Mohandas Gandhi is well known and even revered for pioneering the use of non-violent passive resistance for large-scale political purposes. Less well known is his early career as a London-trained lawyer, captured in this remarkable photograph.
He rejected “business as usual” adversarial litigation, in favor of looking to heal the roots of conflict in the hearts of his clients experiencing personal disputes. It was in the course of fighting as a lawyer for the civil rights of Muslim and Hindu Indians in South Africa that he was given a copy of Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience to read while in jail. Out of this grew Gandhi’s development of new techniques for mass nonviolent civil disobedience that became his life work.
We at ILI are putting together a gallery of contrarian heroes of the legal profession who understood, long before mediation or ADR had names, that the highest and deepest calling of a lawyer working in the realm of personal disputes is to heal breaches in the social fabric that manifest as legal issues but gather their destructive force from fractured human relationships.
We begin with Gandhi, and we invite you to send us quotations and links to your personal favorite legal heroes in the evolution of what we now call Integrative Law. We’ll add those we especially like to the ILI Gallery.