Mindful Lawyering

Mindfulness can be described as an intuitive awareness of present-moment experience as distinguished from thought-driven judgments or interpretations about that experience.  Mindfulness refers to a state of being, and as such can only be described, not defined.  Definitions reduce phenomena to static “things.”  Insofar as mindfulness refers to perpetually fleeting present-moment experience, any attempt to reduce mindfulness to a static experience is misguided.

In the context of law practice, mindful lawyering helps clients transcend narrow interpretations of challenging life experiences and embrace a more broad awareness of present-moment reality.

For example, a client facing divorce in which children are involved may, understandably, experience fear of potentially being denied time with his or her children in addition to heightened economic uncertainty.  Most clients facing such a situation, unless they have a developed mindfulness practice, will employ intellectual strategies to “make the fear go away.”  Chief among these strategies is likely to be a decision to retain a lawyer to “fight” and “win” more custody or financial resources.

If the attorney engaged by the client in this scenario lacks a developed mindfulness practice, he or she is likely to approach the situation in a way consistent with traditional legal training.  This traditional training is oriented toward factoring out “feelings,” “emotions,” and similar spiritual components.  As a result, the typical attorney/client interaction usually serves to further cement a cerebral, defensive and aggressive orientation to the client’s situation.  The client is likely to continue experiencing a high level of discomfort and anxiety likely to manifest in aggressive reactions towards the other party/parties, and serve to escalate conflict.

The mindful lawyer is uniquely positioned to interrupt this destructive cycle.  Prior to crafting a concrete legal strategy, the mindful or holistic lawyer can work with the client to more meaningfully ground him/her in present-moment experience, and in the process create some “distance” between this experience and his/her entrenched conditioning and habitual reactions.

As a result of this more mindful approach to lawyering, clients may realize a sense of peace and grounding that has been elusive while trapped in fear-evading, intellectually driven strategies.  It is the heightened connection to present-moment experience that enables clients to realize a felt connection to “life” apart from his or her intellectual narratives about his or her experience.  It is this very connection that gives rise to optimal wisdom and appropriate responses to challenging life situations.

To learn more about mindful lawyering, visit http://www.therapyforlawyers.com or call Licensed Psychotherapist and Attorney Michael Lubofsky at (415) 508-6263.

Legal Conflict and Inherent Unsatisfactoriness

To a significant degree, our counterproductive reactions to most situations involving conflict are a function of the extent to which we cling to inaccurate views of the nature of life.  A primary Buddhist teaching relates to the truth of suffering and the inherent unsatisfactoriness of existence.  This “unsatisfactoriness” is often manifested in the impermanence, pain and perpetual incompleteness intrinsic to all forms of life.

In modern American society, most of us have lived with decades of pervasive conditioning that life should provide us with lasting “happiness.”  In order to successfully promote goods, services, ideas, etc., the idea of happiness continued in these messages promises some perpetual state of bliss devoid of pain and suffering.

Problems begin to surface when we come to internalize this notion of “happiness” to a point at which we unconsciously accept these messages as truth.  Once this misguided idea of the nature of reality has been adopted, we are well positioned for highly charged reactions to life situations that do not square with these internalized ideals.

Almost invariably, situations arise that are painful.  These situations involve loss in the form of relationships, material acquisitions, physical health, and eventually life itself.  One’s refusal to accept these realities of existence will eventually cause one to react to conflict either by simply denying reality inherent in the situation, or by pushing back in a futile effort to manipulate reality so as to make these situations “go away.”

This type of reactionary behavior and denial can be extremely unhelpful and damaging when facing legal conflict.  Defensive reactions aimed at preserving egoic ideals of how life “should be” can effectively sever one from an ability to open up to a wider, more holistic view of the situation at hand.  Viewing the situation from such a constrained vantage point will usually preclude identification of optimal solutions to conflict.

The integration of mindfulness with law practice offers the potential of moving beyond one’s conditioning that life should not include suffering.  In so doing, people involved in legal conflict may become far better able to identify and implement optimal solutions that can serve to fundamentally improve their lives long after concrete legal issues have been resolved.

To learn more about the transformational potential of holistic law practice, contact Licensed Psychotherapist and Attorney Michael Lubofsky at (415) 508-6263, or visit https://www.lawyertherapist.com.