As we constantly hear from clients, they aren’t looking for outside counsel with the greatest number of Chambers rankings or the most impressive resumes. Beyond baseline expectations like responsiveness and capabilities, clients want outside counsel who are enjoyable to work with and approach matters with a creative, problem-solving mentality.
One way to encourage those attributes, both in ourselves and our firms, is through the practice of mindfulness. At our 2019 Wicker Park Group Client Relationship Symposium, we heard wellness expert Tara Antonipillai (a former Arnold & Porter attorney) speak about how mindfulness increases your ability to relate to others as well as your optimism and creativity.
Extensive studies have shown that mindfulness functionally changes the physical brain. Our amygdala, which processes emotions like fear, becomes less active and our hippocampus, which deals with attention and memory, becomes denser. Also, mindfulness helps us lower stress and self-regulate.
While incorporating mindfulness into a firm’s culture can be a challenge, Antonipillai suggests a few best practices:
- Start small.
- Use the time you have.
- Embrace technology.
- Find a champion at the firm.
- It doesn’t have to be expensive, just consistent.
- Try to limit barriers to entry (paperwork, sign-ups, etc.)
And if you want to start by improving your own mindfulness, she suggests a few apps and other resources to get you started:
- Stop, Breathe & Think
- Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), University of Massachusetts
- UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center
- UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness