Date of this Version
Court Review, Volume 54, Issue 2 (2018)
The benefits of mindfulness practices for lawyers have been the subject of broad discussion within the profession for a number of years. Increasingly, this discussion has expanded to include judges and the work of the judiciary. In this article we explore more deeply the relevance of mindfulness to judges, and in particular, how it can support their resilience, health, and well-being, as well as their cognitive functioning.
We hope to educate and support judges who would like to gain greater mastery over their cognitive capacity and emotional well-being. Recognizing that the full breadth of this subject is beyond an article of this length, we focus on a primary vulnerability to which we are all susceptible but which can be especially consequential for judges in their high-stakes world of decision making: mind wandering. We consider some ways this vulnerability may limit judges’ performance and well-being and review a growing body of scientific research, which examines the benefits of mindfulness training to mitigate this vulnerability by helping to bolster attention and working memory capacity. We then offer simple mindfulness practices, which have been found to be useful in developing attention and working memory capacity, which we term “skills” as they may be developed through ongoing mindfulness practice.