Have you ever sat down to discuss death over dinner? Well, recently a group of Italian lawyers did just that. The special dinner formed part of a one and half day workshop called ‘Conscious Probate and Will, Learning to go beyond life’ held in Varese near Milan in July.
The workshop was facilitated by lawyer, Rhiannon Thomas (Milkwood Law) and Ninon van der Kroft who is an end of life educationist in a collaborative offering with Italian lawyers Maria Claudia Perego, Cristina Menichino and Marco Sala.
The workshop started with an introduction to Integrative Law, Conscious Contracts and the importance of values. Then the conversation turned to stories – law as storytelling, Rhiannon and Ninon’s personal stories, and how each person’s life-story impacts on how they see life and death.
The workshop creates a space in which lawyers can talk openly and explore their own relationship with death and feel comfortable with the emotions this evokes for them and their clients as they plan for when they die. It also aims to support lawyers to help their clients to engage more fully with the process of planning their financial and emotional legacy and how to create a legal or other type of document which serves their and their loved ones’ unique requirements. Over the course of their own journeys, Rhiannon and Ninon have developed various tools and strategies that can assist both lawyers and clients and they share these in the workshop.
The underlying rationale of the workshop is that if lawyers spend time reflecting on their own thoughts and feelings about life and death rather than seeing themselves as ‘the expert’ and separate from their client this makes them better able to manage their clients’ thoughts and feelings and work from a place of conscious connection.
The workshop was a profoundly moving and deep experience and one of the participants summed it up as ‘a wonderful life experience, something that should be done in some moment of everyone’s life.’
There are plans for a follow-up workshop in Italy as everyone felt that they wanted to do more and go deeper. Rhiannon and Ninon are available to offer similar workshops to lawyers in other countries. If you’d like to collaborate with them and bring this life-changing and deeply profound experience to lawyers in your area, then email Rhiannon Thomas on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rhiannon Thomas is a lawyer, consultant and facilitator. She has worked in academia, run her own law firm in South Africa, and most recently moved to the UK where she practices as an independent legal specialist. Her practice has become steadily more holistic, responding to her feeling that the traditional legal approach lacks a ‘human aspect. She is aligned with the global Integrative Law movement, and more recently is collaborating with other lawyers to build a ‘teal’ legal organisation.
Rhiannon lives in a small village in Oxfordshire where she loves taking long walks in nature.