How today’s busy lawyers can improve focus and productivity.
Start 2016 mindfully! Is your mind constantly going at 150 mph? Do you find yourself wasting precious time thinking about the past or worrying about the future? Is stress or anxiety keeping you from doing your best work? Are you tired of trying to “have it all” and constantly feeling as though you’re failing at it? Do you just get the sense that something needs to change in your life?
The practice of ‘mindfulness’ is gaining traction amongst modern professionals, and with good reason. In a world where distractions abound but productivity must remain at an all-time high, it’s imperative that lawyers stay focused, calm, and resilient.
Over the course of 8-weeks, you’re invited to pause, reflect and practice being instead of constantly doing. You’ll be in a small group of lawyers who are also committed to exploring, finding ways of cultivating a joyful, and saner law practice.
We’ll be drawing from wide range of tools: positive psychology, resiliency training, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, coaching, mindfulness, mediation and meditation.
If you are struggling to maintain balance in this era of constant distractions and 24/7 connection, you are not alone. In this experiential course, we’ll explore:
- What does work/life balance truly look and feel like for you?
- Coping mechanisms for working with difficulties – complex cases, unreasonable clients, hostile opposing counsel and other difficult situations
- Exploring your goals and values, and finding ways to align your life
- How to reduce mind wandering – increase focus/ concentration
- Creating a healthy relationship with digital technology
- Breaking negative habitual behaviors
- Using mindfulness to ease stress and anxiety
- Mindful listening
- Mindful eating
- Defining and becoming familiar with your authentic lawyering style
This is a skills based course. We’ll learn the art of mindful listening, engage in dialogue, role playing, and give ample opportunities for each participant to deeply explore his or her habitual thoughts/ behaviors and create room for creating healthier – more authentic responses.
This course is for you if:
- You’d like to learn the foundation of mindfulness and meditation and incorporate it into your life
- Your life feels unsustainable and you’re ready for a change
- You’re constantly running on fumes
- You’d like to invite more joy into your life
- You’d like to improve your interpersonal communication skills – especially with those you’re having difficulties with such as opposing counsel
- You’d like to explore and break negative habits
- You’d like to find additional tools for living and thriving with stress and anxiety
What is Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness means to pay attention and accept each moment as is without preference or judgment? In this 8-week course, we’ll explore the basics of meditation and mindfulness practice, which can provide you with a better way of living and being – one in which you’re aware of your thoughts and responses, as opposed to going through life on autopilot. Consider mindfulness meditation as training for the brain.
Mindfulness meditation can help:
- Decrease adverse physical and psychological symptoms
- Increase your ability to cope with stressful situations
- Increase resiliency and the ability to be responsive instead of reactive
- Increase energy and enthusiasm for life
- Improve your ability to cope with pain and manage negative emotions
- Reduce the impact of stress and anxiety
- Improve concentration and focus
Why Mindfulness for Lawyers?
Lawyers use their minds – constantly. It’s arguably the most used tool in any legal practice. Yet, rarely do we pause to consider our own mental well-being.
Like the body, the brain can be trained for optimum performance.
As lawyers, we often witness human suffering. It’s no wonder that lawyers have one of the highest rates of substance abuse and depression out of any profession. We are constantly worrying, under stress from our bosses, the court, opposing counsel and our clients. Yet, we are rarely provided with the necessary tools to deal with these stressors in a healthy way.
In this course, we’ll learn simple exercises we can practice to decrease stress and cultivate our inner resilience. We’ll explore our inner world and engage in introspection, which will open the door for bringing more authenticity into our lives – both in and out of work. The goal of this course is to reduce the fight-or-flight reaction and create a sense of ease so that we can access our best selves in each moment.
About the Class
Class size is limited to 35 participants so that we can create a safe and supportive environment. During class, we’ll discuss the many challenges of practicing law and develop ways to integrate our mindfulness practice in our daily lives.
This is an experiential and skills based course, where you’ll learn by practicing and participating.
One common feedback we have received over the years in teaching this course is a sense of “I am not alone in my struggles.” This is an incredibly powerful experience for lawyers where there’s seemingly never any room for weakness, errors, and it can often feel as though you’re the only one that’s struggling.
This 8-weeks course is based on the curriculum in the book, The Anxious Lawyer, which will be published by the American Bar Association in January 2016.
Week 1: Introduction: What is mindfulness (what is it, what it isn’t). How lawyers can use mindfulness for better lawyering. The mind-body connection (Body Scan)
Week 2: The Authentic Lawyer: Using mindfulness to cultivate and define the “authentic self.” Role of boundaries and mindfulness. Practical applications of mindfulness in client interactions. Working with difficult emotions.
Week 3: Working With Negative Thoughts: Releasing the “busy mind” – cultivating clarity. Thinking errors – don’t believe your thoughts! Questioning our narrative. Working with anxiety: letting go of what we cannot control.
Week 4: Working With Difficult People: Role of Compassion & Empathy towards others. Working with difficult people – clients, opposing counsel, etc. Holding assertiveness and compassion together. Letting go of unhelpful thoughts – role of forgiveness.
Week 5: Working With The Biggest Critic – Yourself: Self-Compassion – why it’s critical for lawyers. Working with self-criticism, negative self-talk and the saboteur. Selfish vs. Self-care. Mindful eating exercise.
Week 6: Mindful Listening: Listening to understand rather than to respond. Conflict resolution – using conflict as an opportunity for deepening and fostering mutual benefit and understanding. Breaking habitual thought patterns with mindfulness.
Week 7: Mindful Listening (Part II): Using mindful listening in interpersonal relationships. Processing difficult emotions. Rebalancing head vs. heart. Understanding role of heartfulness and vulnerability in law practice.
Week 8: Negativity Bias: Understanding compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and importance of self-care. Gratitude as a way to combat compassion fatigue.
Wednesdays, 11:30 AM – 12:45 PM, January 13, 2016 – March 2, 2016.
Seyfarth & Shaw, LLP
560 Mission St Suite 3100, San Francisco, CA 94105
Tuesdays, 9:00 AM – 10:15 AM (PST), January 12, 2016 – March 1, 2016.
Update (December 18, 2015):
Two California CLE credit will be offered as part of this course. Date/time will be scheduled based on participants availability.
Course Books (included in cost):
The Anxious Lawyer (ABA)
Heal Thy Self
- $2,000 – regular registration
- $1,747 – early bird registration (register by January 3, 2016)
- $1,487 – super early bird registration (register by December 18, 2015)
- $998 – government and nonprofit attorneys
- $1,900 – regular registration
- $1,647 – early bird registration (register by January 3, 2016)
- $1,387 – super early bird registration (register by December 18, 2015)
- $898 – government and nonprofit attorneys
Reduction in fee available based on economic need. Please email email@example.com.
Jeena Cho is a partner at JC Law Group PC, a bankruptcy law firm in San Francisco, CA. In addition to her law practice, she teaches mindfulness and meditation to lawyers. Jeena started her meditation practice at the Himalayan Institute in Buffalo, NY. She has completed several classes in Mindfulness and Compassion Cultivation Training at a number of institutions including Stanford University, and has attended numerous retreats on mindfulness at organizations including the Spirit Rock, Insight Retreat Center and the San Francisco Zen Center. She has completed the teacher training practicum for Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). [Click here for full bio.]
Ellen Beilock is a mindfulness instructor and meditation facilitator. Having had an close-up view of stress and conflict as a long term lawyer and mediator – and the toll those pressures exert – her goal is to help lawyers find ways to reduce stress and find more contentment and life satisfaction. She has completed extensive MBSR teacher training through programs approved by the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Praise from Previous Class Participants
Jeena Cho is a very skilled facilitator modeling the ideal attorney – one who is 100% present! She exudes grace, compassion, and wisdom.
-Angeli Fitch, Criminal Defense Attorney
I loved the class–it has brought me to the path of mindfulness in my day to day life as a practicing attorney.
-Sarah Van Voorhis, Family Law Attorney
Mindfulness for Attorneys changed my perspective on how to approach challenges in the workplace and at home. Under Jeena’s guidance and never-ending patience, my meditation practice has become a daily ritual which I look forward to at the end of the day. My anxiety has decreased and I feel much more centered; I am even sleeping better.
-Laura Blumenstein, Civil Litigation Attorney
I loved that it was a safe space for everyone to connect and talk about their experiences. I also really enjoyed the meditations that were part of the class, and the ongoing discussions.
– Allison Elgart, Legal Director, Equal Justice Society