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The Individual Case For Mindfulness And Meditation In Law Firms

If all politics are local, then it is likely the case that one's attitude about mindfulness and meditation begins with each of us, individually.

And, individually, there are lots of reasons why they matter, but the American Bar Association ("ABA:) has artfully summed it up in one concept: Well-being.

In 2017, the ABA appointed a National Task Force of qualified men and women to study the notion of well-being, identify the various stakeholders and publish a Report--and they did a tremendous job. The Report is practical, extremely realistic and really well organized. It should be required reading, for all of us. It's online, free to anyone who cares to access it, and chock full of good stuff.

Well-being (referred to by some as "wellness") is a multi-faceted concept that is defined in the Report as, "a continuous process whereby lawyers seek to thrive in each of the following areas: emotional health, occupational pursuits, creative or intellectual endeavors, sense of spirituality or greater purpose in life, physical health, and social connections with others.

"Lawyer well-being is part of a lawyer's ethical duty of competence. It includes lawyers' ability to make healthy, positive work/life choices to assure not only a quality of life within families and communities, but also to help them make responsible decisions for their clients. It includes maintaining their own long term well-being. This definition highlights that complete health is not defined solely by the absence of illness; it includes a positive state of wellness." (Emphasis added).

The Report has a lot more to say on the subject, but suffice it to say that well-being is a big pie. Mindfulness and meditation are important slices of that pie, and it's time we started paying attention (pun intended). Most folks now accept the notion that healthy diet and physical exercise are important pieces of well-being. Having prioritized the care of our bodies, it's time we recognize the importance of our minds, as well.

Our institutions--our law firms--now embrace physical fitness as an important employee benefit but historically, that wasn't always the case. That's because we, as individuals, recognized the importance of physical fitness, and demanded that our institutions respond accordingly. Now it's time for us to turn our attention to our mental/emotional fitness. If we don't--as a profession that is built upon the importance of the mind--who will?

The gym is where we train our bodies. The cushion, or the chair, or wherever we may choose to find our quiet time--is where we train our minds. Well-being, wellness, mind/body fitness--call it what you will--is absolutely critical to us, as individuals. And the health of our institutions, as well as our profession, depends upon it.


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