I have lost a colleague to depression. Gordon Harris died Feb. 16, 2016. I wish I had known how much he was hurting, how much pain he was in. This world can be so difficult. He is not the first attorney I have known personally whose death was due to suicide. When someone dies in that manner, it impacts how everyone remembers them. I do not want that to be the case any longer. I want people to know how Gordon lived and realize that how he died does not define him. He was a good person, a kind and loving soul. Sensitive and caring. He was in charge of an office staffed entirely of women and they adored him. He was their knight in shining armor. He was not from their area and they took it upon themselves to teach him the ins and outs of small-town living.
At one time or another, everyone feels anger bubbling up. There is nothing wrong with experiencing anger. It is a normal response when a person senses a threat or a social or professional slight. We all get angry at our spouses, our kids, other lawyers, judges, the traffic and any number of things. Anger can be caused by external events, such as being angry at a specific person, or internal events, such as worrying about your personal problems.
Just exercise more. Eat right. Meditate. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Stop worrying so much.
A zero-sum game is a situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. For example, let’s look at your typical poker game. The first round of poker begins with each player placing a specific amount of money into the center of the table (the pot) based on how competitive they think their hand is compared with the other players. The game continues around the table until all players have either placed money into the center or folded. Once all money is placed, the players’ hands are revealed and the player with the winning hand takes the pot. That player’s gain is therefore equivalent to all other contributing players’ losses and the net gain for the group is zero.
The life of an attorney mediator can be somewhat lonely. Although co-mediation is occasionally used in domestic cases, most cases are mediated by one mediator. Many attorney mediators have a solo practice or practice in a small group setting. Even if an attorney mediator practices in a larger firm, the mediation practice is typically effectively segregated from the rest of the firm for practical and ethical reasons. Although some mediators ask participants to fill out an evaluation at the conclusion of the mediation, most mediators are left to wonder how the participants perceived them and whether their methods and techniques were effective. There is a trend in the United States to form “reflective practitioner groups” of mediators to help address these issues that can create a professional and emotional strain on mediators.
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