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Pro Bono Service, Mindfulness And Meditation

Connecting the dots between pro bono service on the one hand, and mindfulness and meditation, on the other, may not be obvious for some of us. But there is a connection, and it's very real--most obviously, for the client and the law firm, and perhaps less obviously, for us, individually.

Without doubt, pro bono work is, "feel good" stuff. Giving back to the community; doing for others what we hope or expect they would do for us; offering help and assistance to others, in need. The list is long and entirely genuine. But isn't there also a personal benefit for the lawyer? Of course there is--a benefit that manifests itself if we are open to it. I believe that mindfulness and meditation can help us make that connection--hear me out.

By definition, pro bono work takes place in the context of the office --be it solo, small or mid-size firms, or Big Law. It therefore falls to law firms to provide not only the incentive to provide the benefits of pro bono service, but also, to provide lawyers with the time and space to absorb the benefits of that service--to realize the pay-off of that service, as it were.

The law (as the saying goes) is a jealous mistress, and it is precisely because of that, that the lines between personal and professional often become blurred, for many of us in the legal profession. I mean, how many times has your spouse or partner said to you, "Stop talking like a lawyer"?

Which leads me back to the connection between pro bono work, mindfulness and meditation. If our institutions recognize the importance of pro bono service, and make concessions to accommodate the individual lawyers who volunteer to provide those services, then they can surely recognize the importance of well-being, and accommodate practices that exist to personally enrich the lives of the lawyers who are the very backbone of the profession.

Connection, meaning and happiness benefit all of us--the recipients, as well as the providers (not to mention, our spouses and partners). The rationale behind, "doing the right thing" for clients in need, also extends to us lawyers--many of whom are also in need. We might need something different than pro bono assistance, but the need is every bit as important.

Do unto others--that's a no-brainer. Do unto ourselves, on the other hand-- maybe that's a bit less obvious to some, but it's really common sense. Pro bono service, mindfulness and meditation.

They're all part of "Well-Being 101"!



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