A Whole View of Holistic Law

logo-small-4screenHolistic law is not a term you hear used often but it’s one that Melissa Jaffe uses it to describe her law practice.  Melissa sat down with me for a “casual conversation” about Intellectual Property Law and I found that the holistic side of what she does in her law practice is very interesting.  When I think about the word ‘holistic’, I think of my wife taking me to Whole Foods and walking through the soap aisle, trying to figure out what’s holistic to get a natural more Zen approach to things.  Melissa sees it as taking into account what a person ultimately wants out of life, which helps her to brainstorm with clients in a way that allows them reach their business goals.  As an attorney and yoga instructor, she is able to infuse her knowledge of both areas to help clients make major business decisions.

Why Holistic?

Melissa has worked with individuals in business and oftentimes found that they weren’t even happy with their businesses. She believes that there was something that drew them to their business or endeavor and sometimes they were very, very successful entrepreneurs, but the joy was sort of sucked out of it for them.  She didn’t want to be in the category of the bad guy; the bad lawyer who kind of takes all the fun out of life. She really felt like there was another option, a way to pull things together for her clients so that they were enjoying life and business. Her approach became a sort of exchange of creativity because she feels there is no shortage of creative outlet and opportunity in this sort of tech world that we’re living in.

What about the law side?

Most would say that when it comes to the practice of law, it’s a very black and white area where it’s a thing of you have to do this, or this will happen to you, or you have got to protect this, or this will happen. A lot of times it is very mundane and it’s not really creative at all.

People were coming to Melissa, years ago more out of I fear asking  “what don’t I know and how am I going to mess myself up”? She finds there’s less of that right now, and maybe because of the way that she portrays what she does. She wouldn’t say that that law is necessarily boring, or black and white. “I find it to be, especially now, very, very sort of open” she says.  She believes  that the business structures  of the past that we have relied upon have deteriorated so much that there’s really opportunity to utilize the foundation of law in a very creative way. Some people that seek out her expertise may seem high energy, so they have a lot of ideas, and may have five different companies, and they really need to move forward on all of it. That’s a by-product of the pace of our lives; of email, constantly being on the phone, constantly being inundated with new data in our optical space. But from a business perspective, it can really quite fun because there’s a way to sort of establish this framework that will work allow for multiple businesses to exist simultaneously, and constantly think about how they can overlap or benefit each other so that the energy that’s taken to run each of those businesses can be very efficient and maximized. That’s where some of the creativity certainly comes in, for Melissa in that she works with high energy, high octane individuals who just constantly have new opportunities. What Melissa tries to do is get the biggest opportunity filled in each case so that the end vision can become clearer in a shorter amount of time.


Lawyer Misconceptions

The 2 major misconceptions about attorney’s that Melissa shared;

  1. People are usually afraid of lawyers. Melissa has found that when she introduces herself as a yoga instructor, she is so much more warmly received than if she says “I’m a lawyer”.  Her youthful petite look doesn’t become intimidating until she tells people that she mentions the work lawyer.   People are  just not sure how to interact with that kind of a beast.
  2. Attorney’s are perceived to be dishonest, not wanting to be transparent, and really interested in sort of extracting money. It’s really not true at all for very many attorneys, and unfortunately it doesn’t take many to sort of sour the whole population. There are a lot of very, very good lawyers, good people who are practicing law.

To learn more about Melissa Jaffe visit her website here

This is a transcript of a recorded live presentation. It is in spoken-word format. While we have cleaned up the transcript a bit for easier reading, it’s not in edited written-word format. 

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