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July 30, 2023 3 minutes to read ∙ 700 words

Mindfulness 101: Mindfulness and Remembering

By Scott L. Rogers

The word mindfulness can be understood to mean remembering—remembering the breath, remembering an intention, remembering one’s values, remembering what matters. Given the mind’s wandering nature and the commonplace tendency to get lost in mind wandering, remembering keeps us on track. Mindfulness practices, like focusing attention on the breath, help to steady attention and enhance the likelihood of noticing mind wandering, thereby allowing us to refocus more readily on what really matters.

Earlier this month, Debi Galler passed away. Among her many gifts to this world, between 2016 and 2019, Debi crafted a collection of thoughtful articles on the value of mindfulness within the legal profession. She introduced readers to various mindfulness insights, drawing on her own reflections and those of prominent teachers and historical figures such as Brené Brown, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Thích Nhất Hạnh, Jalaluddin Rumi, Sharon Salzberg, and Mark Twain. She introduced readers to important mindfulness practices, including focused attention, open monitoring, mindful listening, and mindful walking, and she addressed topics ranging from working with fear, to enhancing client relations, to furthering justice.

For those who may not have known Debi, she was a beautiful human being. Along with being a superb attorney—having practiced law for many years with Berger Singerman LLP and then serving as general counsel to Green Street Power Partners LLC in Tallahassee, Florida—she was authentic, joyful, hopeful, and kind. Keeping things real, she noted in one of her pieces, “Even as a mindfulness practitioner, I still, on occasion, have [one of those days.] Mindfulness is not so much about not having stressful days (it comes with the territory of being a lawyer) as it is about being better at dealing with them.”

When the Editorial Board of GPSolo magazine began planning the May/June 2019 issue devoted to mindfulness and lawyer well-being, Editorial Board member Angela Morrison and GPSolo Division Chair-Elect Melanie Bragg asked Debi to serve as a special consultant on the issue. In the issue, Debi contributed the piece “Mindfulness as a Tool for Lawyers,” helped assemble the body of contributions, and brought together authors for an additional article that shared ways of “Integrating Self-Care Practices into Daily Life.” Debi was also one of the original two writers for GPSolo eReport’s monthly “Mindfulness 101” column.

So that we might be reminded of some of Debi’s contributions in this area (albeit a small measure of the breadth of wisdom and compassion she offered so many of her colleagues, team members, clients, counterparties, law students, and the judiciary), below I have listed links to some of the “Mindfulness 101” pieces she wrote, as her message was evergreen.

Debi also shared her insights and experiences with mindfulness in periodicals such as Bloomberg Law, the Berger Singerman Doing Business in Florida Blog, Lexology, and The Florida Bar News. She generously contributed her time to present to legal organizations and speak at conferences on ways people may meaningfully integrate mindfulness into their professional and personal lives. You can listen to an interview with Debi on the Resilient Lawyer podcast, where she speaks on mindfulness and the practice of law.

I am deeply grateful to be one of Debi’s many friends and for having had the honor of collaborating with her on various projects. I miss her dearly. Debi has three children and three young grandchildren, and she was clear on the importance of attending to what matters most and refocusing when we forget. Through her writings, she offers us reminders and points out accessible pathways for doing just this.

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Scott L. Rogers

University of Miami School of Law

Scott L. Rogers is a nationally recognized leader in the area of mindfulness and law, as well as a teacher, researcher, and trainer. He is founder and director of the University of Miami School of Law’s Mindfulness in Law Program, and he co-founded and co-directs the University of Miami’s Mindfulness Research & Practice Initiative. Scott is the author of six books, including the recently released The Mindful Law Student: A Mindfulness in Law Practice Guide.

Published in GPSolo eReport, Volume 12, Number 12, July 2023. © 2023 by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association. The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the American Bar Association or the Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division.