As a lifelong practitioner of Yoga and mindfulness, from personal experience, I can say that Yoga and Zen inspired techniques can – and should – be applied to the practice of personal injury law to improve client relations, sharpen mental focus, enhance quality of life and to obtain bigger settlements and verdicts.
[df_blockquote ver=”1″ border_size=”4px” color=”#0F0F0F”]We can only master the material world when we have succeeded in self-mastery.” — George Feurerstein, Yoga Gems[/df_blockquote]
An attorney who represents injured victims cannot fully empathize with the client’s issues and be able to narrate the client’s story, to obtain the best result, without some sense of self awareness, self-realization, referred to here as self-mastery.
As personal injury attorneys, we must develop empathy, sympathy and compassion to understand our client’s story and be able to zealously and passionately communicate that story to the decision makers who will place a value on that claim.
The journey of self-discovery and mindfulness inevitably will lead the practitioner to ask questions like:
- Who am I, and why am I representing this client?
- What do I need to be doing to better represent my client’s interests?
- How would it feel to walk in my client’s shoes?
- What obstacles/challenges stand in the way, and how can I overcome them?
Probably the hardest task for any attorney to do is to keep quiet (stop talking) long enough to really listen to what the client is saying. Curtailing one’s own verbal and mental chatter, avoiding judgment, not “jumping to conclusions,” and being present in the moment are prerequisites for an attorney to accomplish the enormous task of “being a good listener.”
For personal injury attorneys, self-inquiry should be a pre-requisite, a personal cause of action, as a first step toward being more proactive about formulating intentions and strategies consistent with personal needs and client needs. Yoga provides tools for self-realization and mindfulness for the practitioner to enhance empathy, insight and inspiration.
The roots of mindfulness emanate from the teachings of Buddha 2,500 years ago. Mastering the right state of mind is the seventh step along the eight-fold path to enlightenment in classical Yoga.
Being mindful is an active state of releasing all judgment and worried thoughts, freeing oneself to fully engage in the present moment, aspiring toward some semblance of peace and stillness. Mastery over one’s own mind is the very core of mindfulness, self-awareness and consciousness.
The mindful personal injury attorney is authentically sensitive to the client’s needs and exhibits dedication and passion to the zealous pursuit of justice. Starting with the client’s first interview, from initial intake through trial, it is our job to listen and to show compassion.
10 Techniques For Mindful
- Self-Mastery through ongoing self-inquiry, taking control of conscious thought patterns, maximizing focus and clarity; minimizing mind wandering.
- Showing compassion for the client, from the initial intake through the final outcome.
- Full commitment to the prosecution of the client’s claims and active preparation for the day where the client’s story will be presented at trial in the most effective way.
- Continuous communication with clients to review expectations and develop strategies to promote the client’s best interests.
- Rejecting the inclination to settle for unfairly low insurance settlement offers where trial by jury may yield a better result.
- Identification of the litigation stressors and development of healthy coping skills for the clients and yourself.
- Being present in the moment and not wasting time and energy worrying about whatever has happened in the past so that clear focus returns to the task at hand.
- Embracing the challenge and commitment of trial presentation, using all available resources and the latest technology, to maximize the verdict.
- Exhibiting passion for the client’s case and never giving up hope that justice will be served in the end. Injured victims need, appreciate and deserve a positive attitude and the expressions of hope.
- The mindful injury litigator demonstrates equanimity and civility in the face of adversity.
These techniques provide attorneys who represent injured victims the tools to expand their empathic capacity and to build solidarity with our client’s story and with their struggle. Only by tapping into the natural human trait of empathy can we plant the karmic seeds, which will empower jurors to feel the suffering of the wronged victims we represent.
The mindful personal injury attorney tackles the task of branding the plaintiff’s case and presenting the entire package to the insurance adjuster, opposing attorney, trial judge or jury in a manner, which evokes a response of compassion and fairness.
Mantras For Client Representation
choose to improve vs. choose to abuse
obsess to progress vs. obsess about stress
challenge your brain vs. numb your brain
proactivity/positivity vs. stuck in dread and denial
solidarity/solidity vs. stink’n/think’n
saying: “I can” vs. saying: “I can’t”
End Result: Mastery vs. End Result: Malpractice
Prana (breath) is life force. Pranayama breathing and, more specifically, Ujayii breathing, is controlled breathing to relax and strengthen mind and body. These ancient techniques have, for centuries, served Yogis as a means of manipulating the pace of respiration and heartbeat, both of which automatically skyrocket from trial litigation and trial stress.
There are numerous self-help books which drive home the benefits of healthy eating and healthy life-style habits. These benefits should be obvious to the smart trial attorneys who need good health and stamina to face the rigors of stress resulting from litigation and long trials. Unfortunately, good food choices are not always available at Courthouse cafeterias, and there is the ever-present temptation to drink and eat excessively (even when there is no big verdict or settlement to celebrate).
The physical challenges facing any litigator are formidable. The maintenance of good posture and positive body language requires body awareness, physical strength, stamina, alignment and balance.
There are innumerable ways to stay in the kind of good physical shape needed to survive the rigors of litigation and the stamina to endure a long trial. Yoga, my personal choice, improves posture and balance by bringing focus to body awareness and offering alignment and automatically increases energy, physical strength and general overall health. Yoga powers up the mental and physical centers of energy for the strenuous demands of trial work while embedding mindfulness in all areas of life.
The mindful personal injury attorney must be vigilant in executing the ethical and moral duties to zealously protect and promote clients’ interests. This is, of course, easier said than done in the real world where mistakes are made and the need to generate money can complicate making the right choices.
In the quest for justice, the mindful personal injury attorney is the quintessential source of guidance and inspiration for the adjustors, judges and jurors who will analyze everything and reach their own conclusions about how much compensation your client will receive for the injuries and losses.
The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. This blog is not intended to, and does not, create an attorney client relationship, an offer of employment or a guarantee of success for clients of The Drexler Law firm. No information or representation contained in this post should be construed as an offer of employment, guarantee of success or the creation of an attorney client relationship with The Drexler Law firm, nor as legal advice from The Drexler Law Firm or the individual author. No reader of this post should act, or refrain from acting, on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer in the corresponding jurisdiction.
There are time deadlines during which a case must be brought, according to your jurisdiction or state, and failing to abide by the jurisdictional statute of limitation rules can result in your case being time-barred.
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