The Mindfulness Blog

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Inner Development

As a law student, a learning-on-the-fly father and a developing young lawyer, I used to be exclusively focused on developments happening in the world around me-- developments that impacted my family, my clients and my law practice. The last decade-plus, however, my focus has shifted to include developments impacting my inner world, as well-- developments impacting me, and my personal wellbeing.

Most importantly, I've come to learn that the two are not mutually exclusive. And for those who have not-- or will not-- credit that fundamental truth, I am truly sorry because the carnage continues unabated. Both for themselves, and the women/men whose lives are controlled by their ill-informed decisions.

The human cost is well-documented and widely publicized. The long-term ripple effects may not yet be fully understood, but they are real and already manifesting themselves through the growing loss of young professionals, and declining application statistics experienced by many law schools.

The youth of today are the future leaders of tomorrow, and the future of the legal profession is clearly threatened-- which is precisely why I've transitioned my focus from mindfulness and meditation to the broader issue of lawyer wellbeing. I understand that stress is not all bad, and I understand that hard work has always been (will always be) part of the legal profession-- I also understand that burnout is real and needs to be addressed.

Which is how I came to be listening to a conversation about
AI, between two people for whom I have a great deal of respect: Jack Kornfield (well-known Buddhist and meditation practitioner/teacher) and Sam Altman (CEO of the company that developed ChatGPT). The discussion was moderated by Soren Gordhamer, the founder of an organization known as Wisdom 2.0.

It was a wide-ranging conversation that focused primarily on ethical considerations, including a back-and-forth about the potential impact of AI on individual inner development, which is something that (for me) is of the utmost importance.

For decades I was required to satisfy State requirements related to continuing legal education ("CLE"), which was devoted to the maintenance of professional competence. Thank goodness, a handful of States have amended their CLE requirements to now include topics that relate to inner development-- that trend is continuing, and one can only hope it will spread further.

Lawyer wellbeing is all about inner development, which is every bit as important as the development of representational skills (outer development, if you will).

Let's keep our eye on the wellbeing ball, and give lawyers (indeed, all of us) an opportunity to develop both inner and outer skills!


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