The Human Centred Lawyer

A Confrontation of Soul Session

I don’t know what got me here. I am a lawyer not an optician. But here I was on a bright Wednesday morning staring into the big eye balls of Emeka, a law student reflecting on his hopes and fears and thinking of the right words to encourage him.

Emeka wanted to use his knowledge as a lawyer to uplift his people in the Niger Delta. He was very passionate about their needs. It was an amazing dream and one that I surprisingly didn’t know despite knowing Emeka for about 2 years now. I guess that was the essence of this game.

The game is called “confrontation of souls” and it was designed by a facilitator in a workshop organised by the University of Abuja Law Clinic on design and sustainability. The game required me to look deep into Emeka’s eyes while he spoke on his dreams and fears. I had to wait 15 long seconds before I replied him with words of encouragement and vice versa.

It was a vulnerable moment as I listened to Emeka. It was also a deeply human moment. For the one minute the game lasted, I truly understood and felt what it meant to have a deep human connection. To truly listen patiently as you stared deep into a person’s soul with a shared understanding of human kinship.

According to the facilitator, this was the essence of empathy in law. To truly understand your beneficiaries dreams, hopes and fears as you encourage him and people like him with a project that addresses their needs.

On a typical day, I would normally speak from my own point of view but today was different, today I truly understood my brother Emeka. Today I was a more human-centred lawyer.