A graduate of the University of Florida Levin School of Law, J. Kim Wright has been licensed by the North Carolina Bar since 1994. She has extensive experience in family law and in creating contracts for conscious businesses.
1995 – 2000 MANAGING ATTORNEY, THE DIVORCE & FAMILY LAW CENTER, ALAMANCE
COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA
I was the founder, designer, administrator, active participant, and leader of a law firm using integrative law modalities. As a successful trial lawyer, I was able to credibly introduce many peacemaking approaches into my law practice without being considered passive or weak. I supervised, trained, and collaborated with my multi-disciplinary staff and student interns in both law and social work.
As a small-town lawyer, I mostly had a general practice which flourished when I connected to my community. My office was often recognized for compassionate service. Several examples follow: When I noticed cross-cultural tensions, I designed and hosted a conference on Latinos in the Legal System to educate law enforcement and social services workers about cultural differences. I placed one of my staff members, a former guidance counselor, in elementary schools to lead support groups for children of divorce and we held emotional support groups in my office for both men and women involved in divorce proceedings. I was known as the LGBTQ-friendly office in a conservative area which led to representing clients in several types of matters, including assisting dozens of transgender clients in name changes. I led divorce information workshops for the local Women’s Resource Center.
2002 MEDIATOR, PARALEGAL AT PEACEMAKING (NAME OF LAW FIRM), PORTLAND, OREGON
As a member of a small law firm team, I conducted mediations, supported the managing attorney with paralegal tasks, and attended networking events on behalf of the firm.
2003 – 2008 MANAGING ATTORNEY, HEALERS OF CONFLICTS LAW & CONFLICT
RESOLUTION CENTER, ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA
I missed working with clients as a lawyer so I moved back to North Carolina and opened a new practice (in the city where I had attended college). I gave up litigation and focused on collaborative law, mediation, victim-offender dialogue, therapeutic jurisprudence, creative problem-solving, preventive law, conflict coaching, collaborative contracts, and legal counseling. I hosted a Lawyers as Peacemakers speaker series for the local bar.
2003 – 2007 ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, VICTIM OFFENDER RECONCILIATION PROGRAM
(VORP) INFORMATION & RESOURCE CENTER, ASHEVILLE, NC
As a Restorative Justice advocate, consultant, and trainer, I was responsible for case management and preparation of victims and offenders for face-to-face dialog in murder cases; restorative justice consulting; victim-offender mediation; training and program development at the national and international level. Trainees included prison officials, victim advocates, prosecutors, community leaders, and other lawyers. Since 2007, I have attended five of the biennial National Conferences on Restorative Justice and spoke at the national conferences in 2015, 2017, and 2019.
I worked on several documentary projects, including a series for the A&E Network. There, as a casting associate, I screened cases around the US. I consulted with the Oprah show about potential casting for her RJ-related shows. To access participants in potential cases, I also educated Departments of Correction about RJ programs and opened doors for healing of families of murder victims by allowing them to face the killers of their loved ones. I lobbied state officials for changes in policies.
2012-present PRACTITIONER, MANAGER, AND TRAINER, CONSCIOUS CONTRACTS® MODEL
As one of the co-creators of this relational approach to contracts formation, I am responsible for managing operations of a community which include hundreds of trainees and 30 certified practitioners doing business in 20 languages. I train practitioners and trainers in using the model and how to teach it. Many of my trainees have gone on to train others in English, Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian.
As a legal consultant to entrepreneurs around the world, I facilitate drafting legal documents that reflect (and sometimes transform) their companies’ cultures. These values-based contracts are for diverse businesses: partnerships, construction contracts, leases, employment, succession plans, and family matters. I coach them to articulate what is most important to them and how to align their business practices, culture, and legal documents to their purpose, vision, mission, and values. We then co-create a bespoke and very personal process for addressing change and engaging disagreement that is a precondition to litigation. I also teach and supervise law students as legal consultants in a clinical program.
I am the webmistress of http://reinventingcontracts.com and involved in the use of legal design and visuals. I am particularly interested in the movement toward Comic Book Contracts that are values-based and user friendly and in supporting companies to bring corporate social responsibility and environmental stewardship into their culture and legal documents. With three other professors, we are spearheading https://lawyersasdesigners.com/ which will be a collection of exemplars of legal design and eventually a book.