The 7 Questions With… interview series will give you an inside glimpse into the lives of various individuals involved in the legal profession, but in very different ways. Today we’re exited to welcome Judi Cohen, who practiced and taught law for 25 years before founding Warrior One LLC, which offers Essential Mindfulness for Lawyers® trainings and mindfulness-based executive coaching.
Let’s get started!
1. What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I wanted to be a playground designer. I used to draw fantastical play structures. In my day we had metal monkey bars, wooden swings and maybe a slide. I had all these ideas for colorful structures, tunnels, hiding places, and spaces where kids could be imaginative and surprised. ‘My’ ideas are now in playgrounds all over the world – which just goes to show that the 100th Monkey Effect is alive and well.
2. What was your very first job?
Dusting shelves. My dad owned some drug stores and when I was about 10-years-old I went to work. My dad gave me a rag and told me to dust. I loved it! I felt so important. I worked after school and every summer, straight through the summer after my freshman year at Northwestern. In middle school I graduated from shelf-duster to cashier. In those days cash registers didn’t calculate change, so we had to calculate the change out loud. To this day I count change backwards whenever I buy something. Old habits die hard.
3. What did you think you’d do when you started law school? How is what you do now the same/different?
When I started law school it was 1981. The truth is, I thought I would practice for a few years and then get married and have kids. The ’80s were not the most inspiring years, and I went to law school because it sounded interesting and challenging, not because I had a passion for law. But the interesting thing was, I took a job as a real estate lawyer and ended up loving it.
So I practiced real estate law for almost 30 years and also had one fabulous daughter, who is now 23. While I was practicing and being a mom, I also taught real estate transactions and securities at the University of San Francisco School of Law, for a decade. Starting in 1989, I also began a daily yoga and mindfulness meditation practice. After 25 years I realized I could do something about the suffering in our profession, founded Warrior One, and created the Essential Mindfulness for Lawyers® curriculum. It turned out to be a great decision but it couldn’t have been a more different path than the one I planned back in 1981.
4. In one or two sentences, what is your career about today?
I do Essential Mindfulness for Lawyers® trainings, which are trainings specifically for lawyers to increase their capacity and resilience to living and working surrounded by conflict. I also do mindfulness-based coaching for a small group of leaders in the law.
5. What’s a typical day like for you?
I still start my day with yoga and meditation. Then I drink a pot of really strong tea while catching up on news, email and Facebook. Once I’m caffeinated and connected, I do program work. Right now I’m working on a program for the Facebook legal team, another for the Inns of Court for three counties in Northern California, and a third for the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. I also take scheduled coaching calls from my clients. I work at home in the Wine Country in Northern California, so on breaks I throw the tennis ball for our mini labradoodle and try to get in some walking in the vineyards or down our one-lane road.
6. What are you currently reading?
Love 2.0: Creating Happiness and Health in Moments of Connection, by Barbara Fredrickson, and A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness. I love books about magic.
7. What’s one piece of advice you’d give your younger self or a person starting their career?
Develop a mindfulness practice early so that you know how to cultivate supportive, resilient states of mind to meet challenging and difficult days, and to savor the delightful ones.
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Judi Cohen is the founder of Warrior One LLC, which offers Essential Mindfulness for Lawyers® trainings and mindfulness-based executive coaching. She also teaches Essential Mindfulness for Lawyers at Golden Gate University School of Law. Judi can be reached at Judi@WarriorOne.com.
You can hear more from Judi by reading her Trebuchet guest posts: Advice from a Recovering Perfectionist: 5 Mindfulness Tips for Excellent Lawyering, and Smarter, Saner Lawyering With a Little (Mindfulness) Practice.
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