Scott Rogers, M.S., J.D., is founder and director of the University of Miami School of Law’s Mindfulness in Law Program where...
Christine Bilbrey is a Senior Practice Management Advisor at The Florida Bar’s Practice Resource Center. She holds a master’s...
Jonathon Israel is the Director of The Florida Bar’s Practice Resource Institute (PRI) in Tallahassee, Florida. He provides law...
The practice of law can be filled with stress and conflict that can have a harmful impact on a lawyer’s wellness. In this episode of The Florida Bar Podcast, hosts Christine Bilbrey and Jonathon Israel talk to Scott Rogers about using mindfulness as a way to maintain well-being as a lawyer. They discuss what mindfulness is not, how it affects the brain, and why mindfulness is relevant to lawyers specifically. They also explore the impact of technology on people’s well-being.
Scott Rogers is founder and director of the University of Miami School of Law’s Mindfulness in Law Program where he teaches Mindful Ethics, Mindful Leadership, and Mindfulness in Law and he co-founded the University of Miami’s Mindfulness Research & Practice Initiative.
This podcast has been approved by The Florida Bar Continuing Legal Education Department for 0.5 hours of General CLE Credit including 0.5 hours of Mental Illness Awareness CLE Credit. Course #: 2751.
The Florida Bar Podcast
The Power and Practice of Mindfulness
Intro: Welcome to The Florida Bar Podcast, where we highlight the latest trends in law office and law practice management to help you run your law firm, brought to you by The Florida Bar’s Practice Resource Institute. You are listening to Legal Talk Network.
Christine Bilbrey: Hello and welcome to The Florida Bar Podcast brought to you by The Practice Resource Institute on Legal Talk Network. Thank you for joining us. This is Christine Bilbrey. I am a Practice Management Advisor at PRI and one of the host for today’s show, which is being recorded from our offices in Tallahassee, Florida.
Jonathon Israel: Hello. I am Jonathon Israel and I am the Director of The Florida Bar’s Practice Resource Institute. Our goal at PRI is to assist Florida attorneys with running the business side of their law practices. We will be focusing on a different topic each month and we will carry that theme through our digital newsletter, website and with related articles and resources.
Christine Bilbrey: So this month at PRI we are focusing on the wellbeing of our members. One of the priorities this year of The Florida Bar is improving the health and wellness of our members. And so joining us today is Scott Rogers. Scott is a nationally recognized leader in the area of mindfulness in law and founded and directs the University of Miami School of Law Mindfulness in Law Program, where he teaches Mindful Ethics, Mindful Leadership, and Mindfulness in Law.
He is the creator of Jurisight®, one of the first CLE programs in the country to integrate mindfulness and neuroscience. Since 2010 Professor Rogers has been collaborating on neuroscience research exploring the enduring brain and behavior changes that may accompany mindfulness-training programs.
Before Scott became a mindfulness in law expert, he clerked for the Chief Judge of the Northern District of Florida and with Rosemary Barkett, on both the Supreme Court of Florida and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
He went on to practice commercial litigation. He has authored the “The Six-Minute Solution: A Mindfulness Primer for Lawyers”, “Mindfulness for Law Students”, “Mindfulness and Professional Responsibility”, and the soon to be released “The Elements of Mindfulness.”
He lectures across the country, speaks at law and scientific conferences, and has appeared on television, The Huffington Post and National Public Radio. His work at the University of Miami School of Law has appeared in the Wall Street Journal and his research has been written about in the New York Times.
We are very fortunate here at the Florida Bar that he has a regular monthly column in the Florida Bar news and is also a contributor to the Florida Bar Journal. Welcome to the show Scott.
Scott Rogers: Thank you Christine. Good to be here.
Christine Bilbrey: So Scott, tell our listeners a little bit about yourself and the path that led you to your work on mindfulness in the law.
Scott Rogers: Well, I have the great joy of being here at the University of Miami School of Law where I get to interact with wonderful colleagues and remarkable student sharing and learning about this thing called mindfulness and the ways it can be meaningful to our life, personally and professional.
And I would say that I was first introduced to a formal contemplative practice like mindfulness when I was in law school, which makes it all that more interesting and meaningful to be sharing it here, and that over the course of my professional career and the various things that you have spoken to and then life happening along the way, relationships, children, family, people aging, the highs and the lows, if we frame it that way of life, and the law, mindfulness was a very meaningful way of really being here for this life, whatever came along and finding the capacity, and more so as time passes and I continue to practice to really stay present. And I found that to be very meaningful personally and I enjoy sharing that with others and learning from others along the way.
Christine Bilbrey: So when we talked before you told me about what mindfulness is and I definitely want you to explain that to our listeners, but I want to dispel some myths right at the beginning, so tell our listeners what mindfulness is not.
Scott Rogers: Okay. Well, I think that a lot of people tend to think of mindfulness at first glance as sort of a crunchy, crunchy, and I like the crunchy, crunchy, touchy-feely, and I like the touchy-feely, but nonetheless, practice or exercise that’s really designed to feel better, feel calmer, somehow not get so caught up in what’s taking place and take a break from what’s taking place, which at times of course in life can be quite consequential, quite important and quite challenging.
And so mindfulness as one of many contemplative practices, that is to say there are many types of meditation, many of which are quite important and helpful in a variety of ways, you could say that mindfulness is one type of meditative practice, but in many ways it doesn’t even necessarily resemble what we might think of as meditation, and as a result mindfulness is more about being present for what unfolds in our life and having the resilience and developing and cultivating the resilience and capacity to stay present when things aren’t going the way we want them to, when situations are arising that get us angry, where we can really stay on our game.
And it’s not, so this would be the myth perhaps, it’s not about somehow eliminating or changing our thoughts or changing the experience or removing ourselves from the experience, as much as it is finding a way to stay present amidst the uncomfortable moments of the day and of our life, and rise to a higher level, our own natural level of capability and expertise and somehow find a way of finding that satisfying, even if the moment isn’t going the way we would want it to.
So it’s not just about feeling better or feeling calmer, although it oftentimes can lead to that. And it’s also not esoteric, it’s not mystical, it’s not bringing us off to some religious or spiritual plane; it’s very much about being here and then each person can make of it what they wish in its larger aspect I suppose.
Christine Bilbrey: So I think we all know what meditation looks like. People have kind of stepped out of the activity around them. If someone is practicing mindfulness, what does that look like?
Scott Rogers: Well, that’s a really interesting question, with a lot of possible answers. If one is living their life, whatever they might be doing in that moment, they may well be being mindfully engaged; in fact, that’s really what it’s all about, being mindfully engaged and a little bit more mindfully aware, a little bit less on automatic pilot as we go through our day.
So a person could be in court interacting with the judge or communicating to the jury or responding to opposing counsel and be practicing mindfulness or be mindfully engaged, and that’s an interesting distinction where we practice and where we are more naturally inclined to be spontaneously there for the moment.
So one can be going about their day, one can be interacting with somebody at lunch, having a meal and being a little bit more present for the flavors, for the taste of that meal. Now, that’s not to say that they are doing something special; it’s that they are not so likely to get lost in what can take them away from it.
So eating a meal, engaging in the practice of law, being at home with family and friends, it really can take any form, but also to that point, and as more and more law firms are getting interested in making mindfulness available to their team, you can have people come together and say let’s practice this together.
Not unlike you could go to the gym and you can exercise and that would be sort of exercising this muscle of attention, where you are — in a variety of ways, but you are sitting and you are placing your attention on an object or you are standing or walking and placing your attention on an object, like the breath, and when your mind wanders, you bring your attention back. So that would be the practice of mindfulness that would take that more traditional form, but it’s all about being in the service of all of the moments of our life and one is not preferential over the other.
Jonathon Israel: Yeah. These are some great points Scott, because when I first heard the word mindfulness, I thought of how my watch taps my wrist every four hours or so and says, hey, you need to take a breath and chill out for a minute, but this has gone way beyond just that; it’s not just shutting things off for a minute, it’s really trying to be aware of everything around you and how it’s affecting you in that moment.
Scott Rogers: Yeah. I think Jonathon, that’s a very good point, to the extent that that every four hours watch goes off and you are distracted and lost in thought, so it wakes you up, so to speak, it is a meaningful aspect of what it is to become more mindfully aware. But right, if it’s about somehow in that moment when that watch goes off, taking a breath to do nothing more than feel better, while that can certainly be meaningful and worth doing, that would be not the sum total of what mindfulness is all about.
Christine Bilbrey: So Scott, you have been focused on mindfulness for many years, but it seems like in the legal community this is a hot topic now. And so attorneys are really starting to embrace the practice of mindfulness as the concern has grown about how the practice of law can weigh on and impact the health of lawyers and judges. I know that that’s the focus with us here in Florida. Are you seeing that everywhere and are people just finally addressing it or what has caused this to be so on the front burner now?
Scott Rogers: Yeah, yeah, it’s a good question. I don’t know that I have the complete answer and I think it’s an evolving answer. But part of it is I think that the law is very stressful or it can have moments that are very stressful, that a lot of people historically who have gone into the law, because they find it intellectually challenging and they want to be of service and they just find it to be a very meaningful environment, that over the years something has seem to have gotten in the way; satisfaction with the practice of law, levels of civility and just interacting with other people not being as pleasant as it might historically have been or one would like it to be, and then just incidents of people grappling with anxiety and depression, the prospect of suicidal thoughts and suicide itself.
These are all things that I think are having both legal education and the various bar associations and legal organizations saying, well, as it relates to wellbeing, and that’s a hugely important part of what mindfulness can be very helpful, and where a lot of the research is pointing, we need tools. We need to find a way of skillfully meeting our lawyers and our law students and our judges where they are and mindfulness is one of those vehicles for doing so.
There’s also the issue of we live in a very highly distractible world, with increasingly distracting devices, and it’s a very busy, fast-paced time and multitasking seems to be necessary in one form or another. And so that’s sort of a complementary aspect of this, that our attention is depleted, that our ability to keep focus and stay on task is diminished. So in terms of performance, there’s the importance of mindfulness as, at its most fundamental sense, perhaps a practice of steadying our attention.
And ultimately, it’s very important to us that the two are very much connected. As our attention wanders and we become less able to stay on task, we are more likely to lose focus, to wander off into the past and future and to become anxious and have our mood affected, that wasn’t really necessary in that moment. It’s just that we sort of lost touch with what we were doing.
So I think that the law from a variety of perspectives and the legal profession caring very much about its membership and the role it plays in society, where we need a steadying voice and we need a steadying intellect and we need the capacity to hold conflict and not get derailed by it, mindfulness as it has become increasingly relevant in the public proper has become I think especially looked to in that regard.
Christine Bilbrey: And there’s a corollary, because we are talking about mindfulness in law, but when I look into all the things that you are doing, you are also teaching this to physicians and firefighters, football players down at the University of Miami, soldiers. Can you talk about mindfulness, what’s the common thread that these groups — and obviously some of these things are stressful, but when you talk about working with the military, how are they incorporating mindfulness that also helps attorneys?
Scott Rogers: Yeah, it’s a really important question. I have the great joy of collaborating with a cognitive neuroscientist Amishi Jha, who is here on the faculty at the University of Miami and it’s through the UMindfulness, Mindfulness Research and Practice Initiative and her lab that various grants are at play to do just what you spoke to.
And the common thread that runs through much of that is high stakes, high consequence, unpredictable, complex environments, where the way we conduct ourselves really matters, where we become reckless or where we become — our attention wanders, can be hugely consequential. Sometimes it can be a matter of life and death; sometimes it could be the life and death of our client.
And so in these various real world scenarios and of course the practice of law is very much a part of that, but certainly as you mentioned, the military, firefighters et cetera, there are these high stakes, high consequence, high stress environments that we find ourselves in and mistakes can be made. And at the same time when we are more at the top of our game and we are really doing that which we are trained to do and we are expert at doing and we are developing that expertise, we can accomplish extraordinary things and make the world a better place.
And I think that many groups are realizing that this is an important time to really sort of figure out how to catch ourselves as we are slipping into environments and into organizational and societal states, where distraction is more the call of the moment than attentiveness, and that’s without our really — even with the best of our intentions.
Christine Bilbrey: So what kind of results are you seeing? Like I know that you are actually doing some long-term studies, I think I read some about the football players, like the way they were able to improve their performance.
Scott Rogers: Yeah, it little bit touches on what you raised earlier about some of the misconceptions. So in some of the research what we do is we look at an active control as opposed to a group that doesn’t do anything in contrast to the group that’s getting the mindfulness training, in the case of the football players; the other group had relaxation training. And this is really nice because it’s able to have us compare a group that’s getting a relaxation training and that’s certainly valuable for a lot of reasons and a group that’s getting a mindfulness training.
And in that particular study, for example, we find that when it comes to looking at attention and the ability to maintain or to bolster attention, especially in the midst of a very challenging time and in that particular study they were leading up to a very challenging time academically, as well as in terms of where things were with their practice, we find that the attentional capacity is maintained and supported for those who receive the mindfulness training, but it’s compromised as it tends to be in general with those who are receiving the relaxation training.
Now, wellbeing in that particular study was found to be supported by both those in the mindfulness training group and in the relaxation training group, because we also looked at their overall wellbeing. But in terms of the cognitive, for example, capacity as it relates to attention, only the mindfulness group was found to have been benefited, if you will, by that training.
Jonathon Israel: I have a question kind of on technology, so much of what we have done here in PRI has focused on technology and how it can aid the practice and the business side of law, but I guess I have a two-pronged question for you in that. One, how much is technology affecting the mindfulness and the wellbeing of everybody out there? I say for myself, you walk into a restaurant to go pick up your food, your food is not ready, first thing you do is grab your phone out of your pocket and start searching through Twitter or whatever else you want to look at.
And then on the flip side of that, how is technology helping you in your research and in your efforts to improve the mindfulness and wellbeing?
Scott Rogers: That’s a great question. Isn’t that wonderful that the very thing that might be the source of problems, if you will, might also be the solution? Yeah, I think what you spoke to rings very true and I think we all in one form or another understand how it is that our devices are really taking us off task and/or very much in the vein that you spoke to or just not allowing us to comfortably have nothing that we need to be doing to be okay.
We are sort of looking for more stimulation, always looking for more stimulation, and so to get in line and just stand there and just sort of look around and take stock and just sort of be present, whatever that might mean to a person in that moment is something we tend not to do.
And so having so much of our devices so with us and looking to them for so many things has really gotten us in the habit of doing that. I think there was some research I read a while ago about how the brains, especially of those who have grown up with these technologies, is different in a certain respect. And it might very much relate to the tendency to just naturally be distracted by and then moving into whatever it is that takes our attention away and then it just jumps from there to there and on, and that can have a definite toll.
We are not multi-taskers, our brains are not, and this is talked about wonderfully, it’s talked about more and more, we don’t multitask the way that we think we do. Every time we turn our attention to something else, even if for a moment, something is compromised, and usually it’s the thing that we were attending to a moment earlier, even if we get right back to it.
So your point is very well-taken. The technology is wonderful as it is and can offer us so many beneficial aspects to our productivity and wellbeing in a variety of ways is also something we have to reckon with in this regard.
But wonderfully enough, there are a growing number of apps, some of them quite helpful and quite well-done and in other ways that technologies are coming in to help us tone down and curb our attention to technologies, the ways you can have it where you can push a button on a device and have it where it won’t interrupt you for a while. You have got these extended periods of quiet, if you seek them out.
So I think that you have said it very nicely, the technology is — certainly it can pull us away and the technology can help bring us back. I think the key question is who is in charge of who? Is the technology in charge of us or are we in charge of the technology?
There’s a saying from a while back that the ego makes a wonderful servant but a terrible master. And I think this is very much the same thing with our technology. It makes a wonderful servant, it makes a wonderful tool, but not if it’s the other way around. And mindfulness I think can be very helpful in regard to that in a very meaningful way, because we become more aware.
Jonathon Israel: Do you see any increase in organizations preventing their employees from bringing personal devices to work to try and keep them on task and keep them focused? Do you see any benefits?
Scott Rogers: Yeah, Jonathon, that’s a really good question. I certainly know that, and maybe you are familiar with some of the environments, I think some countries or some organizations are having it where in one form or another they are saying no emails after this period of time for a certain number of hours, and really I think that’s directed towards the wellbeing of the employees. I think the law is a very tricky animal in this regard.
I think that I am not — so I know that there is interest in not having technology rule the day; I think it’s finding this important balance that we can be attentive to each other and our collaborative embrace in the practice of law, attentive to our clients, but at the same time not be slave to the device and to be able to tell the difference.
And I think that’s the larger opportunity here and I think that’s something that law firms appreciate, just because you have a device and just because it’s texting you at that moment or the text is going off, doesn’t mean you have to turn and all of a sudden abandon and jettison what you were doing, there is a discernment moment and oftentimes that moment is lost.
We just react and we get sucked in or pulled into and there is a feeling of urgency or a feeling of excitement or whatever it may be and we’re not actually making the decision to turn to the device, it’s sort of being made for us and then the moment is lost to us in many respects.
So I think that there will be more of what you are talking about for sure, and I think when everyone sort of subscribes to it in some form, it can work, but I do think especially with the practice of law that practically and realistically it’s both creating those boundaries and those rules that we all might agree to for our own well-being but at the same time even more perhaps it’s really taking ownership of the decision of when to turn to and when to immerse in, and when to be able to communicate to somebody, can I get back to you on that as opposed to just taking care of it or in some other form being good to one’s self, and good to one’s professional responsibilities and obligations.
Christine Bilbrey: And talking about who is controlling who, when I was doing research before this interview you had quoted, I think another researcher that talked about, we may have lost the ability to sit alone and quietly in a room for 20 minutes. So I was in the car and I thought I will turn off the radio, I usually listen to NPR and I will just try to be really present as I am driving, and it’s gotten a lot harder. I don’t think that that used to be an issue, so I wonder how much our brains have changed from the devices if we are all like Pavlov’s dog jumping every time we get the text.
So again I was trying to practice mindfulness in the car, but then I wonder so if we have done something to our attention spans, can we fix it, and I know that you have done some neuroscience research exploring the enduring brain and behavior changes that can accompany mindfulness training programs. So what can we do that’s positive for our brain long term with mindfulness training?
Scott Rogers: Sure. In that question you really cut to the very heart of what is mindfulness training and what is the practicing of mindfulness in the first place, so I am very glad you raised that.
We are going to be pulled away in lots of directions. We are going to get lots of emails, we are going to get lots of text, that’s not going to change anytime real soon.
What tends to happen though is this, when an email comes, when a text comes, when we think about somebody who said they might want to have lunch and we are getting a little hungry, the mind wanders off or the body becomes engaged and we just sort of lose ourselves and go off with where the mind goes. We have a thought, oh, I should call that person and see if they want to have lunch. I mean, two minutes earlier we were in the middle of emotion, and we still had a good half-hour, 45 minutes to responsibly and take care of and then feel good about it, but we gotten a little hungry and we had this little thought and we just called the person, and they go, yeah, it sounds great and then two minutes later we are out the door, or whatever that may be.
What’s happening is, there is something going on in the interior of thought, feeling, sensations, and we’re not aware as much as we could be that those signals are arising, and as a result we’re just pulled away and off we go.
But the practice of mindfulness because as we spoke of earlier, it’s really not about calming down or feeling better, though it very much is in the service of, it serves that purpose. It’s more about an immediate instance noticing when we begin to wander away because we can actually be aware of our thoughts as opposed to just sort of following the mandate of our thought, and that’s a huge insight. When one begins to realizing the practice of mindfulness, facilitates this with a greater and greater clarity through more and more practice and observation that we are being pulled away by a thought that’s directing us to do something else, we notice the thought, we go, oh, my gosh, there is that thought. It could be a judgment about somebody else that isn’t quite right, but we’re believing it or it could be to take action that isn’t called upon or isn’t necessary at that moment.
If we are aware that we’re having that thought, if we’re aware of that impulse, we have a choice. And we can choose to go with it or we can choose to stay put with where we were a moment earlier. That’s the superpower, if you will, or that’s the real advantage of being more mindfully aware, and when we develop that through the practice of mindfulness in its first instance, perhaps, then much of what you are speaking to gets taken care of because we are able to catch ourselves before we step into it, and that can have a very significant role to play in a world of ethics and professional responsibility in terms of the decisions that we make on the fly with regards to clients, et cetera.
So it’s that fundamental practice of mindfulness which is to place our attention on an object and when we notice our mind wandering from that object to bring our attention back from which so much of this flows.
Christine Bilbrey: And then what, what parts of the brain are affected by this, if you have been practicing mindfulness for a long time? I know that they can actually — are able to measure some differences in someone who has a well-developed mindfulness practice?
Scott Rogers: Yeah, well I will happily respond. I think it’s fascinating. I do want to say that the science and the technology is still got a long way to go, so I think we should see these findings as meaningful, as interesting, as inspiring, but we should also as all good those who attend to — the evidence that’s presented to us to also know that it’s going to evolve and we’re going to learn more.
And so what we find — but then ultimately Christine and Jonathan, it’s really our own direct experience. I mean, you don’t ultimately need another source to tell you that the practice that you are doing is reaping its benefits, but, but, because it is fascinating in terms of these structural and functional changes to the brain, for example, the core of the brain as you may know has gyri and sulci has got these folds, it’s sort of crumpled up, that’s very important for a surface area that you can pack a lot into the skull that way.
As we age there is a thinning of the cortex. As we age there is a less rumpling, it sort of softens a little bit. Research has found going back to a study from 2005 which was a real breakaway study by Sarah Lazar at Harvard that there was less thinning of the cortex as people aged who practiced mindfulness as compared to who that didn’t.
We found the gyrification, that’s those folds that there is greater gyrification among those who practice mindfulness. So these are structural changes, let alone functional. Functional means that when you direct your attention in a certain way that the functioning of the brain changes and that can be enduring as well. These are actual structural changes.
So that’s why it’s oftentimes mindfulness is spoken of as exercising the muscle of attention. It’s very much, even though the brain is an organ and not a muscle is like we are exercising this attentional capacity. So not surprisingly, parts of the brain that are responsible and associated with attention with the regulation of emotion, there is a part of the brain called the amygdala that’s getting talked a lot about, it sort of resides in the limbic system, it’s very much connected to fear and its activation in terms of the arousal of fear and related feeling states and emotions. And research is finding that there is a less activation of the amygdala in response to stressful stimuli for those who have been practicing mindfulness, even a thinning of the fibers of the amygdala for those who are practicing mindfulness.
So this is just sort of an example of and there is a growing body and a really interesting and important body of research that’s finding the more and more of the ways in which this simple practicing of mindfulness, we are sitting, we are not seemingly doing anything, but actually there is a lot that we are engaging in through the development and the cultivation and deliberately of our attention to bring about those sorts of findings, not to mention in the realms of well-being and in medical health more generally immune functioning improves, inflammation is diminished, there is something important about our genetic structure and telomeres which have to do with longevity that are strengthened as a result of mindfulness.
So what’s really fascinating, and I think what has a lot of people really intrigued is, “Really? Really? This is leading to that?” What is going on? And I think for anybody who practices mindfulness when you begin to realize that which we spoke of a moment ago, you begin to notice your own mental activity and you cultivate the capacity to be more in-charge of your own life, moment to moment, reactivity, decision-making or even feeling calm and at ease, that’s really powerful, and the science is pointing to that in very important ways that no longer today seem so surprising. But 10 or 15 years ago it would have almost been anathema to our understanding of medical science.
Christine Bilbrey: It’s fascinating. So that’s the actual physical changes, but I know that research is also showing that a mindful practice can be helpful with anxiety and depression, substance abuse, and general well-being, which is obviously one of the focuses of what the Bar is doing for our members that we really want to start to help with those quality of life issues.
So I am curious, after you have been doing this long, the mindful teaching, do you have any anecdotal evidence like I know it’s gratifying when teachers, students come back and see them. Do you have anecdotal evidence of your University of Miami law students that have touch base with you to let you know that this is helping them as they have gone out into the world in the practice of law?
Scott Rogers: That’s a nice question. Yeah, I have been here since 2008, and so there have been a good number of students that have gone off and have gotten immersed in the practice of law, and I think that what I hear and what colleagues of mine around the country hear is that from taking the Bar and setting for the Bar which of course can be very stressful and of course call for a lot of organization and commitment to the practice of law and especially those aspects that are high-stress and there can be a lot of anxiety as well as interpersonal tumult that can lead to a lot of dissatisfaction and waking up at 3 o’clock in the morning; that when one begins to catch their mind as it begins to wander.
For example, wandering into future, so it’s a wonderful thing to say, oh my gosh, I began to think about that hearing in two weeks even though I’m working on this completely unrelated matter. So this is what a student might say and this is what I’ve heard, and I caught my mind wandering and because I caught it early, I wasn’t as agitated, I wasn’t as anxious as I would have been if I had not realized that for five minutes and I am visualizing worst case scenarios and I come back.
And then the breath can be a stabilizing force or paying attention to whatever it is that’s in your immediate midst brings you back, stabilizes and steadies you, so you can get on with the task at hand or people will say, I don’t dwell on the past, I don’t ruminate over the things that didn’t go as well as I would have liked, I’m sort of going back to it over and over and replaying, and importantly beginning to learn from it.
So now I’m able to — people will say, learn from what didn’t go so well because I’m able to hold myself a little steadier as I reflect on it and not get so derailed because I’m disappointed in myself or I’m worried about what it might lead to. So I think that the two primary things that I hear are; the practice of mindfulness is really helpful before hearing, after a challenging interpersonal exchange and in the middle of trial, preparing for the Bar that the practices, the 5, 10, 15-minute practices that we learn those are helpful tools.
And then I’m different. I’m not as reactive as I used to be. A lot of people will comment on how relationships go much more smoothly because they are a little bit less reactive and in some ways interestingly, they’re a little bit more compassionate as a result of not being so reactive. So on the professional front and on the personal front, it’s not uncommon to hear very meaningful stories and learn from students’ ways in which it benefits them as they move into life in the law.
Christine Bilbrey: I love that. I think this is going to be very positive for a lot of attorneys that are listening today. And I want to let everyone know that we’re going to be posting links on the PRI website to some mindfulness resources and we’re even going to have a video CLE that Scott Rogers has created that you can get one free hour of credit for. And I know that we’re going to be hearing more from you, Scott, as you continue very graciously to assist the Bar with this program all year long.
Well, it looks like we’ve reached the end of our program and I want to thank Scott Rogers for joining us today.
Scott Rogers: Thank You Christine and Jonathon. It’s just been a delight to be here with you and to have this conversation.
Christine Bilbrey: If our listeners have questions for you or they want to follow up with you and find out more, what’s the best way for them to reach you or to find the things that you are putting out there for the public?
Scott Rogers: Okay, wonderful question. Well, I think thanks to many in your organization; certainly thanks to Michael Higer; the president, who is now on the heels of the prior presidents really moving this health and wellness to a hugely important pivotal place in The Florida Bar. You’ve got The Florida Bar News, which as you indicated earlier on is now publishing each month the mindful lawyer column, that’s a wonderful place to hear about lawyers who have questions about mindfulness that are answered by other lawyers who’ve been practicing mindfulness or judges for a long time.
That’s I think an important resource and I welcome anybody who has a question about mindfulness in general or about really bringing it into a challenging situation to submit it and you can email me at HYPERLINK “mailto:[email protected]” [email protected], and I’ll field those questions so we can have a meaningful engaging conversation and lifting up of mindfulness to realize its practical application in a very real way.
And so, I think that would be one useful way. Anybody can reach out to me anytime, by calling or by email and also there — the University of Miami School of Law, it has a twice a month opportunity for lawyers and judges and others in the legal community to listen to a 12-minute guided practice, that’s live; sometimes guided by me, sometimes guided by a colleague, sometimes guided by a person who is a wonderful mindfulness teacher nationally.
And so, those are opportunities to practice as well as to ask questions and to learn information, and of course, what The Florida Bar is doing is just not only leading the way, I think in many, many ways nationally, but really helpful and accessible. So thank you for that.
Christine Bilbrey: That’s wonderful. Thank you, Scott. If you liked what you’ve heard today, please rate us in Apple podcast. Join us next time for another episode of The Florida Bar Podcast brought to you by the Practice Resource Institute on Legal Talk Network. I’m Christine Bilbrey.
Jonathon Israel: And until next time, I am Jonathon Israel. Thank you for listening.
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The official podcast of the State Bar of Florida.
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