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Legal storytelling

Illustrator: HANA MELE

A very good friend of mine asked me why I became a writer. She also reminded me of the fact that I studied law and not literature! All my friends are wondering why anybody would trade a legal career for a career as a struggling writer? My family was mute about my ‘new endeavor’, or better put ‘surprised to the point of no expression’. So, after a few months of constant questioning about my path, I understood I needed to be clear about my intentions.

My first thought was, “Did I just throw away 15 years of studying law? Will my clients still take me seriously as a legal consultant? Will my family ever respect me as a writer?”

I was always and still am a strong believer that we each have a chosen path. A so-called life mission. I believe that we were born with certain qualities in a certain environment with the intent to develop skills and stamina to start walking on this chosen path. Then, it is a matter of our own will whether we actually develop those skills and have the strength to take that path. The level of our everyday happiness is the meter of how close we have come to this chosen path.

Life mission is not a high-profile career; it is not the perfect car, perfect body or perfect house. Those are only means. Very important means, but they are not goals, simply because they will come and go. Sure, they will satisfy our ‘appetite’ and will get us some compliments from our loved ones, but external means will never ever make us happy.

Therefore, in my opinion, our life mission is our own individual way to express our own truth. It is unique, not mainstream, and it takes a lot of courage. It comes from our heart, not our mind. It is never induced by the society but comes naturally. More often, we don’t even know how it happened; it just comes to us, without resistance. Of course, it takes years of hard work and dedication to ourselves in order to find out what our truth is. Once we understand our best way of expression, we can’t lose focus, because we don’t want to lose the momentum to realize our so-called dreams. In other words, our chosen path!

My own individual way to express my truth is and always will be divided between legal consulting and storytelling. If you zoom-in on what that means: it is simply writing. My legal advice, contracts or any other legal opinion consist of writing! My understanding of the legal provisions in relation to a particular case, while being extremely cautious about the meaning of the words. Writing a children’s book is similar. It consists of my understanding of moral values in relation to a particular story, while being very cautious about the meaning of the words. So when you zoom-out on the two ‘careers’ I have, they are not that different at all. The content may be different, but the technique is very similar.

In my case, the legal education was and still is very useful in writing. On the other hand, the soul searching that happens while writing comes in very handy when giving legal advice. Therefore, the legal consultant in me can write a tender baby book, but the mother in me is the first to protect a child’s rights and freedoms.