The Mindfulness Blog

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Law Firms And ERGs

Ever think about forming an ERG for women and men who strive to maximize their quality of mindfulness and seek to cultivate that state, through meditation? Maybe form an ERG to further the much written about, (but seemingly elusive) work/life balance? Maybe work with our firm to accomplish that, in a way that is mutually beneficial?

Think: Advancing company culture. Think: Formalizing the process of doing that. Think: Leading from the top, and  leading from the bottom--in coordinated fashion. Think: Being proactive, not reactive. Think: Taking ownership of well-being for everyone in the firm.

According to the authors of a recent article published in the Harvard  Business Review , "The majority of employees who do have access to flexible work arrangements are reluctant to use them. Many fear that doing so shows low work commitment and will have a negative impact on their career". Sound familiar?

"[C]reating Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) is a valuable way for organizations to offer support and resources to those workers who may feel underrepresented within it". Perhaps firm leadership is willing to dip it's toe (without branding the entire business operation with the endorsement of a particular issue or practice), and allow one or two employees to start an ERG, participating in formation process by providing the means by which those individuals address issue or practice?

Lawyers are among the most obvious examples of what the authors refer to as the, "ideal worker framework" for ERGs. We are present in the office, available 24/7 and ready to sacrifice personal life, in favor of firm or client demands. Which is a long-winded way of saying that lawyers are full-on business "warriors".

In a recent post, I advocated for the formation of meditation "clubs" in the workplace. Having read more and listened to some really knowledgeable people, I am now a believer in upping the concept to a whole other level. Instead of an informal "club" of individuals who exist for themselves, alone, I believe that the formation of a firm-recognized ERG that represents firm values as well as individual values, is really the way to go.

Working hard, for clients? Absolutely. Working hard to get ahead of our peers? Not a long-term winning strategy, but I get it--that's an inevitable incident to our system of capitalism. Working hard to advance the interests of the firm and to advance the interests of an ERG and it's individual members? Now you're talking. And you're talking a language that firm leaders will understand.

Historically, ERGs have been an effective tool for advancing issues of diversity and inclusion, but they also have clear implications for the acknowledgment and support of other concerns, like the cultivation of mindfulness and meditation, as vital components of a balanced well-being program in the workplace.

Live well, improve the milieu of our law firms and other institutions in the legal profession, and support what's important to individual lawyers--form a mindfulness and meditation ERG!


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