The Wall Street Journal, of all places, had a feature this week on the increasing prevalence – and acceptance – of mindfulness training for lawyers.
In Lawyers Go Zen, With Few Objections, writer Jacob Gershman delivers more than just a clever headline. He focusses on the enhanced listening skills that can be developed through mindfulness techniques.
I don’t have much personal expertise in this area, but I do have the luxury of deferring on this topic to my significant other, Toronto marketing consultant Sandra Bekhor, who has completed mindfulness training.
“Sharper listening skills will make you a better lawyer, presumably, whether you are listening to your client, opposing counsel or a judge. What you do with that information is up to you.
“Mindfulness training puts you into the present moment, so your observation skills are sharpened. You’re not distracted by preconceptions about the person you’re dealing with or the situation you are in. Being present helps you pick up on subtle messages like body language or emotional responses that you might otherwise miss.
Picking up on it can be a gold mine. It helps you see past the game face.
Of course, mindfulness is far more than just another tool to be utilized to gain tactical advantage, Bekhor notes.
Mindfulness training reduces anxiety, allows us to decompress and sharpens our ability to enjoy life, as humans and professionals.
Those interested in learning more can access the Ontario Bar Association’s Mindful Lawyer CPD series.
Archived video of the OBA’s six-module programme is available free online to OBA members.
– Garry J. Wise, Toronto