Mark Perlmutter is back for the third post in his six-part series on law school lessons that are not advisable for a healthy home life. Mark is a Texas trial lawyer turned counselor who helps individuals (many of whom are former lawyers) have better relationships. Welcome back, Mark!
Problem solving is a crucial attribute of the well-rounded lawyer. How many times have we been told that our clients want a lawyer who sees a matter not just as a case to be tried, but as a problem to be solved? Yet this attribute, too, can get us in trouble at home.
I can’t even name how many times I’ve heard spouses say that when they raise a complaint about the difficulties of life, they’re not looking for a solution, but simply an ear to hear or a shoulder to lean on. In this context, problem solving may come across as criticism, blaming, or at least, misattunement.
What’s needed is simple listening, with empathy.
This is not to say that problem-solving has no place in coupledom any more than listening with empathy has no place in client relationships. It is to say put first-things-first in both contexts: listen with empathy, be sure the other person feels heard, check to see if the other person is ready to problem-solve, and only then, proceed.
Thanks, Mark. Looking forward to your fourth piece!
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A former Texas Trial Lawyer, Mark Perlmutter, MA, JD now helps individuals and couples to have more satisfying business and intimate relationships. He also works with couples and families of people with substance abuse issues, mediates, and is an Adjunct Professor of Law at UC Hastings and the University of Texas School of Law. He can be contacted via email or phone at 415-857-4065.
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And check out the rest of the posts in this series:
- Six Things Learned in Law School That Shouldn’t Be Tried at Home
- Don’t Try This Law School Trick at Home: How to Squelch Emotions
- How to Drink: A Skill That May Have Been Pre-Learned and Finely Honed in Law School
- Six Things We Learned in Law School: How (NOT) to Compromise
- Six Thinks We Learned in Law School: How to Give Advice
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