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Are lawyers ‘mindful’ ?

By | - May 2, 2017

Steve Benmor is a recognized divorce lawyer, family mediator, arbitrator, speaker, writer and educator. Mr. Benmor has worked as lead counsel in many divorce trials, held many leadership positions in the legal community and has been regularly interviewed on television, radio and in newspapers as an expert in Family Law.

What a silly question…or is it ? One of the most important qualities that a lawyer should have is awareness – awareness of the client, the issues, the law and the possible remedies.

But are lawyers aware of their attitudes, perceptions, beliefs, biases, stress level and anxiety and, most importantly, how those factors influence their judgment.

Mindfulness is a therapeutic technique used to create a mental state by focusing you on the present moment and acknowledging and accepting your present feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations.

What does that have anything to do with law or lawyers ?

For the very first time, the legal profession sees value in the study of mindfulness. In February 2015, the OBA is launching a series of modules training lawyers to be mindful so as to achieve career satisfaction.

Module 1 (February 6) is called “Re-setting Your Priorities: How Can You Be A Happier Lawyer?”. Professor Lawrence Krieger of Florida State University, College of Law will share his scientific research on what makes lawyers happy and will help lawyers evaluate their motivations, goals and values and learn mindfulness. This is free for OBA members.

The other modules address mental illness, stress at work, returning to work after a mental health leave, support networks for sole practitioners and proper nutrition for lawyers.

I think it’s about time that we see ourselves (and treat ourselves) as human beings, as well as lawyers, and gain the skills to become more aware of our thoughts and feelings.