Abstract: This essay explores the possibilities that Leonard Riskin's call for the development of the trait of mindfulness offers for the discussion of lawyers' roles and lawyers' characters in legal ethics. First, the article explains three ways that the problems associated with legal professionalism have been framed within legal ethics, and critique the underlying assumptions that animate the dominant framing of the problems of professionalism in legal ethics. Next, it expounds the work of the two most prominent legal ethicists who have proposed the development of distinctively lawyerly character traits: Anthony Kronman's call for the revival of a “lawyer-statesman” ideal in his book The Lost Lawyer; and Daniel Markovits's proposal in A Modern Legal Ethics that lawyers develop the poetic virtues of fidelity and negative capability. The author concludes by showing how the adversary-advocacy framework shapes and informs each of these theories, and by suggesting how Riskin's explorations of the benefits of mindfulness practice for lawyers point the way to a more satisfying solution to the problems associated with legal professionalism.
Citation: 10 Nev. L. J. 393 (2010)