Guide to a Happier, Saner Law Practice Using Meditation and Mindfulness

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Anxiety is defined as “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” One of the primary responsibility for most lawyers is to predict the outcome of his or her cases. Not only must we be able to accurately predict the future, we’re also charged with seeing all the things that can come up, which can get in the way of gaining the desired outcome. It’s no wonder that so many lawyers suffer from regular anxiety, stress, depression and substance abuse.

The Anxious Lawyer is a book by the American Bar Association (ABA) scheduled to be published in mid 2015. It’s a simple and straightforward introduction to meditation and mindfulness for those engaged in the practice of law. Readers will be guided through an eight week program to establish an ongoing meditation practice. Meditation has been shown to effectively reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

We’ll be offering the 8-week classes and other workshops in person throughout 2014. In addition to the in person classes, we’ll offer an online class in Fall of 2014. Please join our mailing list for more details as it becomes available. 

During the 8-weeks, you will:

• Gain an overview of the history of meditation and the scientific evidence of its benefits
• Learn several simple meditation techniques
• Receive concrete guidance for establishing a meditation practice
• Gain tools for reducing “knee jerk reactions,” decrease stress/anxiety, and increase resilience
• Practice specific exercises designed to give practical experience in bringing the insights of meditation to meeting the challenges of daily life – and particularly of legal practice
• Cultivate the ability to be in the moment, reduce rumination and enjoy life!

Why Mindfulness Meditation for Lawyers?

A lawyer’s mind is arguably his or her most used and valued instrument, yet, we rarely think about maintaining a healthy, happy mind. Mindfulness meditation trains the mind just like exercise trains the body.

On the one hand, the pressures of legal practice have never been higher. As lawyers, we are constant witnesses to human suffering. Clients come to us with complicated problems that the legal process may be ill-suited to address. The economic pressures on legal practitioners are greater than ever. We are expected to win at all costs. We constantly push ourselves harder, to work more, to bill that extra 0.1 hour. It’s no wonder that lawyers have one of the highest rates of substance abuse and depression of any profession.

While they are beleaguered, lawyers have few tools to deal with the strains. Interest in meditation has skyrocketed in recent years, successfully engaging the business community, but the advantages and benefits of meditation have not yet been widely recognized by the legal profession. This is ironic because a lawyer’s mind is arguably his or her most used and valued instrument.

As a group, lawyers may be reluctant to attempt meditation. Often presented in a way that feels artificial and inaccessible, it seems antithetical to a culture that places great value on logic and reason. However, meditation and mindfulness are simply tools for training the mind. In fact, “mindfulness” means “paying attention.”

This 8-week training workshop will appeal to lawyers because it is premised on the clear and scientific principle that the brain, like the body, can be trained and optimized to perform better.

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