The Zen Lawyer

Winning with Mindfulness

Michael Leizerman with Jay Rinsen Weik
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  • Table of Contents
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In The Zen Lawyer, trial attorney Michael Leizerman offers easy-to-adopt techniques you can use to immediately improve your practice. Leizerman, with Zen master Jay Rinsen Weik, interlaces Zen and mindfulness exercises with practical case examples to demonstrate how being a Zen lawyer means being a better lawyer. Leizerman’s comprehensive approach shows how mindfulness brings greater clarity and persuasion to your cases. His examples and exercises walk you through ways to elicit game-changing witness testimony during depositions and trial, more effectively deal with difficult judges or opposing counsel, improve damages, and use proven tools to show the jury why a just verdict for your client is the right thing to do. This book is a must-read for any lawyer who seeks to make the world a better place, one case at a time.

  1. Acknowledgements
  2. Publisher’s Note
  3. To the Jury
  4. Introduction
  5. Part 1: The Physical Core
  6. Beginning Meditation
  7. Centering
  8. Senses and the Physical Core Truth
  9. Part 2: The Emotional Core
  10. Mindfulness of Your Feelings
  11. Emotional Openness and Listening
  12. Your Emotions about the Case
  13. Your Client’s Emotions
  14. Exploring Emotional Connections and the Emotional Core Truth
  15. Part 3: The Logical Core
  16. Thinking Clearly
  17. Using Simple Words and Phrases
  18. Making Thoughts Clear
  19. Cutting through Defenses by Embracing Them
  20. Finding the Logical Core Truth
  21. Part 4: The Motivational Core
  22. Your Motivation
  23. Mindfulness of Your Motivations
  24. Other People’s Motivations
  25. Compassion
  26. The Motivational Core Truth
  27. Part 5: The Zen Core
  28. Your Being
  29. Developing Wisdom
  30. Engaged Presence
  31. The Zen Core Truth
  32. Conclusion
  33. Glossary
  34. About the Author

Additional Information


Publisher Trial Guides, LLC
Paperback 436 pages; First Edition (2018); ISBN: 9781941007631
  1. Michael Leizerman has written a transformative book. In it, Leizerman combines his skill as a trial lawyer with the practice of mindfulness and Zen. The book has exceptional practical advice on trial advocacy. He shows us how to live a mindful life as a trial lawyer. This bears fruit in teaching us how we can enhance our lives as trial lawyers. To be a successful trial lawyer is more than a collection of techniques. He dispenses with the idea of a duality of selves, a professional self and a personal self. These two selves cannot be separate from one another. They must be an integrated and congruent whole. Leizerman shows us that we choose whether we will be a successful trial lawyer by how we live our lives. Finding meaning in our lives transforms us as trial lawyers. The book is an invitation to reflect on what it means to be a successful trial lawyer and person. Every trial lawyer should read this book. If you care about your potential as a trial lawyer, buy this the book.
    —David Wenner, coauthor of Winning Case Preparation and listed in Super Lawyers since 2007
  2. Do you want to be a great lawyer? Then read this book. It is not possible to be a great courtroom lawyer unless you are a mindful lawyer. A mindful lawyer means that you are totally in the present without judging what is happening. This book teaches you step-by-step how to reach these levels of mindfulness and thus become a much better lawyer. Not only will this book improve your courtroom performance, it will improve your relationships with your family, acquaintances, and coworkers. This book is unique because it is the only book designed for trial lawyers on how to become more mindful in their life. I highly recommend it for every part of your life.
    —Lisa Blue, past president of the AAJ, has earned over $350 million in verdicts for injured clients, and coauthor of Preparing for Voir Dire and Conducting Voir Dire
  3. Great trial lawyers are vessels of truth and explorers of personal experience. Michael Leizerman’s pioneering new book, The Zen Lawyer, guides us through our own personal journey of self-development, leading to great power in the courtroom and in life. It is a journey you must take and a book you must experience.
    —Tom Metier, obtained one of the highest personal injury verdicts in Colorado and faculty member at Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyer’s College
  4. Michael Leizerman, one of the most gifted trial lawyers in the country, has written a revolutionary book that combines the best lessons of mindfulness with the newest and most effective approaches to trial advocacy. This book has the power to absolutely transform the way trial lawyers relate to clients, advocate to jurors, and make meaning out of their professional lives. Each chapter is packed with real-life practical examples that lawyers can start to use the day they begin reading. Every lawyer who reads this book will better understand his or her role as an advocate who has the capacity to bring about positive societal change through our jury system, one case at a time. This book deserves to become a classic on every trial lawyer’s desk.
    —Valerie Yarashus, past president of the Massachusetts Bar Association and Massachusetts Academy of Trial Lawyers
  5. Michael Leizerman is a master trial lawyer. In this book, he shares his life’s work (to date) on how to approach lawyering in a truly honest, compassionate, and mindful way. Yes, this will make you a better lawyer and a better human. Yes, this will make you win more often and with better results. Learning how to develop mindfulness and how being mindful of your senses, emotions, and surroundings leads to clarity and compelling persuasion. This is more than theory—it’s the secret sauce. If you want to take your game to a new level, read this book and practice what it preaches.
    —Joe Fried, founder of the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys and faculty member at Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyer’s College
  6. There are a lot of books for the advocate, but as far as I know, Michael has done something here which simply has not been done before: Zen and the art of trial advocacy. The practice of law as a spiritual practice. We all understand ‘up here’ (pointing to the head) that who you are, the person whom the jurors meet, the human being who opens the door for them to take an action meaningful to them, outweighs the words deployed, the ‘lawyering.’ I have watched as Michael over the years has undertaken the true study of the practice of law, through brilliant lawyering, yes, but beyond that, through the practice of meditation, the disciplines of Aikido, the training of the theater artist . . . the work on who he is, who he can be. He has walked the talk, and gives us his manual for what can allow the lawyer to use the practice of law to make a better world. It is a precious volume.
    —Joshua Karton, trial consultant and coauthor of Theater for Trial
  7. The Zen Lawyer workshop changed my life for the better. Instead of ‘trying a lawsuit,’ I have learned to create a shared experience in the courtroom and to trust the jurors to do justice. Not only have my verdicts gotten a lot bigger, but trial has turned from a time of stress to a joyful event. If you want to win trials while increasing the happiness in your life, buy this book.
    —Michael Cowen, trucking lawyer and host of the Trial Lawyer Nation podcast
  8. The Zen Lawyer brings the insights and disciplines of Zen into the courtroom. It gives us a powerful invitation into the complexities of honesty and compassion in the service of justice. This is a worthy read not only for the courtroom attorney, but for all of us seeking to balance our spiritual lives together with the mess of life itself. I highly recommend it.
    —James Ishmael Ford, author of If You’re Lucky, Your Heart Will Break: Field Notes from a Zen Life and This Very Moment: A brief Introduction to Buddhism and Zen for Unitarian Universalists, and coeditor of The Book of Mu: Essential Writings on Zen’s Most Important Koan
  9. Lawyers often tell jurors a trial is a ‘search for the truth,’ but they rarely actually include themselves among the searchers; they just want to tell jurors where to look for the truth. Michael Leizerman invites lawyers to expand and refine their daily practice to include their own search for five ‘core truths’ they can find and embody in their trial presentations. As he says, ‘With all the cores, you start with mindfulness of yourself, then apply it to the case.’ Sometimes arriving at a core truth means setting aside parts of cases one would otherwise fight over. Ultimately, with practice, Michael says the Zen Attorney can embody the integrity of each case’s core truths, creating a palpable, winning contrast with opposing advocates.
    —Eric Oliver, trial consultant of over twenty years’ experience and author of Persuasive Communication: Twenty-Five Years of Teaching Lawyers and Facts Can’t Speak for Themselves

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