Bigfoot, Unicorns, Leprechauns, and Zen Lawyers (NLR)
It is no secret that, among laypeople, lawyers inspire about as much admiration as tax collectors and dust mites. That is to say: not much.
Examine any segment of the population, and you will find some people who are virtuous and some who are nefarious, right? This truism spans all nationalities, races, religions, political groups, etc. I am here to show you that some of us lawyers and other legal professionals are not only good people, but downright Zen.
Hello, my name is Krista Gieske, and I aspire to be a Zen lawyer. This post was inspired by an article written by Cheri Maples for the website Lion's Roar: Buddhist Wisdom for Our Time. Cheri is a former police officer and a licensed attorney who co-founded an organization called the Center for Mindfulness and Justice. This organization helps criminal justice professionals and others learn how to incorporate compassion and mindfulness into their daily lives. You can read more about Cheri here, or check out her article here.
Cheri studied under Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. This esteemed Zen Master is the originator of the idea of Engaged Buddhism, which integrates mindfulness with social action. Explore the life and teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh here.
The primary vehicle which Thich Naht Hanh advances for the achievement of social change is nonviolent resistance. In his recent book At Home in the World, Nhat Hanh stresses that “Nonviolent action arises from the compassion, lucidity and understanding you have within.” It is one thing to read these wise words, and quite another to live them. I strive to incorporate compassion and mindfulness into my interactions with people every day. Like making tiramisu or stuffing oneself into pantyhose, it takes a lot of work!
Does a Zen lawyer have to be a doormat, you might ask? Certainly not! As one of my favorite musical artists penned, "I will learn to be peaceful, but I keep my knife at my side." (From "Warrior People" by Nahko Bear). Because I have no desire to be sacked like an unsuspecting college quarterback, I will refrain from bringing an actual knife into the courtroom! Figuratively, however, I embody this idea by striving to empathetically represent my clients while also zealously representing them. Trust me, the two notions can peacefully coexist. That is precisely what Gieske Law Office was established to show you.
Thanks for reading!