Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Pet Rocks: James and the Giant Weed Machine [embedded trivia question]

Within minutes of posting yesterday's piece making a wee bit of fun of the idea of having a program called "Law and Mindfulness," I was told that  such  a program does exist. I thought immediately of the Pet Rock or, more precisely, is this another law school marketing gimmick, a  fad, or is it something else.

First, though, this is not a rant against mindfulness although I am happy to find no one still claiming it has any connection to the ideals of Buddhistism. After all, mindfulness, as it is currently marketed, is as useful to a monk as it might be to the most materialistic money grabber or serial killer. In fact, it is the emptiness of a moral component that puts me off but that is another matter. At least an honest economist will concede the same emptiness. In fact, mindfulness and economics are made for each other -- efficiency is the goal.

Mindfulness is taught at my law school but we do not have a Center, at least at this point. But here is what I do not get. If mindfulness is good for you in terms of everything from killing on the battle field to tending to the poor, why is it part of a law school as opposed to a core course for all  students. I mean, everyone wants to do whatever they do better.  Right ?! Of course, they do!

But there are many things that can help you do whatever you do better. Perhaps, for example, a little weed "for your personal use" [imbedded trivial question] would relax you and make you more effective. I don't see any weed machines but they are much more effective than comfort dogs which we do have. How about a good night's sleep, good nutrition, exercising,

Nevertheless, if law schools are now in the business of replacing the self help magazine aisle at the local bookstore I have a few suggestions:

1. Install Weed dispensers.
2. Install sleep pods and have someone lecture on how to sleep well or, in the near future, develop a Center for Law and Sleep.
3. Basic Nutrition 101.
4. Exercise for Law Students 101
5. Proper Pet Care for Law Students 101

 I imagine a perfect law school Center with the label "YOU." Students who complete 15 hours in YOU courses get a certificate. They can then join that with 6 hours outside the law school, 6 hours of independent study, and 12 hours of pass/fail courses, and 34 hours of externships for which they are not paid but the school is (go figure).


Fred said...

Although I am surprised to see the mindfulness initiative, I don't think it's as bad as you say. Really its about applied mindfulness, i.e using mindfulness to be a better lawyer. (see website: http://www.law.ufl.edu/academics/institutes/imldr ). Sure, you could make any kind of class applied to law students just like your examples (exercise for law students), but mindfulness is actually meant to help lawyers with legal work, not to help lawyers with their personal lives.

{One day, weed dispensers will solve a lot of problems, but probably not law schools.}

Jeffrey Harrison said...

I have heard that argument Fred and I guess I do not buy it. Obviously, if it works, it helps lawyers be better because, well, that is what they do. Mindfulness is not just about being a good lawyer, though, it is marketed for athletes, soldiers, and corporate execs -- everyone who would like to perform better. If it works for everyone why not offer it to everyone as it is by some universities. Finally, I do not believe good sleep habits and other general health matters are personal only. In fact, if I were a client and had a choice between a well rested, alert, attorney who felt good physically, I would take him or her over the tired, not feeling so great mindful lawyer every time. One more thing, a lawyers the best people to be teaching mindfulness/