Young lawyers bring meditation to ABA Midyear Meeting
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It's important to offer people opportunities to practice meditation because once you introduce them to it, it's more likely they'll try it again on their own, says Christina Sava, a member of the Young Lawyers Division Wellness Committee.
“The purpose for me is often to introduce people to what a basic mindfulness practice is, mindfulness meditation practice, and dispel some myths about what it’s not or how you have to do it perfectly,” says Sava, an associate in the Los Angeles office of Vicente Sederberg. She learned about mindfulness while studying at the University of Miami School of Law.
“Some people think they can’t meditate because they can’t quiet their mind,” Sava continues. “But there has been a lot of discussion about the benefits of meditation, and it’s really in the practice that people get the benefits.”
Sava is bringing that perspective to the ABA Midyear Meeting, where she’ll lead a series of 15-minute mindfulness meditations that are open to all attendees. They begin at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and at 11:30 a.m. Friday.
The YLD has long focused on wellness, launching its Fit to Practice initiative several years ago to highlight the importance of fitness, nutrition, sleep and positive mental health for young lawyers. In June, the division created the Wellness Committee, which now also focuses on additional dimensions of well-being identified and defined by the Institute for Well-Being in Law, such as occupational, intellectual and spiritual well-being.
Follow along with the ABA Journal’s coverage of the 2021 ABA Midyear Meeting here.
“Our goal is to try to foster an attitude of focusing on well-being for all young lawyers,” says Whittney Dunn, the YLD’s wellness director and the risk manager at The Bar Plan in St. Louis. “Obviously, there are severe problems, there are levels of depression, there are substance abuse issues, and all of those things are important, and we want to focus on those.
“But we also want to make sure everyone understands that even if you aren’t suffering from some of those extreme impairments, you should still be thinking about how can you be mindful in your daily life.”
Sava led daily mindfulness meditations at the YLD Fall Conference in October and also helped organize a two-week meditation challenge through Facebook Live in January. The videos, in which different attorneys who work in the health and wellness industry offer 15-minute mindfulness exercises, are still available online.
In addition to guiding meditations at the ABA Midyear Meeting, Sava will speak with Ritu Goswamy, an attorney, author and mindfulness coach, about occupational well-being and how attorneys can focus on wellness, even during their busiest days.
“It’s not just about personal well-being, it’s also about the well-being of the profession, how we represent the profession as attorneys and how we’re able to serve our clients,” Sava says. “There is a huge trickle-out effect when people take care of themselves.”
For more information on the YLD’s meditations and other programs, including yoga, visit the YLD Midyear Meeting website.