I believe we can all agree that lawyers in the Western Balkans have serious issues in terms of their professionalism but not only. The wrong mentality they have created and keep feeding around the legal profession – is the engine that puts to work their daily behavior and attitudes. So, the professional situation they are currently in, is in fact just a result of their own perception about who they are as legal professionals, their place within the profession and the entire legal system in their countries. In having the wrong mindsets when entering the legal profession, these lawyers not only behave in a wrong way but also lose their professional identity and the dignity that the legal profession caries and at some point, they become disappointed of their professional destination.

Moreover, such inaccurate professional mentality keeps them frustrated and complaining about the dysfunctional legal systems, the lack of professionalism and many other related issues, when in fact all they need to do is realize that the power to change the situation lies in their hands.On top of this inner struggle with themselves and their profession, the integration process comes along, where they are faced with an additional pressure and demands for growing, changing and improving. Once again – they keep a passive and skeptic behavior when in fact they need to acknowledge the fact they are not spectators in the show called ‘Integration of the legal professions’ but main actors in it and playing that role requires action, goals, determination, skills and qualities, values and principles, the possession and application of which removes them from the observer’s position and places them on the top of their legal system as true legal professionals.

At this point, the question is: How can they change all that? How to restore and adjust the wrong mindset they have about themselves and their role within the legal profession; One way, is through motivational speaking, which helps them understand why do they behave the way they do professionally, and how to change that wrong mentality about themselves. Motivating is about re adjusting the grounds upon which their functionality as lawyers is build and learn to change or improve what does not serve them anymore. Its purpose is to change lawyers understanding on an emotional and mental level, and help them make professional changes in their benefit. In terms of the legal profession that is more of an educational activity aimed at detecting and solving certain issues, through a deep understanding of the professional and personal goals, situations and ambitions these young professionals have. In this sense, motivational speaking is a great tool that can help lawyers remove themselves from the back seat within the legal profession to the front seat where they are active players within the entire legal system, it helps them replace the principle that says’ once I have the right conditions, I will improve’, with the one that says ‘I will create the right conditions for myself to improve’.

The bottom line is they all want to have a European identity as lawyers, and are aware that professional integration is all about standards, qualities and values. But in taking that first step towards such identity they need not only to improve skills and qualities, behaviors and attitudes strictly attached to the practicing of the legal profession but also develop a deep understanding of the goals, vision and mission they have beyond the lawyer-ING process. These legal professionals need to find and restore their identity as lawyers, reshape the system of values and principles that guides them and change the entire mindset around the legal profession and their place in it. That is the measuring mechanism for their professional integration.

Saimira Tola Khouw

15/11/2016

Rotterdam, The Netherlands