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Shouldn't You Be a Mindful Lawyer?

Naperville business and estate planning attorney Mark C. Metzger regularly gives presentations on mindfulness for lawyers, as he will be doing at the ISBA Solo and Small Firm Practice Institute in Bloomington March 16 (find out more at And he regularly encounters a couple of misconceptions, the first of which is that mindfulness and meditation are one and the same, when in fact the latter is a technique commonly used to achieve the former.

The second misconception? "To most buttoned-down Midwesterners, meditation still has connotations of woo-woo hippie weirdness, sitting on a rock somewhere," Metzger says.

In fact, Metzger recalls a recent experience that underscored for him the reluctance of many people to engage in meditation and other mindfulness practices due to the social stigma. After one presentation, an attendee approached Metzger furtively and "confessed" that he had been meditating for 20 years - and that Metzger was the first person he had ever told.

"That's the standard-bearer for the level of unease," he said. "He had somehow constructed a story that it was incompatible with being an upstanding professional. I want to 'de-ickify' it."

Jeena Cho, a San Francisco-based bankruptcy attorney and mindfulness trainer, notes that lawyers often deal with people during unhappy times in their lives, which can add to attorneys' own stress. "We need to have some level of objectivity and distance, without being detached," she says. "Being with someone who is going through a personal injury, or some type of issue, that is not easy for us to do. It's a wonderful tool we can use in these really difficult moments when it doesn't seem like the law is an adequate tool to remedy the situation."

Find out how mindfulness can help you reduce stress, concentrate better, and connect with clients in the March Illinois Bar Journal.

Posted on February 21, 2018 by Mark S. Mathewson