The Mindfulness Blog

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Generational Conflict

According to the Spring 2019 Youth Poll published by the Harvard Kennedy School, Institute of Politics, "young voters between 18 and 29 years-old are experiencing anxiety as much as joy, don't think baby boomer voters or elected officials [or Managing Partners in law firms] care about them, and are increasingly concerned about the moral direction of the nation". Other than that, everything is all good!

What is more, "By election day 2020, the Millennial and Gen Z generations will represent more than a third of eligible voters". And that number will inevitably grow. Substitute "lawyers" for "eligible voters", and you get my point. To roughly quote Paul Revere, "The kids are coming, the kids are coming!".

The takeaway can be summarized a lot of different ways, but more and more, the business world--the world in general--is reading/hearing about the challenges of generational conflict. The legal profession is certainly well-acquainted with the concept. And one of the most significant current initiatives to address that challenge is in the arena of wellness, or lawyer well-being.

Thirty-plus years ago, the business culture was all about the two-martini lunch, or post-work ritual. Today, it's about taking care of ourselves--so we can take better care of our clients, other professional relationships and our personal relationships. Life is more outward-facing, and that's a good thing, but developing that awareness is not an easy thing to do.

For me, it means going back to basics. Sitting still, finding my breath and observing my mind, as it thinks thoughts--without attaching a particular significance, or assigning a sense of inevitability as to where the thoughts may lead. Noticing the thoughts that my mind offers up, with an objective or neutral perspective that allows me a degree of non-attachment.

Bottom line: Well-being (and mindfulness/meditation are big components), is not just another fad. And the allocation of budgeted resources toward the design, roll-out and implementation of a meaningful well-being program will go a long way toward earning the trust of the younger men and women who are the future of the legal profession.

Lawyers and law firms should be on the cutting-edge of well-being awareness, and our leaders can make that a reality. It would also go a long way toward addressing the growing challenge of generational conflict!


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