Friday, March 11, 2011

THE LAW OF MINDFULNESS

The statistics regarding lawyer depression, divorce, suicide, physical and mental illness, and alcohol and other substance abuse are simply staggering.

Over 50 per cent of practising lawyers describe themselves as emotionally dissatisfied with their work and their lives.

Lawyers top the list of professions whose members suffer from a major depressive order. Their rate of depression is some 3.6 times higher than employed persons generally.

Lawyers also suffer from alcoholism and illegal drug use (in particular, snorting cocaine) at rates far higher than non-lawyers.

The divorce rate among lawyers is also higher than the divorce rate among other professionals.

What’s even more disturbing is that these statistics seem to get worse each year!

As an erstwhile lawyer, and also for many years a senior lecturer-in-law, I know that one of the “secrets” of being a good lawyer is to learn how to “think like a lawyer” (ugh!). Unfortunately, neither law school nor the law firm teaches you how to deal with what one lawyer has described as the “intense emotions” involved in lawyering.

In this recent blog from mindful.org Barry Boyce, the senior editor of Shambhala Sun, the leading Buddhist magazine, profiles three mindfulness programs for lawyers.


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