Do Compassion and the Law Go Hand in Hand?

Truck driver having bad headache.

I have always said that we need to be people first and our professions second. Meaning, I believe that compassion is a fundamental human characteristic that should be at the forefront of what we do as people. I believe that when we practice our professions with compassion, we will not only do better work, but we will ultimately be more satisfied with the results.

The barista that asks how I am doing and genuinely cares about the response will be better served for his compassion. I will feel better having been listened to, and the barista likely feels better for improving my day – incidentally, I may also be more inclined to tip the barista for his kindness.

The architect that builds compassion into her designs will provide more attractive and functional designs than an architect who is only concerned only with numbers. This compassionate design would benefit not only the people using the space, but would also likely lead to more business for the architect.

The auto mechanic that builds trust with his customers will ultimately benefit in the long run. While it may be easier to charge customers as much as possible for a quick buck, the slighted customer will be loathed to return. The satisfied customer, however, will always return. Moreover, the mechanic will sleep better at night knowing he is acting from a place of compassion.

Regardless of your profession, I believe we are all better served when we work with compassion. As an attorney, I have always endeavored to help people with my practice. Sometimes the law can be fairly cold and calculating, so I view a large part of my work to be in translating the cold, hard law into tools of compassion.

For example, I have the honor of representing many clients who have lost loved ones due to accident, illness, or other injury. Often times, these clients want very different things from what the law generally allows for. Of course people want a sense of justice, accountability, and a form of closure – among other things; however, what people really want is their loved one back. Were I to practice just the cold law, I might focus simply on standard legal remedies and overlook the fact that there are human remedies as well. Clearly the law cannot bring loved ones back, but we can work within the law to address the real injuries.

For instance, we can work on setting up memorial trusts or monuments to honor loved ones. We can also work with the defendants to engage in some kind restorative justice where healing can begin. Restorative justice emphasizes accountability, making amends, and — if they are interested — facilitated meetings between victims, offenders, and other persons. See,

We can also work with attorneys and defendants to reach alternative resolutions that include things like providing public service, donations, or other volunteer activities related to the circumstances of the injury.

In short, I believe my job as an attorney is to counsel the client on all matters surrounding the case. This includes attempts to address deeper issues that might not be a usual part of the legal process. I believe, at The Sawaya Law Firm, when we practice law with compassion, we can provide the best representation possible for our clients. I also believe that we as people are more satisfied in general when we work from a place of compassion.


Michael established The Sawaya Law Firm in 1977 and built it into one of the largest personal injury law firms in Colorado, with more than 20 lawyers and 80 staff members serving clients from five offices located in Denver, Greeley and Colorado Springs. Throughout its history, the firm has stayed true to its 12 Core Values, which emphasize excellence in advocacy and a commitment to providing outstanding client service. Michael studied sociology and economics as an undergraduate student at The Colorado College, and he earned his law degree from the Texas Tech University School of Law. In addition to being involved in several legal and community organizations, Michael enjoys playing music and cooking, and he has written a book on spiritual matters.