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 firsthand 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 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:
· 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
· Discussion of scientific research on the effects of meditation and what the evidence shows about its benefits
· Practical tools, including access to guided meditations and worksheets that allow the reader to track his or her progress
Co-author Jeena Cho speaks and writes about creating a sustainable law practice. She is a contributor to Forbes and Above the Law where she covers resilience, work/life integration, and wellness in the workplace. She regularly speaks on women’s issues, diversity, wellness, stress management, mindfulness and meditation. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Co-author Karen Gifford is an investor and advisor on policy and regulatory issues in the financial technology space. Previously, she practiced law in the private sector and as a litigation and enforcement attorney for the Federal Reserve. She is a columnist for the Huffington Post where she writes on issues related to leadership, the workplace and the financial industry.
Praise for The Anxious Lawyer
“The Anxious Lawyer is a superb introduction to the why and how of meditation for lawyers. The authors, both lawyers themselves, guide you through a simple eight-week program for starting a meditation practice. Along the way, they help you understand how meditation can enhance not just your personal well-being, but also your professional practice and career.”
—Robert Ambrogi, Author of Law Sites
“Much more than a how-to manual or text, the book speaks to the reader as a friend while providing amazingly useful insights. It reveals how meditation can help us find satisfaction and fulfillment in law as well as in life.”
—Ellen Beilock, Mindfulness teacher and facilitator, former lawyer and litigator, former mediator at UCSF
“Practical and actionable. The authors came to meditation as practicing attorneys and they make the practice of meditation and mindfulness handily accessible for fellow attorneys. The authors break it down beautifully with personal anecdotes and the science, misconceptions, and mechanics of meditation and provide a painless, at-your-own-pace program to get you started on the path to forming a new habit that could potentially transform your life.”
—Tim Baran, Content Director at Rocket Matter
“In this book, attorney Jeena Cho and Karen Gifford make a clear, concise, and convincing case in favor of the benefits of mindfulness and meditation for lawyers—a segment of the population that is particularly prone to depression and anxiety due to the stresses and adversarial nature of our profession. If you’re an attorney and reducing anxiety is a priority, this book is a great place to start.”
—Nicole Black, lawyer and Legal Technology Evangelist at MyCase
“As someone who has meditated for thirty years, I was very happy to find this wonderful and effective introduction to the practice. I have found meditation helpful to all aspects of life including legal practice. While the “thinking mind” is a critical tool for lawyers, meditation relaxes the thinking mind, allowing new and creative insights to surface. Most of my best trial strategies and business initiatives emerged in this way! But the real benefit is the peace and calmness that meditation has added to my life. Jeena and Karen are offering the profession a profound gift.”
—Mary B. Cranston, retired CEO of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman,
LLC; first woman to head a major global law firm
“As an attorney who has struggled with substance use, eating disorders and other mental health issues, mindfulness has been an invaluable tool in my recovery. It is great to see Jeena and Karen leading the way with The Anxious Lawyer.”
—Brian Cuban, author of Shattered Image, My Triumph Over Body Dysmorphic
“The mindfulness movement in law has been criticized for distracting lawyers’ focus from the needs of the client to those of the lawyer. But today’s increasingly stressed-out, indebted, hostile, overworked, unmindful lawyers will never be effective advocates or counselors for their clients without the tools to understand and manage their inner lives. The journeys, instruction, and, most significantly, examples that Jeena Cho and Karen Gifford provide in The Anxious Lawyer are not only enlightened but desperately needed in the legal profession.”
—Dan Lear, Director of Industry Relations, Avvo; Chief Gadfly, Right
“A wonderful, detailed guide to meditation highlighted with intriguing and relatable personal stories that all professional women can learn from and enjoy! As a physician, I know that my life and stress can be improved by implementing the lessons in this book. This book cultivates personal insight and ability to filter surrounding influences which are invaluable strengths for personal and professional success.”
—Heather B. Leisy, MD, MBA, President, AMWA Resident Division