Mindfulness in Law Joint Task Force
Declaration of Purpose
In the course of the evolution of society it becomes necessary for members of the legal profession to ensure the maintenance of high standards of fitness, wellness, mutual respect, and leadership as we serve our calling.
We affirm that the manner by which we wish to study, practice, and interpret the law is one of collaboration, consensus, courage, creativity, compassion, and cooperation, for it is through these attitudes and actions that the adversarial and competitive nature of the legal system will thrive and evolve in a manner that is most meaningful and of greatest moment.
To secure the future of our profession, and revitalize our individual and collective regard for each other, it can be helpful to remind ourselves of our roles as guardians of justice and order in a world of complexity and a diversity of interests. In a legal profession whose culture emphasizes speed, stress, and oppositional energy, an important complement and stabilizing force is found within the reflective capacity of self-‐awareness.
Mindfulness practices represent an approach to cultivating and developing one’s reflective capacity and insight that experience and science are finding to be effective and transformative. They offer a tool and skillset for more effectively relating to challenging experiences -‐-‐ in the workplace, in the courtroom, and across all aspects of life – with greater balance, civility, and resilience.
Mindfulness practices are being introduced in law schools, law firms, legal institutions and the judiciary. The benefits of this integration may include improved focus and concentration, reduced stress, more optimal immune functioning, and enhanced well-‐being.
The value of the integration of mindfulness in the law is of such importance that it is worthy of consideration whether its practice and application might be more formally integrated into the academy, bar and bench.
This integration would allow for a more cohesive embrace of that which is self-‐evident, yet elusive. It will offer a forum, grounded in scholarship, science and individual experience, with which the profession may restore the respect and nobility upon which it was founded. It will also create a vehicle with which the legal profession may more effectively communicate with members of other professions, who are also embracing mindfulness practices for many of the same reasons.
We, therefore, members of the legal profession – students, practitioners, professors and judges -‐-‐ appreciating that now is the time, hereby mutually pledge to work together to:
Identify effective methods of providing the academy, bar and bench with information on mindfulness, and
Establish the means through which members of the profession may come together to learn about, study and practice mindfulness,
Believing, as we do, that all of us, though our collective capacity as members of the legal profession, may thus come to better serve our clients, society, and each other in a more effective and civil manner.