Mindfulness is Making its Way into the Legal Field

Decreasing stress and increasing empathy are just some of the benefits of mindfulness for lawyers.

Students in Charlie Halpern's class "Effective and Sustainable Law Practice: The Meditative Perspective" practicing Qi Gong beside the law school. Photo courtesy of Dan Carlin

Lawyers are changing their shark-like image by adopting mindfulness and meditation. This shift is happening all over the country, from the Bay Area to Florida.

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal reported on mindfulness making its way into the legal field. Well-seasoned lawyers are using mindfulness to try to stop the seemingly inevitable burnout and fatigue that comes with such a demanding career. And law schools are teaching classes dedicated to meditation in order to help create more mindful, compassionate, and healthy lawyers.

The Wall Street Journal portrays law and mindfulness as the newest odd couple. But it’s clear that there are tons of ways a lawyer can benefit from mindfulness, both in their lives and their law practice.

For example, Rhonda Magee, a law professor at the University of San Francisco, says mindfulness can help a lawyer “develop the capacity to put themselves in the shoes of another” and be able to “listen more thoroughly to other people with as little judgement as they can manage.”

While rewarding, being a lawyer is stressful and tiring, which is the perfect place for meditation to step in.

Charlie Halpern, the founder of the Berkeley Initiative for…