The Mindfulness Blog

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The Human Component

Described by the Legal Executive Institute as a "radical investment" in next generation talent, the Dentons law firm has created a program it calls, "NextTalent". And it has announced a "Europe--Chief Mindfulness Officer". The legal profession has finally joined the broader business world!

The NextTalent initiative is multi-faceted (bringing together a number of discrete concepts, including emotional intelligence, mindfulness, behavioral economics and technology training), and Dentons takes a skunkworks approach to training its lawyers for the future--an approach that (as defined in Wikipedia) affords, "a high degree of autonomy, unhampered by bureaucracy"-- BTW, the full Wikipedia definition of "skunkworks" makes for some fascinating reading.

But what really caught my eye in the two Press Releases I refer to, was the statement attributed to the Global Chair, Joe Andrew, who is quoted as saying that, "the critical part of [future] legal workflow will be the human interactions and the humanity that we bring" (emphasis added). "We know today that life-long learning is a part of what we should all be expecting and engaging in, and therefore, how we grow and develop is a key focus for us within our culture and something that sets us apart from our competitors"--you might want to read that another time, and think about it.

A law firm that actually cares about--emphasizes-- the human component? That's a wow. And the appointment of a Chief Mindfulness Officer? That's a double wow. Kudos to Dentons for putting its money where its mouth is, and recognizing the humanity of its lawyers, which is so critical to the popularly recognized concern of lawyer well-being.

Ten or fifteen years ago, if any of us had told our peers that we were going for a run during the lunch hour, rather than going out somewhere or picking up something to eat, they would have thought we were crazy. Today, I see groups of men and women running through the Loop in downtown Chicago, pretty much every day. Thank goodness, we finally figured out that it's important to take care of our bodies. But, what about our minds?

Healthy humans today take care of both their bodies and their minds--especially us lawyers. Lawyer well-being involves both the body and the mind--and managing emotion (which is a wonderful bi-product of mindfulness and meditation), is a big part of well-being for all of us. Both personally, and professionally.

The sooner we understand that sitting in silence, "doing nothing", is just as important to the human component as jogging at lunchtime, the better. Ask the lawyers at Dentons!


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