We lawyers are guardians of justice. Whatever our practice area, whatever “side” we are on, whatever our political or ideological leanings, we are stewards of the rule of law. Earlier this month, the Young Lawyer’s Division of the ABA initiated a five-part series titled, “Liberty & Justice … For All? Confronting Systemic Racism and Addressing Civil Unrest.” In discussing the series, the YLD wrote that “Protesters, advocates, and lawyers have united to demand meaningful change; are calling for an end to systemic racism, police brutality in communities of color; and encouraging personal and institutional reflection to further anti-racism.”
The question of how mindfulness can play a meaningful role in furthering the cause of justice has been explored by members of the legal profession for more than 20 years, often focusing on ways of reducing stress and incivility, improving mental health and wellness, and enhancing client services and job performance. One of the classes I teach is “Mindfulness in Law,” a seminar where students learn about mindfulness and its connection to the practice and substance of law. Last year a student, Luke Arrington, chose to investigate the role mindfulness can play in the creation and enforcement of laws that are built on an edifice of systemic racism. This month Luke shares his thoughts, responding to a series of questions that address this issue.
For readers who may be new to mindfulness, what does mindfulness mean to you?