What is Preventive Law and Legal Health?


In the medical field we hear a lot about preventive medicine. Have you heard of preventive law? The term was first coined by Louis Brown in the 40’s and 50’s. The idea is that through teaching and conditioning, legal problems may be averted and health in that area maintained.

We, at Bridges, have the knowledge and tools to help the public this way. As a professional group we provide legal, financial, emotional and relational support for the purpose of settling disputes. But that same knowledge and skill, applied early enough, can prevent legal entanglements altogether.

How early is early enough?

  • Taught to children in school through tools for emotional regulation to improve relationships, learning and the challenges of maturing.
  • Taught to families for issues that come up at certain ages and developmental stages in personal and relational growth- from teaching dispute resolution and mediation skills to financial check-ups to understanding consequences of actions, legal rights, entitlements and things to watch out for.
  • Client Education by lawyers so clients learn ahead of time, when not in crisis, about the consequences of courses of action and options available. To learn these things before crisis hits may prevent problems that turn into legal action and allay fears of the unknown, so people can relax and enjoy life.
  • Before Symptoms. In medicine there are distinctions between symptomatic and asymptomatic conditions.  It is best to avoid illness by addressing habits before you get sick and symptomatic. In law it is best to address life events with proactive awareness and intelligent planning at a time when minds are calm and capable of taking in information for optimal use of executive functioning, planning and decision-making. Once there are symptoms that becomes more difficult. Either way there is a need to develop awareness of and an ability to use emotional regulation for clear thinking. This is just much harder when in crisis.

What questions might be addressed?

  • Questions can include parenting issues, financial planning and legal planning.
  • Contexts might be planning for children. Who will stay home? Will both parents work? At what point would the caretaking parent go back to work? What would be the professional and financial implications of different options?
  • What are your visions for your future? Your children? Your family?

What can be learned?

  • Awareness to spot and define legal issues.
  • To normalize conflict and address it with knowledge, understanding, communication and negotiation skills.
  • More information than advice.

How can we help?

  • We are knowledgeable and caring lawyers who do not exacerbate conflict. We are interested in the overall well-being of clients and families.
  • We are coaches skilled at personal and interpersonal skills and resolution.
  • We are child specialists passionate about helping families identify and heal the effects of trauma and prevent it with proactive awareness.
  • We are financial neutrals who can help you vision and plan for predictable stages in the life of a family or individual.
  • We have referral sources for other professionals who might help assess, prepare for and address known or possible future needs.
  • Setting up the framework for awareness and mastering executive functioning for a family or relationship.

Where do you start?

  • Look through our website at https://bridgesdivorce.com/ and the links and websites of our professionals.
  • Call for an initial consultation with one of our professionals to see the range of services and the unique approach of both preventive law and active conflict resolution.
  • Consult with one of our professionals before deciding how to approach a current crisis.
  • Learn the value of a team approach, whether an actual team of different professionals or the skills of any one of our practitioners who, from their extensive collaborative training, have a full sense of your needs.

Make it your New Year’s Resolution to learn about Conflict Resolution by contacting or at least bookmarking Bridges Collaborative Divorce Solutions.  We do way more than divorce.  We might just even help prevent it.

Credit to Forrest S. Mosten and Lara Traum who brought forward the idea of Preventive Legal and Conflict Wellness at the 2019 IACP Annual forum in Chicago, Illinois.