Interest in meditation and mindfulness has skyrocketed in recent years, thanks largely to neuroimaging and the body of scientific research that has validated the many benefits of these practices. Sadly, the legal community has for the most part been left out, even though lawyers would clearly benefit from mindfulness. Many lawyers feel hesitant to try meditation, which can seem alien and inaccessible from the vantage point of a professional culture that places great value on logic and reason.
Jeena Cho and Karen Gifford set out to help address this gap in The Anxious Lawyer. Both Cho and Gifford began meditating as practicing attorneys, and have first-hand knowledge of the difficulties and rewards of legal practice. They experienced how meditation and mindfulness practices support a more effective and enjoyable legal practice. Both also found unexpected rewards of meditation that go deeper: better self understanding, more rewarding relationships, and a deeper feeling of connection with the world.
The Anxious Lawyer Program
The Anxious Lawyer provides a straightforward 8-week introductory program on meditation and mindfulness, created by lawyers for lawyers. The program draws on examples from Cho and Gifford’s professional and personal lives to create an accessible and enjoyable entry into practices that can reduce anxiety, improve focus and clarity, and enrich the quality of life.
The program includes:
Discussion of scientific research on the effects of meditation and what the evidence shows about its benefits
Instruction on a number of simple meditation techniques
Concrete guidance for establishing a daily meditation and mindfulness practice
Exercises designed to give the reader practical experience in bringing the insights of meditation and mindfulness to meeting the challenges of daily life—and particularly of legal practice
Practical examples of how mindfulness and meditation can help to cultivate a more joyful and satisfying law practice
Guided meditations and worksheets that allow the reader to track his or her progress
Praise for The Anxious Lawyer
The Practice Model Canvas is a visual planning tool for thinking through the core elements of a legal product or service. While it isn’t necessarily a replacement for a fully fledged business plan, it will help you collect assumptions about the key components of your proposed offering. It is the preferred tool for new and established businesses alike following Design Thinking and Lean Startup methods.
Using the Canvas
The canvas is a rapid prototype. It will help you address and capture your thoughts about the essential elements of your product or service.
While there is no right or wrong way to use the tool, we have a few suggestions that have worked well for us and our clients:
- Use sticky notes instead of writing directly on the canvas. This lets you more easily rewrite or rearrange your thoughts.
- Go in order (mostly). The numbers are useful guides, but not mandates. If something occurs to you for a box other than the one you’re working in, capture that thought but then go back to where you were. That said, if you can't think of good answers for one of the boxes, skip it and come back to it later.
- Be specific. The canvas works best when you’ve identified a specific customer with a specific problem set. If you have multiple practice areas, or if you perform different services within one area, pick a narrow offering to start with and create additional canvases for other services.
- Set a timer for each section. Try to knock out an entire canvas in about an hour. That’s roughly five minutes per box with some transition time in between.
- Rinse and repeat. Your assumptions will change over time as you gain more information, hopefully through real-world testing. Update your canvas when that happens, or don’t be afraid to make a new one.