Attorney Satisfaction Now Highly Dependent on Non-Monetary Factors

In addition to my law practice, I have provided consulting services to law firms for over fifteen years. Often, especially when dealing with partners who have been practicing for more than twenty years, a complaint commonly expressed is that associates (and employees in general) fail to take initiative to cultivate new business for the firm. This is often expressed as a shortcoming or sense of entitlement of younger generations.

In addition to the reality that the legal profession is now far more competitive for young attorneys, law practice today is substantively far more complex than it was twenty years ago. But perhaps this gap between older and younger attorneys represents a more fundamental shift in priorities among generations – a shift emphasizing greater inner peace and relegating material wealth as an end in itself to subordinate importance.

If this is true, then in order to retain talented associates, law firms must begin to devote more time and attention to more spiritual needs of their employees. More progressive companies such as Google are now incorporating mindfulness training into the daily work lives of its employees. Google realizes that emotional intelligence – cultivated through mindful awareness of present-moment experience – is at least as important, if not more so, than the intellectual capacity of its employees.

By emphasizing mindfulness, holistic law practice begins to shift the focus of attorneys toward the more foundational needs of clients as well as other attorneys. To learn more about how holistic law practice can help you, visit http://www.Holistic-Lawyer.com, or contact Holistic Lawyer Michael Lubofsky at (415) 508-6263.

Making Work Work

Whether one is a small business owner, entrepreneur, or employee, the search for a truly satisfying work life can seem constantly elusive. From a holistic perspective, this challenge can result from one or both of the following factors: (1) the goal of your enterprise or organization, or company for whom you work, is fundamentally at odds with a grounded sense of interconnectedness with being that we all share; an/or (2) the ways in which you are going about or performing your work are lacking in consciousness or present-moment awareness.

The unhappiness of people enmeshed in the above-described scenarios day after day permeates contemporary American society and is manifested in myriad health problems, substance abuse and other addictions, and lost productivity. In the context of legal problems, people in unhappy work situations are more prone to disputes with their employers, problems in their relationships, and financial difficulties.

For business owners, entrepreneurs, or others with ultimate enterprise control, the key is to cultivate a high degree of mindful attention to the present moment when contemplating the organizational mission. In developing mindfulness, one can come to dis-identify from conditioned, mind and ego-driven thoughts about what external factors can bring about “happiness” (e.g., personal wealth, power, control, etc.), and begin to connect with a more fundamental, innate sense that what one is doing is connected to the wider, all-inclusive concept of life in some meaningful way.

For employees who lack control over the mission of their employer, this exercise can become more challenging. It is becoming increasingly common, especially in this recessional economy, for workers to be interminably stuck in positions with misguided employers ou of sheer financial necessity. The lives of such workers, however, can be significantly improved by cultivating a more mindful approach to daily life. In this way, the how someone is doing a particular job is more important than what that person is doing. One who is tying his or her shoe with a high degree of mindfulness can realize far more inner peace than someone driving a Lamborghini on a freeway while talking on a cell phone.

My holistic law practice works with clients to not only solve their legal problems, but to also cultivate mindful awareness in a way that can improve their lives long after their legal issues have been resolved. To learn more about holistic law, call Michael Lubofsky, Esq. at (415) 508-6263, of visit http://www.Holistic-Lawyer.com.

Mindful Lawyering

Traditional legal training, from the first LSAT prep class to the final bar exam question, heavily emphasizes one’s ability to intellectually discern differences and analyze those differences in a most logical and detached fashion. Through immersion in this process over several years, one comes to almost exclusively engage intellectual faculties in the practice of law. We become especially attuned to differences among situations and, if one is not careful, among people.

This intellectual orientation, while honing one’s analytical acumen, can often lead to a spiritual void in which we come to completely overlook the commonality and connection that we all share. In losing this sense of connectedness, we can easily lose the ability to connect with clients in a meaningful way. Opportunities are lost to make a real difference in client’s lives.

Holistic practice has at its core a primary emphasis on the connection that we all share to simple present-moment being. In developing a practice of mindful lawyering, attorneys can become far better able to identify and address core client issues in a way that can help the client move forward more successfully in his or her life long after the resolution of legal issues.

In spiritually-engaged mindful lawyering, one’s intellectual and analytical faculties are somewhat relegated to the function of “tools” to be deployed once the unique life situation of the individual client has come to be understood. Through more mindful lawyering, attorneys can come to play an important role in the social transformation that they may have directed their course to law as a profession in the first instance.

To learn more about integrating mindful lawyering into your practice, contact Holistic Lawyer Michael Lubofsky, Esq. at (415) 508-6263 or visit http://www.holistic-lawyer.com/attorney-coaching/.

When Legal Practice Becomes “Ego” Practice

In traditional legal education we are taught how to identify issues, adopt positions, and create logical arguments to advance and defend these positions. In the process of creating these arguments and in preparing to verbally defend our adopted positions, we begin to internalize a notion that our position is “right” and the position of the other is “wrong.” To some extent, this polarization is necessary to inject needed passion into an oral argument.

After immersing ourselves in this process of polarization for three years in law school, most of us enter a profession calling on our acquired ability to identify and advocate adopted positions on behalf of clients for most of our waking hours.

Problems soon arise, however, when that dualistic orientation becomes a way of life extending beyond professional environments. In my experience as an attorney and in interactions with other attorneys for almost 25 years, this problem seems very common among attorneys.

What often happens as legal training takes root is that an attorney begins to lose touch with the truth that life tends not to reduce itself to ideas of “right” and “wrong.” Life pretty much just “is.” The extent to which we try and get life to adopt our ideas of right and wrong, in the same way that we might approach a judge, will largely dictate our degree of unhappiness in life.

It is a real challenge for an attorney to dis-identify from the conditioned way of seeing the world as “right” or “wrong,” and from the tendency to advocate and defend one’s mental positions. I speak from personal experience in reflecting back on the myriad situations in my life in which I have been confronted by another person or life situation that failed to square with my egoistic notion of how things “should” be, and how I reactively, with little consciousness, dug my heels in and embarked on a mission to prove how I was right and how the other was wrong. Most often, this exercise has done little more than cause the situation before me to further deteriorate.

The antidote for this tendency can be found in mindfulness training. Through this training, one can begin to again connect with the real nature of things as they are, and begin to break the grip of the polarized orientation instilled by legal training and practice. This mindfulness training is an integral component of my professional coaching services for attorneys. To learn more, visit http://www.holistic-lawyer.com or call Michael Lubofsky, Esq., at (415) 508-6263.

How to Better Connect With Clients

Most law clients fit into one of two categories: (1) individuals facing consequences involving perceived loss; or (2) individuals or corporate entities looking to maximize material or financial wealth. In either case, most clients are likely struggling to some degree to accept the impermanence of certain aspects of their lives that they had come to incorporate into a thought-based or egoistic sense of self (e.g., a significant relationship, a job, personal safety, freedom, etc.). While an attorney’s learned expertise lies in a working knowledge of laws and procedures necessary to advance or defend a client’s legal rights, in most cases clients can reap far greater benefit (and be far more satisfied) with counsel able to truly connect with the client’s inner core of being.

This connection manifests itself when an attorney deals with client from a foundation of heightened present-moment awareness. When the relationship springs from this point, the usually disconnected attorney/client relationship dissolves. The client begins to deal with the attorney in a far more honest and authentic fashion. New, creative solutions become possible that would never have surfaced in the traditionally disjointed attorney/client relationship. In this way, the client is far more likely to realize a true, lasting benefit from the attorney’s services.

Though seldom taught in law schools, a practicing attorney can cultivate an ability to connect with clients in this way through mindfulness training. To learn more about mindfulness training for attorneys and how this can benefit your practice, visit http://www.holistic-lawyer.com/attorney-coaching/ or contact Michael Lubofsky, Esq., Holistic Lawyer at (415) 508-6263.

Law Practice as a Springboard to Inner Peace

Holistic law practice emphasizes the unique core of an individual that lies beyond his or her “problematic” real life legal situations. The holistic focus, emphasizing mindful attention on the present moment, often collides in law practice with client concerns which are typically future-focused, often manifesting themselves in the emotion of fear. This clash between present-moment awareness and projected future concerns, however, can also serve as fertile ground in which to plant the seeds of inner peace.

My holistic practice tends to work simultaneously on two planes: (1) the practical plane emphasizing real-life legal solutions; and (2) the “spiritual” plane which aims to heighten one’s mindfulness and dis-identification from learned conditioning in a way that will lead to deeper internal peace. Improved mindful attention to the present moment will often lead to otherwise overlooked creative legal solutions as well as a reduced likelihood that the client will repeat decisions, behaviors, and reactions which may have contributed in no small way to the client’s current legal difficulties.

In my initial meeting with a client, there is a focus on understanding his or her current legal situation to ensure that timely actions are taken to preserve and defend the client’s legal rights and/or defenses. A blueprint for addressing the client’s legal issues is laid out so that the client can begin to let go of some of the fear that he or she has come to associate with current legal difficulties. Ideally, from this point forward in the holistic representation, meetings become more oriented towards the cultivation of mindfulness. Less time in future sessions is devoted to he practical solution-oriented aspects of representation – the tenor shifts more from attorney to counselor.

From this point forward, our in-person sessions present both challenges and opportunities to begin letting go of future-oriented concerns triggered by legal issues and to begin a deepening of one’s present-moment awareness and inner peace.

As an example, a client facing a divorce involving children may, through our mindfulness sessions, come to identify certain entrenched thoughts which, upon closer examination, are directly contributing to strong “fears” that their legal situation may cause them to “lose everything,” e.g., identity as a spouse, a parent, etc. These fears may be causing the client to react in ways that are actually exacerbating the client’s situation, e.g., “clingy” or obsessive behavior, manipulation of children so as to win their approval vis a vis the other spouse, etc.

Through our mindfulness sessions, however, a client can begin to internalize the notion that he or she need not be defined by his or her thoughts. The client begins to cultivate an ability to connect with a more grounded sense of being that lies beyond his or her conditioned thinking, and beyond the prior importance the client had put on his or her status as this or that. In becoming more present focused, negative thoughts associated with formerly projected negative future outcomes begin to dissipate. The client comes to realize a whole new way of approaching life. The client’s previously destructive behaviors begin to cease.

In this way, holistic law practice can serve as a unique springboard for truly improving the lives of clients, and society as a whole. To learn more about holistic law practice, visit http://www.holistic-lawyer.com, or call Michael Lubofsky, Holistic Lawyer, at (415) 508-6263.

The Shortcomings of Traditional Law Practice

Holistic law practice fundamentally differs from traditional law practice in that is works both to resolve a client’s immediate legal problems as well as to cultivate a foundation for future happiness in a way that greatly reduces the likelihood of similar future legal problems. As I have written elsewhere, legal problems and personal suffering often share the same root in one’s identification with a constructed sense of “self” perceived as separate from other life forms. Instead of a life connected to a non-dualistic sense of “being,” the fictional sense of “self” or “ego” is inherently insecure based on the simple fact that it is not real. As a result, we constantly strive to satiate cravings or aversions of the ego which surface largely as a result of an individual’s historical societal conditioning. These strivings are often manifested in time as legal problems.

Unless one can learn to dis-identify from the conditioned thoughts that comprise his or her ego, he or she will continue to act in ways so as to feed and preserve this fictional sense of self. This endless pursuit to satisfy wants and avoid unpleasantries is very likely to lead to more unhappiness and, quite possibly, repeated legal problems in the future.

The inherent lack underlying this fictional sense of self or ego is well articulated in a recent talk by David Loy at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. You can click here to listen to this talk online. Besides exploring various ways in which we have historically sought to compensate for this sense of lack through religion, money, and fame, Mr. Loy also acknowledges the important societal utility of the constructed sense of separate self as largely facilitating communication. Without the constructed sense of separate self, much of our communication – e.g., pronouns, etc. – would be non-sensical. Again, however, problems arise when we mistake this construct as real and personally identify with this construct as defining who we really are.

Traditional law practice ignores these underlying dynamics. An attorney aiming to help clients and society by addressing legal problems at their root must look beyond overt actions by a client that may have precipitated his or her current legal situation. To ignore the underlying roots of these behaviors is to fail to solve the client’s underlying problem. In failing to provide real solutions, traditional law practice arguably becomes part of the problem.

Existential Minefields of Law Practice

Through a good portion of my life as an attorney, my actions and decisions have been ego-driven, i.e., rather than being directed by my true sense of self rooted in present-moment awareness, my actions have been largely dictated by a need to strengthen my ego and ensure its survival. The ego surfaces when we come to confuse our socially conditioned thinking with a “sense of self.” When this happens, we make decisions and take actions largely aimed at bolstering our fictional belief that if we get this or that, or achieve this result, or win, etc., we will be “happy.”

Few professions in contemporary American society perpetuate these false, egoistic delusions more than legal practice. Our society is deeply enamored with power. Lawyers obtain this power by becoming educated in our basic societal rights to a far greater extent than non-lawyers, and learn how to pursue these rights with greater efficacy. Additionally, over the past several decades, lawyers (being almost entirely self-policed) have been able to create an industry in which fees routinely exceed $300.00/hour, thus allowing many attorneys to amass significant material wealth, also highly valued by contemporary society. Further adding to the construction of a tenacious ego is the fact that the ability of an attorney to command the highest fees is largely dependent upon the ability to “win” in court, or achieve outcomes “better” than one’s opponent.

All of these factors create a a minefield through which few attorneys are able to successfully navigate. Most attorneys become hijacked by an egoistic notion that they are “better” than others during and subsequent to law school, eventually becoming dominated by a false sense of self leading to a range of difficulties and suffering. The prevalence of substance abuse among attorneys is no surprise.

Maintaining this delusional egoistic self has become an increasing challenge to many attorneys during this economic downturn. Our broad economic problems have surfaced after several decades during which law schools flooded society with huge numbers of lawyers. These factors have given rise to a new climate in which relatively fewer attorneys are basking in material wealth. Egos have become threatened.

Threats to the ego can produce intense clinging, longing and anxiety as one struggles to maintain the illusory self. It is at this point, however, that an attorney can begin to open to the reality that what he or she had come to view as him or her “self” was primarily based on fictional thoughts, and that his or her true self actually lies beyond these thoughts.

What lies beyond these thoughts is a true sense of being that connects all life. This life force is, ultimately, what gives rise to all life forms, including you and I. In this light, the falsity of the ego becomes readily apparent and a true sense of being can be sensed. This reality cannot be proven by logic, intellect, or thought as it lies beyond these faculties. Its truth lies in one’s experience of the inner peace felt when connecting up to this core.

My practice is primarily aimed at helping individuals: (1) become aware of the extent to which societal conditioning has given rise to a false sense of self (the ego); (2) begin to feel the inner peace realized upon connecting to one’s inner sense of being rooted in present-moment awareness; and (3) develop strategies to strengthen one’s ability to maintain a connection to this inner sense of being in our very challenging society in which egoistic thought is so pervasive.

To learn more, contact me at (415) 508-6263.