. Look, I think as a really young lawyer, you you do the things that you are told to do and you told you told that there are ways to do them and you do them and the best of your ability because you obviously you're trying to impress and you're actually dealing with someone's actual life.

And so I feel very responsible for doing your best and you know, the litigation process is a process that has been developed over hundreds of years. I mean, you know, it is the basis upon which, you know, our whole system, our judicial system is founded and so you know gather the need to gather evidence and the need to put it together in a um, in a way that third party unrelated decision maker can, you know, place a judgment over what is fair or right or reasonable in all of the circumstances is what we have to do. The trouble with that is that, you know, it's it's often black and white on pieces of paper, it's full of emotive issues that are difficult to translate and sometimes it translated terribly with very damaging consequences in affidavits or correspondence And then you've got the overlay of, you know, the utter fear and intimidation that it is for people to have to stand up in the court of law and actually give their evidence before a judge and others and then be subjected too intense cross examination by another party who wants to attack credit.

And it's so dehumanizing the entire process if we really step back and think about it. And so I guess yeah, early in my path, I guess I did sort of think to myself, surely there has to be a better way to do this. And I think I used that case and sadly others that made it that far as the war stories. I would tell my other clients coming in to be able to say, listen, you don't want to go there, believe me, you don't want to go there. And so I guess I intuitively became a solicitor keen to find the settlement solution as quickly as possible. Yeah. Mm mm mm mm mm mm mm. So tell us before we jump straight to that, what's your career path looked like? So this young eager lawyer doing the single case just like in suits or automobile, you've got one case, but then you actually promising. But yeah, that's showing my age.

But yeah, I loved automobile by the way, she was just this. But no look, yeah. So I started there and then I basically got offered a job to go forward into my articles with that firm and he was a general practitioner working in the city and so anything and everything came through the door. Yeah, well it was, it was also like just throw me in the deep end and you know, every single case it felt like that. And so I discovered that really what I needed was a good set of mentors and other practitioners that I could call on to speak to about these matters because whilst my boss was there and around, he was dealing with his own health issues at the time as well. So it was at times not available because I needed to learn how to lean on other people. So sometimes that was barristers and sometimes that was colleagues who would be available or offer their assistance and probably didn't expect me to ring, but I damn well, did you know so much of my law, I wasn't in my big firms, so I didn't get those big rotations that a lot of my other friends and university colleagues did, they went to these firms and they were put through these very specific programs and it was back in the day when we had two year articles which required us to, there was no practice, you know, of course that you could do in six months to get admitted quickly.

We all had to, for one of a better word, do our time for two years as article clerks in firms in some ways I lament that that has, that has left our practice, I think you just get so much wonderful experience and even if you have thrown into having to go up to court you at least can say I'll leave to appear your honor and it's kind of code for please go easy on me, but you know, it's just just get these amazing learnings and I think it's good that way. So I had this kind of smattering of all of this stuff at me early in my career and I guess I mentioned my boss at the time, he had a health condition and so he basically ended up looking to me as being his succession plan and that's what I was sadly though once we entered into partnership and I went through that whole process, he really wanted out quickly and wanted me to be able to buy him out quickly and so we actually very quickly ended up in a Pretty Yucky Partnership dispute that wasn't pretty and for a 29 year old um you know, I it wasn't easy, that's for sure.

So I kind of got through that, He exited and the and the firm became mine, but sadly along with that I had not, sadly I just had a lot of inherited a lot of what was already there, which means I inherited a lease, I inherited a number of staff and you know, I know that you know, what that's like in terms of having the mouths to feed and the stress of that and at 29 um you know I probably felt that more keenly and my husband by that stage was like tapping me on the shoulder for like when are we starting the kids, when are we, when are we doing that thing you know and I wasn't really interested in that for a while, you know for a long while but I had to look around for other options and so I did and that ended up resulting in another emerged with another firm. Um but equally only lost for another 15 months. It's all my problems apparently I think and it was a season that season for me was incredibly, it was like a safe harbor to be honest because it meant it meant I could merge a firm that was too big with another firm and then when I did emerged I could emerge as a very small myself another solicitor, bookkeeper.

Um and I could start a fresh from there and that was in hindsight the best thing that happened to me because then I could niche, I could let go of, I had personal injuries work that I didn't want to do and that stayed with that firm. And so it really meant that I could niche. Yeah and that is what I do and I snitched into will's and I've had a lot of business commercial work as well. I did those two credit stations. Well, yeah, I know. So I did my business credit specialist accreditation first and then the next year I backed it on with the succession accreditation. Yeah, I'm a little bit not well I had by then I had fallen pregnant and so I kind of like quickly get this thing done now, is it going to happen? So I set that exam, the second exam, eight months pregnant with my daughter. And that was, yeah, that was all kinds of interesting. But yeah, so I kind of just got those two under my belt before I started kids and um and then my my practice was really bad until I really discovered only a couple of years ago when my kids finally got through school.

Um I gave myself the time I say to really look at my life what my new horizon was going to be, what I wanted my next 10 or 15 years to look like and took a good hard look at myself and where I wanted to be and then realized that it's really where I want to be, is in this estate space and even mourn itched in this post death estate space. So a state administration and contested estates work. So the process of niche ng down has also been a really interesting one but one that aligns so totally with my values and my passion that it became easy to let it go. Yeah, I love that you, you talk about values so much and we started talking about values before we hit record and I'm like, wait, I want to talk about the values because as you said, like you did what you thought you should for a while and then you sort of nursed your business while you were also raising kids and then you're like, okay, what do I actually want, who am I, what are my values?

And I guess it's all come from that, which has been such an sometimes I think um it's lucky that we even get to explore those things so that we can do what we love. Absolutely, but we have to give ourselves the space to do that. And I joined the happy lawyer, Happy life club with Marissa Ray would, you know, thinking that, you know, I would just see what this thing was about because I wasn't a deeply unhappy lawyer when I joined that club, I was a happy lawyer already, I enjoyed the work I did. Um and but it wasn't, I think I must have joined a few, only a few months after she had started that program and then she held a retreat that was a much smaller event than it is nowadays, but it was, I think it was about 30 of us at King's Cliff where we took two days out of our practice um and really kind of had the opportunity to focus on our business and on what mattered to us and the concepts of niche ng down and doing Those things that were super, super important to us as humans, was kind of the beginning of that process.

So it was very much and I remember sort of spending that because I think it was around November one year and then over the Christmas break, but I always close my firm downfall because it's the only time that I can actually have, I just remember really churning that through and it being a big process. I was asking even my family and my friends and close colleagues who I trust and whose opinion matters to me. I think that's the other thing, you've got to be careful who you let speak into your life, let me say that too. I had lots of things spoken into my life by other people who potentially melt well meaning, but they very much held me back. So when you're doing this kind of values, reassessment of your whole person, you need to take a look back at your, you know, your journey and what things have been most important to you. Um but you equally need to take um be able to be brave enough to ask others to give you a critique, I guess of your strengths and your weaknesses and what you're good at and what you're not so good at to really get a good understanding of where your talent lies, you know, and there's a parable in the bible that talks about, you know, having your talent we are we are we are required to multiply it.

We're not allowed to bury it and we're not allowed to put it in the bank to earn interest. The things we have to multiply the talent and to multiply the talent requires risks. But we first have to know what the talent is within ourselves and until we spend the time in that reflection way, we won't ever know what the talent is. And that was my problem at the very beginning. I never knew what I wanted to do with my life. Right? What am I going to do? My life? Mom was always my question. So, you know, because I never gave myself the space and perhaps I never had the emotional intelligence from the experiences in my life. You know, that gave me those, those perceptions about life and what's what is actually important. You don't go through some crap if you don't go through some difficult things. Um, you know, you just don't necessarily have your, your life honed in a way that requires you to focus on the things that matter the most because, um, you know, it's all too interesting out there and you float around a bit and when some of those crises that happen in your life, it makes you do that.

So yeah, it's really important to take time out. So I always say to people, you know, I don't think it was opposed recently on one of the facebook pages and I've lost my mojo, I need it back. And I sort of say, well if it's serious mojo loss, then what you need to do is really take yourself out. You've got to ask yourself those big, big questions. What is draining me? What is, what am I doing in my life that doesn't align align with the core of who I am and what I've been put on this planet for all got a purpose. We do, we've got a purpose and we've all been made so individual. And if we don't find what that magic is, then the world is going to be, you know, deprived of that. Everything that's also deep and for a moment there I almost cried um mhm And you're right too, when you're young and you're pretty much good at anything you touch.

It's hard to narrow down what is my talent because I can do anything I want to do. Yeah, yeah, exactly. That's so true. And I think that is it when you, when you do, when you are reasonably reasonably good at things and that's what I always found I did what mom would bring these mom was doing professional development. So she'd bring these, you know, testing all of the things, all of the things, you know, Myers Briggs everything I've done every test under the sun and always come out like 50, 50 on something. She, it was used to frustrate her to no end. But it's just one of those things that I never, and I always used to describe myself as in my early lawyer career and probably even until the last few years of my legal career, I used to describe myself as a frustrated creative, I no longer describe myself as that because I see what I do. So as such now are such a creative way of practicing the law and it's touching into all of those human things, those human skills of, of helping people, you know, so many of us lawyers do that too.

We come into law because we want to help people, we don't even know what that necessarily means. But you know, when you have those goose bump moments where your clients, you know, it's so incredibly genuinely appreciative because you haven't just dealt with the legal issue, you've dealt with the human issue for them. That has been the very most important thing to their, to their life moving forward, then, you know, you've actually made a positive impact and you absolutely have helped a person through something. But yeah, I think, I think finding what that talent is an elusive thing sometimes, but it does come and as you say, yeah, you need to give it the time as well, don't you to look at it. And when you take one week's leave here and there, it's certainly not going to be enough time to do some deep soul searching, you know, and you will and it's a journey and you do get affirmations, you know, I think that's the other thing. You'll sort of say to someone, I think I found my thing and then they'll go, yes, Jackie, you're so designed for that.

Like that is perfect for you, right? And you'll get those affirmations from people, you'll feel that yes, come back into your life for that stuff. So yeah, that's cool. Look for that. Yes. Um, yeah. But not only have you found the exact sort of clients that you want to work within the client work that you're doing, you're now changing the legal profession as well. So I'm doing it's a very slow turn, let me say what To tackle that one. Oh, look, I like I said, I think I just came to this realization that there had to be a different way and a better way to do this. And I guess because of hanging out with the happy lawyer, happy life group, they are so many of them family lawyers and that's where I really sort of discovered this concept of collaborative practice which is effectively just, you know, lawyers working with financials and communications coach is to help people solve the problem in a far more holistic way than lawyers ever do.

So it's just really a team based resolution model that was used, it's used in divorce. And I was sitting there listening to this concept thinking, well, surely this is being done in the States, You know, like there has, it has to be being done surely. So I kind of thought to myself, I think I even remember at the end of that retreat saying to Clarissa, so I'm going to basically do collaborative practice for wills and estates, so where can I go get training? And she goes, oh well you can train with me to do the collaborative practice side of things. No, I'm like, well where's the wills and estates training? And she was like, I don't even know. But he had talked to pauline. Tesla who's like the guru of all things. Well, stu webb was the one who started in America, but pauline's, you know, also a very early adopter and one of steve's crew for one of the better word. Um, and I reached out to her and I said, who's doing it, where can I get this training? And she sort of put me in touch with a lady in the States nancy ross who had just actually started doing the work as well.

And I was just amazed to discover that no one had thought to do it in the estates context. And so really I was left with this Kind of thinking, well if no one's doing it, then I think this might be my thing, the thing for the next 10 or 15 years, you know, I was saying, you know, I was really looking to what is going to be um what I leave behind, I want to leave my world a better place, that's how I want to leave the world. Um and if if I can do that for the law in this way, well that's what I do and it's a 10 to 15 year project, I'm not expecting that change the world in a couple because I think our legal profession, as I said, has been steeped in so many traditional ways of doing things for hundreds of years and it's not easy to move a profession out of thinking a certain way and doing things the way that have always been done and making them good money doing it that way.

Well right, But the thing is I don't think it has to be a money thing, I mean at the end of the day the value, it's just a way of practicing differently. And I think again the thinking in the happy lawyer, Happy life club, the whole reason for that, the existence of that movement is because our profession really sadly is highly represented in suicides. Too many people drink too many people have, you know drug issues, there are the depression rates in our profession are enormous compared to others and you've got to ask the question why and the answer for me, I think a lot of the time comes from the fact that we shoulder responsibility for our clients problems and because we are effectively engaging in battle in aggression. Gladiatorial win or lose at all costs. Will not lose at all cost but win at all costs mentality.

And that daily raising of all of the things that go on in our biology every single day, all of the adrenaline, all of the agro, all of the negativity that that puts into our actual physical system every day takes a toll on people over time. And you know, we very sadly because even though we recently had a member of our judiciary profession, you know, succumbed to that awful situation and I think we need to recognize that as well. And that's the reason. Another reason. It's not just for our clients, it's for our own sake and it's for the future of our profession. Um, and particularly the women in our profession. I think that's another thing and I don't like to, to focus much on the differences in terms of gender for our profession, but I think we lose too many of our women. Um, but it's very intelligent.

Very and that, you know, incredibly, um, you know, adapt lawyers to to it. And again, why? Mhm. Because because we don't the practice of the law does not align with the way that we want to solve problems. Very much so. Um, and it's the way we're approaching it is not sustainable, right? It's just not, it's not sustainable. Mm hmm. It's all very profound. And you right. So, I can't help it. I just wanted you started talking on this Jackie and you're going to have to come on up. No, it's brilliant. I think well, you're definitely, you know, in 10 to 15 years you're going to have um you know, quite a few 100 of collaboratively trained, great network of people who will want to do things differently. But also because we're doing it now at the pointy end, for example, the three young girls in my firm who are, you know, first year trainee and still studying.

Mhm. That is how they're going to learn how to do it through me. Like they're not going to learn the other way. And so the next generation, there's a hell of a lot of hope. They're absolutely Jackie. And you know, we have stood on the shoulders of so many trailblazing women before us. You know, it wasn't only it was only a generation or two ago That, you know, women were so incredibly underrepresented in law schools and in the profession, we are now well represented. In fact, I think we are above the 50% mark. So we need to be the shoulders on who the next generation stand and we need to make it so that it is a different sustainable practice, but it's not just for women. I mean, I have men lining up to my trainings expressing this. Um you know, I think you get when you come into your later career time, you really are, you just get so jaded and so tired of the fight and the game playing and the positioning that goes on, um, for no good reason.

And I think people just want to do better and don't want to be in that space anymore. So it's not just women, it is men too, and it's so very important for the longevity of our practice, but it's not for everyone. You know, we're going to need to have the people who still want to do the fight because sometimes the fight is needed. Um, yeah, so hopefully, so I'm not going to ask the usual question about what advice you'd give to your younger self then, because you've already given us so much profound advice, I would say to myself because the thing is this, I think when I started my practice and I was in all of that hell of the partnership stuff, I just wish that I had the guts to back myself sooner. Like at 21, I wouldn't have, like I was only just a university student. And so I think at 21 you need to remain curious. You need to remain open to trying different types of law until you find your groove.

Um, and so don't, you know, don't necessarily go into the law thinking that that's that's what, that's what it's going to be, but also back yourself and know what it is, that that sits right with your values and do it And make sure that you voice that early. Because if you end up doing law, that doesn't work with your values and you doesn't sit right with you, you will end up on the trash heap at the end of your career and you don't want to do that. So just, you know, your values, use your voice early back yourself and make sure that you're going with the flow of your core. That is right for you to stay curious. Always stay curious, learn new things. Never think, you know enough. Sorry, I had to get that. No, it's correct. Fantastic. Um, but what I wanted to ask as well was around, um, the people who are coming to you, um, who are obviously, as you said, sort of sick of doing it that way and they're carrying the load and they've got to find some way of doing something different.

Um, why is it that? Or how have you created a safe place for us to be able to come and tell you these things when we can't speak about it to anyone else in the industry. Um, and like you said with Claressa as well, she's also creating this safe little pocket in the industry. Um, And, you know, my career of nearly 15 years I've almost always avoided other lawyers because it's not safe. Mm hmm. What are we, what are we doing wrong there? And what are you doing? Question around and say, well what did I do to, what did I do? What attracted you to come into into it? Well, I guess you said exactly what I was thinking. You were vulnerable enough and gutsy enough to go out there and say we need to be doing this better. Um And as I told you, um I found you through Ameri because Ameri said the exact same thing on a stage.

Yeah, exactly. And I think that is that is what it is. We it is. I had an interesting conversation with pauline Tesla just yesterday on the zoom and and she said, you know it is the pain points for a lawyer to when they realize that they're just tired of doing this this way all the time. They see they see the blood under the court door too many times. And they realize that that is not how they want to practice. It is until that realization happens. Or even it could be an early career lawyer that looks ahead and says, damn, that's what I'm not gonna do that to myself. I am not going to work myself into the ground. And I think that is what the millennials have over us. They've just kind of gone, You know what, it's on my terms and you know, I need my lifestyle, I need my health and my happiness and all of those things are actually super important to me.

So they they're coming into it with a different view. So I think until you actually feel it's like any change, isn't it? Until you actually feel the pain of being where you are is too much that you're willing to make the leap of faith that's needed to step into something new. You won't you won't do that. So you know, it is that isn't it? And it's speaking that language, I don't know what I've done to create it. Like I said, all I've really done is spoken what is my truth? And you know, there are those who are following, there are others who aren't and who are, you know, but that's okay. Like I say, I'm never really this is not for everybody and I'm not certainly suggesting that doesn't want everyone well we don't and this is it. And the very types of people that I'm calling it called to this work are going to be people who have got a deep emotional intelligence and a greater understanding as well as an intelligence and a traditional intelligence because this work is not as you've heard me say, it's not sitting around in a circle holding hands and singing kumbaya, it's not easy.

It's not peaceful by any stretch of the imagination. It's highly emotive, you are dealing with conflict, you are dealing with trying to help families resolve deep seeded, you know issues. So it is you the skills that are required to do that without doing damage to yourself or to your clients are deeply important powerful skills and sadly our profession is not taught that the fact that negotiation is taught in a horse trading, you know, traditional way at our law schools and that's changing. So I'm not having a dig at the law schools, but you know, this should be being taught this type of dispute resolution and mediation and just learning to ask clients what they want and what's actually important to them as humans outside the legal framework.

You know, we will then achieve those amazing human centered, long lasting um, settlements that will allow people to move on and live on their lives, live on their lives without looking back at it and going well, that was just bloody awful. And that scar that I will never recover from getting another horror story out there that they tell friends of friends. We need to turn this, turn the thing around some of the new stories clients tell others and say, hey, you don't have to do it this way. We did it this way. But that's what I want to know. So you've talked as well about our own well being, how on a daily basis or however frequently do you make sure that you're okay? Do you have like a regular check ins with yourself or something that you regularly do to stay on track to stay positive? Yeah, yeah. Look, I do, I think I say I'm not very good at good at it sometimes because my home life, I have a child with special needs.

So our mornings are like sometimes we feel like we've summited Mount Everest by the time we get him to school. But um, and then we kind of come home. But look, the one thing I do do is I don't start work until 10 AM every day so that I work till six PM, but I, I don't start working until 10 a.m. So I make sure that every single day once I have summited said Mount Everest and returned home, I have a breakfast, I have a coffee. I sit and I take a minute for myself. I absolutely do that every single day. I think I blog rather than journals. So I do sometimes do that. I have another blog called catching a curveball, which I, which I've actually been, I've been neglecting little back into it now, but it is where I write my, some of my stuff and talk about, you know, talk about the stuff that is um, you know, the difficulties in life and how we deal with them. And I think doing that. I also do a monday mindset posts that I do on instagram and some people say to me, you know, that's really helpful to me and I'm going, I'm doing it for me.

I'm doing it for me as much as anybody else. But it is, it's like the way that I set up my week, it's a thought that I've had through the week that I've let filter through and percolate and, and then it's an idea and I want to encourage others with it. So I do that. But I, you know, I'm not as good as taking myself out for walks as I should do. I need to prioritize more time for myself. We all, we all know where we get to their, you know, look, I think I do do those things on a daily basis and breathe, breathe, breathe, breathe deep, Big, deep breaths and I go and take my shoes off and put my feet in the grass if I feel I need to and look up at the sun because you need to do that sometimes to 10 minutes it takes that's beautiful and much better to be doing that in Queensland than in victoria because six months of the year, you probably freeze your feet off. That might give you a nice little Yes, Yes. No, you're being from Canberra, you still got that cold in your bones, I'm sure.

Well that's right. I know I feel the cult so badly. I mean I was, I'm sitting here, I mean it's 27° and I've got, I'm pathetic. Yeah. No, absolutely. Look, and when I say breathe, I think it's also for me, it's that's that's part of my prayer life as well, you know, I'm exhaling the stuff I need to let go of and I'm inhaling the things that I need to you know the life giving things Yeah yeah lovely looks to, I said half an hour would go quick so it has of course I want to thank you so much for your time. I know absolutely delightful Jackie, thank you so much for inviting me and I'm so very excited to see where your journey goes from here. I'm absolutely thrilled. So it's the projects as always. Yes, yes, yeah, but thank you again, thanks so much for giving up your time and coming onto the podcast and I'm sure a lot of people will get a lot out of this, I can't wait for the conversations that arise.

Well it's been my absolute pleasure, I'm always happy to talk about this stuff, we could talk about it till the cows come home. So in a way I suppose this interview was a little bit selfish again and you know, being able to organize these interviews is something that I'm really enjoying because I'm getting to speak deeper to people that I really admire and ask some questions that I wouldn't otherwise ask and so being able to speak more deeply with Zinta was just such a pleasure for me and then re listening to it again and and I'll do it a few more times I think because I just want to absorb that goodness Yeah and I think it's really clever how she's really merged you know she found what Hernych wants, she found what she really wanted to do but then she took it to that next level right with the training. Yes. Yeah yeah I really appreciated that conversation with her as well around well you know it's not really obvious what your you know geniuses or what you're really good at because you're actually pretty damn good at a lot of things you know you can choose and um and I think that the choice is also really important that she that we focus on the fact that yeah she niche down but she chose exactly what she wanted to niche down on which is just not you know following your genius or whatever people tell you.

Yeah and I think it's really smart of how you know she was able to you know I don't know if I'm a bit confused now whether it was in the panel discussion or in the podcast but I think it's a bit of both but where you know she's able to be really clear on the type of work, she like some type of work she doesn't and then build really good collaborations and partners so that they can take the work that she doesn't want to do right? Um So I think it was this wasn't a panel but she was saying like you know the drafting side of things and you know it's just certain things that she's like well just don't enjoy it? It's not that I'm not good at it, right, I just don't want to do it, don't enjoy it and that's okay, you know, um and really just focus and get more of the work that she does enjoy doing. But yeah, it got me thinking again, as most of our people do in our podcast about, you know, how that enables us to think differently about our business, doesn't it around, do we do certain things just because we have to order, we can release down, can we say no to things, can we just go, I'm going to reinvent a little bit about how this is done.

So yeah, she totally got me thinking about that last night, hasn't he seen, you've been transformative for your business to yeah, it has, it has. But almost to the point like when I was thinking about it yesterday, I was sort of just thinking, oh my God, what am I going to do next year? Like you have to top it top this year or something, not even top it, but sort of match it. I don't want to like go back there was that moment of calm until next year. Um then I thought, oh yeah, we've got a book coming out next year, that's right, We're gonna launch launch and yeah, leverage, leverage, you know, bigger and better clients. But yeah, there is that as well, right. Is how do we how do we constantly evolve? I mean, what about you? How how are you going to evolve next year? I'm sure you've thought about that as well. Um hmm. Well, I mean after the interest training, that's certainly something that I want to be doing more of, I already know that I hate litigation and I am now grappling with whether I actually turn away litigation um, and only do it if it goes down the collaborative path.

And in fact I'm at a crossroads with that because yesterday something that I was trying to do collaboratively now has a lawyer engaged by one of the parties that is completely traditional and really quite aggressive and I just, I feel so much compassion and almost so sorry for the person that I'm representing that I don't want to send her to someone else, but I also have to think about me and my involvement in something I'm getting pulled into that I don't want to be part of, I don't want to be part of making this worse for her. But at the same time if I sent her off to a more traditional lawyer, they're probably going to charge her far more than I would as well. So I'm, you know, I'm torn. Yeah, and I think, you know that you're driving really well in this space, but I think the biggest thing that I still find and you know, it's interesting and it's really well as well. But so a friend of mine went to a family lawyer and she did the typical just google someone close to the office where she works um to get some advice on separating.

Um And so she was telling me about the story that says she went there and she said the biggest takeaway I got she goes I was so confused because they didn't explain what the process was, So they just spoke in legal terms, they shoved her in a room, they didn't ask permission, but they had another lot of trainee lawyer there as well sitting there listening in. Um And she said, my biggest takeaway was them telling me that I can't eat meals with my family at the table. And they made such a big deal of this by saying that she had to prove that she's buying her own food and cooking her own meals. Now she has uh an elderly parent that lives with them and she says yeah, but my parents would make food for the family, so how would that work? And she's like, no you can't do that, Can't do that if you want to separate and you want your 12 month separation date as this, you can't do that. And she's like, what are you talking about? Talk about separation date, there was just no concept of this is the process. She was all over the shop in explaining it. Um started asking random questions about how much do you earn and trying to do a bit of an analysis on the financials at the same of the first meeting, like, and then she's like, I just don't know what to do anymore.

It's almost to the point of she's like now scared to go and see anyone else because she's like, I just don't know what's what and where to start and and so many lawyers are not taking a step back and looking at situations from the point of view of the person coming in and this pressure of and it was a clock watch. So she even got told, right, we've got five more minutes to the end of this consultation. Is anything else you want to know? And then at the end of it, okay, so $3,000 goes in trust and um you know, that would be used up until we charge you again. I don't really know how much it's gonna cost you. You're even talking like I imagine the lawyer, like you've gone monotone and really fast with your speech. Yeah, it's awful. It's awful, awful experience, you know? Yeah. One of the key things that came to my training with Zinta really was um how um you know, how we're taught as lawyers to, you know, do those initial appointments and no, we're not taught to be compassionate or be clear very often.

Um we're really taught to start positioning people from the beginning and set them up to litigate. Whereas we could completely do it differently and it wouldn't necessarily end up in litigation at all, and it all comes down to how we approach it. It's not even their anger or angst that we have to worry about because quite often we feel like, well it's the client that is driving the, you know, they just want to hurt the other person. But no, that's probably how we started it off in the first appointment. I totally agree. I think, you know, with my friend, her whole purpose of going, it took so much courage to find someone and walk into the lawyers itself was to gain information and the whole focus was on make sure you prove that you eat separately. Like that was literally the main that was one thing that she remembered that that the lawyer kept harping on about. Um but I think you're right. I mean, there is no excuse nous in it, right?

There's no compassion, there's no and I'm not saying it's a counseling session that you want to go into. You want to go in and get the facts. I get that. But there's also an element of, you know, kindness and compassion and checking in. That's right. There's also the element of um working out the personalities involved and the strategy about what is going to work best for this situation for these people because, you know, we're dealing with humans here, We're not dealing with paperwork and and financial statements. Yeah, that's right. That's right. And I think also, I don't, I don't know how this would work or to be honest. But the other thought I had was, you know, my friend had questions around additional support services that are related to, you know, the matter. But it would be amazing if they could say, you know what, okay, you've got these kids over vulnerable age here. A list of counselors that, you know, we recommend or you could use or don't be allowed to do that or not.

But there was just, I thought there was just none of that support mechanism system in place. We can, we can give like a list of local options or something like that. If we're not directing to one particular place and we're not getting a kickback from any of it. Yeah, of course. We can just give a list of resources. Mm hmm. Yeah. You know what send your friend to Ameri Kade. Remember her. She was about what I thought of a good divorce. Right. Yeah. Yeah. Mm hmm. Yeah, I see him pop up on linkedin a fair bit as well. Yeah. Yeah. She's doing a million things. Um, as most of our high achieving guests are. Yeah. Yeah. So, and it's funny just how the two day training with Zinta has just redirected my focus and opened up possibilities because I knew that what I was doing wasn't working for me or for clients and I was trying to do things in a way. But I didn't have the tools to all the insight into how, what impact I was having.

So yeah, She's amazing. Yeah. Yeah. She is. Yeah, She's great. Mm hmm. Um and she sort of flipped it on me towards the end of that interview too, didn't she? Because she made me answer my own questions um, about how she's creating a safe space. Because I asked her, you know, how you consciously are creating a safe space for like minded lawyers. And she's like, I don't know, I'm just being me. How do you think it's safe? And look there are a couple of small pockets in the industry, but the majority of time when you're in a group of lawyers and this is why I don't particularly like associating or socializing with lawyers is that you get in a room and it's all about competition and positioning yourself and talking about your cases and I couldn't think of anything worse. Yeah, exactly. There's actually a really good question on the panel actually related to that topic. Really nice guy.

You know, just someone who's new to the legal industry. And his question was how do I prevent, you know, these bad habits from seeping in when I'm such a young lawyer that has a lot to prove, you know, um that was such a good question. And you know, it's a really hard one to answer as well apart from, you know, the usual, you know, be mindful of you know what habits and set your boundaries and all of that sort of stuff. But I answered it from that point of view, from the point of view and center's response from a legal point of view was surround yourself with people that you know are good mentors that can support you with that. Um and I think if you don't have that early on you can fall into those bad habits right? Because you feel you do have to prove something. Yeah, that's right. Um it's not only feeling you have to prove something, you do have to prove your competence and that you can do the work to a degree. And um it's interesting that that came from a young man actually because I tend to think that You know young men automatically get more authority and credibility than young women.

Like I think that you know young women going into the law at 22 and 23 have to wait five years until anyone will stop calling them good girl. Yeah, yeah. And I think you know what was really apparent and I guess for him as well to have asked that question was the burnout and the fatigue. You know, all the compassion fatigue that these people are feeling and he you know, he could really hear that and see that you know, one woman said, you know it's easy for people to say, oh just work less And she goes about how, when the work is there, how do you work less when there's when there's just stuff that needs to get done over heads home. Exactly. Yeah, because again, I suppose in in the estates area um and particularly, you know in pre planning, you know, we're doing things at relatively low cost because people struggle to see the value in having good planning before things go to ship.

Like if we prevent tens of thousands of dollars of issues later, they're not going to know that because we did a good job up front and only charged 1000 bucks for it. Yeah. So anyway, all sorts of issues fascinating though, isn't it? It does, it just makes you think, you know how the whole industry needs to shift and you know, I feel that it is, I feel like every time we talk to some of these people on our podcast, you know, and how they are doing things differently and we've spoken to so many of them, you go it is shifting a little bit by little bit, isn't it? And Yeah, I think so, but I mean we're also finding the ones that we we No, we're shifting things and so, you know, if there's 500 lawyers out there that are starting to do things differently, you know, there's another 40,000 that aren't you know what we almost need to find one that is more traditional and interview them, you can do that. I'll do that. I think that would be so cool right from their point of view why they are the way they are.

It would be fascinating. I'm not sure if you're going to get much insight there or that they're going to see that there's any issue with how they do things, but just to think about why they are the way that they are, why they do it that way, why they are so traditional. I think it'd be awesome. Maybe when we open it up to males next year, we could find one. Why don't we automatically think lawyers, we want a really traditional male lawyer that doesn't doesn't think the way that we think it would be very challenging. Yeah. Let's see if you know someone will ask her the interview that's controversial. Yeah, I mean, it wasn't, it was a pleasure. And for anyone who wants to continue that conversation, we would absolutely love to hear from you. And I mean, Zinta loves to hear from people all the time too. Yeah. Yeah. Just like us. She's really active on linkedin as well. So that's a great place to be and her firm is resolved.

State Law, but otherwise, where can people find you? I'm an academy dot com dot au great. And now on instagram, I'm now officially on instagram. Yeah, I'm well, you can find us both at like you meets eq as well. Um all the episodes are posted there. So if you want to comment directly on an episode, that's a great place and we can start a conversation there too. But otherwise you can find me at T. B. A. Law. There you go. So we're coming up to christmas too. So next week, next episode rather, Um, we've got a special one for you. It's just gonna be ocean. I recapping the year. Um, the that's right. The drama of 2020. We need, we need, we definitely didn't after that one. Yes. Yes. Um, so yeah, I look forward to having you all with us then. Mm hmm.

Ep 45 Look for the 'YES!'
Ep 45 Look for the 'YES!'
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