Anna is the author of Legally Innovative, a book that teaches you how to transform your mindset, professional relationships and legal presence, and Marike is the founder of Cool Karma Collected, a modern school for mindfulness that teaches people how to achieve a greater sense of balance in their lives through mindfulness.
Together they are the cofounders of The Mindful Lawyers, where they are coaching people in law to invest in themselves and overcome the stresses of the job, with a 14 day Mindful Billable Unit bootcamp and 4-week Mastermind course.
In this episode, we discuss the following:
- What is mindfulness and how does it enter in their individual career journey
- Inspiration in publishing legal content and advocating for legal technology
- Their collaboration to build The Mindful Lawyers
- What is mindfulness?
- Publishing legal content and advocating for legal technology.
- Collaboration to build The Mindful Lawyers.
Anna’s career and mindfulness:
- Anna started her career in a major Australian law firm.
- She started in M&A, then became an insolvency litigator.
- Anna went in-house at one of the big 4 banks in Sydney.
- This inspired her to pursue a career in-house – she came back to private practice for a short while.
- Anna has spent the rest of her career in a legal counsel, to Executive General Counsel.
- She decided to leave her corporate career at the end of 2020.
- Anna explains she has many titles – legal innovation consultant, legal influence, legal tech advisor and freelance general counsel work.
- More recently, she teamed up with Marike, launching a mindfulness business, The Mindful Lawyers.
- It was not until Anna lived in Shanghai, on an international assignment from General Motors, she noticed mindfulness was something she needed.
- Everything was unfamiliar to Anna, including the language, communication and culture.
- Anna started with yoga – she found a local Bikram yoga studio, attending once a week, turning into five times a week.
- Anna has had the privilege of attending many types of mindfulness healing spiritual type workshops and she still continues to do so.
- This allow Anna to set an intention of turning up every day, to be the best human you can possibly be.
- Marike was an early adopter of ‘the great resignation’.
- She spent a short amount of time at a law firm in Melbourne.
- Marike was already using tools of mindfulness and yoga, to manage her tight, perfectionist characteristic.
- When Marike was in litigation, she was using these tools to manage her team and deal with difficult clients.
- These tools were keeping Marike cool, calm and collective; she was more capable of managing in that law firm.
- This sparked Marike’s ten years of training.
- She travelled to UMass, with Jon Kabat Zinn, the grandfather of mindfulness. He was a molecular biologist and he had the same pursuit.
- Jon created definitions for the science behind mindfulness.
- Marike also wanted to keep up with the science and wanted to translate these practices in law firms.
- Marike met Anna at one of her silent retreat days.
What Anna learnt working in different countries and her advice for someone starting out in a legal career:
- The key part of being in a successful in-house is knowing the business.
- Spending time in various operations can be really powerful.
- It is important to spend time with the people you are working with, who may have different cultural backgrounds or rituals.
- For example, Middle Eastern colleagues do not take Saturday and Sunday off as weekends.
- It is about understanding the cultural nuances and where that person is coming from. This will help inform how they show up.
- As a law student, Anna has a clear goals list – she wanted to spend time overseas.
- In her last role, Anna travelled a fair bit, spending time in headquarters in Paris.
- Even when Anna travelled personally, if there was an office in the city, Anna would meet up with colleagues.
- This was about connecting and seeing where they work.
- Anna would also enjoy the city, the place, to get a cultural understanding of how things work.
- These experiences pushed Anna out of her comfort zone, teaching her a lot about herself.
Marike’s experience in corporate law and her personal change:
- Marike explained if she continued pursing her legal career for longer, she would get connected to her pay check.
- This would make it harder to leave.
- After leaving, Marike wanted to explore, negotiate or stakeholder liaison; doing different legal related roles.
- Anna then made the choice to start her own business.
- Anna struggled with billable unties.
- At the time, her father was going through court litigation, with 10-15 parties. Anna felt with was unethical, because to resolve the dispute, it would have cost $2 million.
- Anna watched these law firms billing and she did not know whether to stay and continue billing – this is what led Anna to leave.
Marike’s business – Cool Karma Collected:
- Marike lost her father very suddenly and this was a hard time for her.
- With all the tools Marike was learning over the last 15 years, she was able to use them.
- There was an element of moving from post-traumatic stress into post-traumatic growth.
- Marike wanted to know why these tools were not being taught at school and why we do not have the capacity for psychological thriving hardiness.
- Marike’s business was ensuring people have all the resources to get through mental health issues and significant periods of stress.
- Cool Karma Collected was born in 2011, after Marike travelled to India for 6 months and 3 months in Bali.
- Over 10 years, she has worked in massive multinational organisations, with top leaders.
- Marike now has her own teachers and mentors – to be honest, live, breathe and talk.
Anna’s experiences of working in-house:
- In-house teaches you to be very commercial.
- One of Anna’s tagline is ‘efficiency never goes out of fashion’.
- Anna remembers in a law firm, she could not cut the chase, and was frustrated by this process.
- Anna used to get frustrated by being asked to do research memes, when an answer was unknown.
- Compared to her in-house reality, the legal team were the minority; it is a small team in a broader business. Culturally, it is very different.
- Anna left as a 4th year solicitor, on the cusp of senior associateship.
- The commerciality, the opportunity to work with so many people changes your mindset.
- When considering in-house roles, the global factor was significant to Anna.
- She has been fortunate to work with blue-chip multinationals and loves dealing with people from all around the world.
- When at General Motors, Anna was sitting at the APEC headquarters, dealing with matter for Uzbekistan, Russia and India. This expanded her mindset.
- The key thing for her was working with a variety of people, not just lawyers.
Anna’s inspiration to publish legal content:
- Anna was an early adopted of legal technology in the Australian market, and within her global legal organisation.
- People were reaching out, asking her, how is she doing this.
- Anna was having lots of one-to-one conversations at conferences, leading to follow discussions how she adopted technology.
- She wanted to speak about mindfulness and spirituality – she felt the need to write a book about it.
- Anna saw the opportunity to create a call to action, to inspire others – legal innovation and change in the legal profession was this.
- Anna had exposure to legal operations, which was far more established in the US.
- Anna had the privilege to travel to the US, connecting with various organisations.
- She loves the way technology is going to impact business- there are so many opportunities, potential, for the legal profession.
- Anna wants to be part of a profession that is not lagging behind.
Anna’s changing her career trajectory to focus on mindfulness:
- Anna done litigation for 4 and a half years, becoming a corporate lawyer.
- This did not change the stigma attached at the time about going in-house.
- Anna identified herself as a type A, recovering perfectionist – she cared about doing well and support her clients.
- She wanted to do the best of her ability, quickly, efficiently, managing relationships, difficult people, working with great people – there were tensions between lawyers and clients. These were stresses.
- When General Motors declared bankruptcy, this was a difficult time to be in the global corporation.
- As general counsel, you are responsible for the problems of the business – this was part of the high performing, high stress.
- There is a fine line between when stress is motivating and when it starts being detrimental.
- As a lawyer reflecting back, Anna explains the culture of hard work, getting the job done, being available all the time, being accessible all the time, as well as being responsive.
- As humans, we are now realising the conditions of mental health, sleep and good nutrition. Law firms and legal teams are focusing on this now.
Marike – why there is a significant need for lawyer to focus on mindfulness?:
- People have this believe mindfulness is a calm presence.
- You need to have an open mindset, a growth mindset and the capacity to change our neutral pathways, our structures, to mitigate stress.
- We have an integrated brain and we’re able to use the parts of our brain critical to innovation, also empathy.
- Mindfulness is like a super power in upgrading the software of our brains, managing and mitigating all of the stress.
- Lawyers build up the stress, getting to the point of burnout – we should not get to the point of deep fatigue.
- It is critical for everyone, particularly lawyers, because of the mindsets they have been conditioned to have.
- We need to have openness.
- For Marike, mindfulness is not just a relief, relaxation technique.
The Mindful Lawyers:
- Marike was fortunate to work at L’Oréal, guiding Anna’s team.
- Marike was giving them resources to get through the lockdown.
- Anna had spent more time in law firms and Marike had done a great body of work in science, understanding mindfulness.
- They were both interested in implementing micro-practices into their everyday operating rhythm.
- This led to the idea of the billable unit, tiny bots giving 14 different practices as a toolkit.
The Mindful Lawyer’s Courses:
- The bootcamp starts on the 31st of January 2022.
- It is 6 minutes every day.
- The course launches at a certain date, because Anna and Marike are trying to create a community, having some quick cohorts.
- The 4-week mastermind starts on the 21st of January 2022.
- The bootcamp is fully virtual and can be done any time.
- Anna and Marike are covering 4 topics.
- They want to create a community, where people can come together, unpack topics – avoiding burnout, switching off, being uncertain with change and imposter syndrome.
- You cannot share your experience, having a real, open conversation because you might fear about how it is going to be misinterpreted or perceived by your colleagues.
- It is an opportunity for a smaller group of people to get together.
The aims and goals of the course:
- One of the critical objectives is experimental learning.
- With the billable bootcamp there are tiny little bite-sized practices.
- There is an opportunity to get together, to create accountable goals.
- The mastermind around the billable bootcamp is sharing authentically.
- There is a sense of healing, sense of community, sharing, not taking anything personally and not needing to hide.
- The outcome of the community is authenticity, using all the different tools and techniques.
5 powerful quotes from this episode:
- “…allows you to set an intention that you are turning up every day to be the best human you can possibly be”.
- “…I want to be part of a profession that’s not known to be lagging behind, you know, so I can help in any way and inspire others to do things differently, that kind of, you know, that, that that fills my cup”.
- “…you know, have that open mindset and growth mindset and the capacity to change our neutral pathways and our structures and to mitigate stress…”.
- “…you cannot share your experience and have a real and open conversation because you might fear about how it’s going to be misinterpreted by or perceived by your colleagues in the kind of a work setting”.
- “…mindfulness… it is literally like our super power in upgrading the software of our brains…”.
If you wish to connect with Anna, you may reach out to her on LinkedIn.
If you wish to connect with Marike, you may reach out to her on LinkedIn.
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To learning more about the exciting world of law, Robert Hanna and the Legally Speaking Podcast Team.
00:02 Rob Hanna:
Welcome to the Legally Speaking Podcast. I’m your host Rob Hanna. This week I’m delighted to be joined by Anna Lozynski and Marike Knight. Anna is the author of Legally Innovative, a book that teaches you how to transform your mindset, professional relationships and legal presence. And Marike is the founder of Cool Karma Collective, a modern school for mindfulness that teaches people how to achieve a great sense of balance in their lives through mindfulness. Together, they co-founded The Mindful Lawyers, where they’re coaching people in law to invest in themselves and overcome the stresses of the job with a 14-day mindful billable unit bootcamp and a four-week mastermind. So, a very warm welcome both Anna and Marike.
00:49 Anna Lozynski and Marike Knight:
Hi, Rob. Hello.
00:51 Rob Hanna:
Before we dive into both your amazing projects and experiences today, we do have a customary icebreaker question here on the Legally Speaking Podcast. So Anna, coming to you first, on a scale of one to ten, ten being very real, how real would you rate the reality hit series Suits?
01:09 Anna Lozynski:
Why does that stumped me? (laughs) Euh, six?
01:17 Rob Hanna:
Six, okay. And Marike, what would you give it?
01:21 Marike Knight:
I… They just say they have too many good ponds, I reckon it’s a one… or two.
01:30 Rob Hanna:
(laughs) A one or a two, okay. So we’ll balance that out and do the maths, we’ll give it somewhere in the middle between, okay, so like a four-ish between the two of you. And we’ll move on a collective number sub five, which what I expect it to be. So perhaps we can start with your, your individual journeys at this point. So Anna, firstly, coming to you. Can you talk us through your career to this point, and maybe where mindfulness entered your journey?
01:54 Anna Lozynski:
Thanks, Rob. Absolutely happy to. So I started off my legal career in a major Australian law firm. So I started in m&a and then actually became an insolvency litigator. So commercial air began first and in the subprime case, and I pivoted into being an insolvency litigator, did that for a while went on to comment in house for you at one of the big four banks here in Sydney, Australia. And then that really inspired me to want to pursue a career in house. And then I came back to private practice for a little bit, and then ultimately jumped out and have spent really the bulk of my career from sort of a legal counsel right up to an Executive General Counsel most recently, and then, I guess, being an early adopter of the great resignation, (laughs) I decided to leave my corporate career at the end of 2020. And this year, I really took my side hustle, which I launched in 2018, and decided to turn it into a full-time gig. So I am now, I don’t I have many titles, a legal innovation consultant, but also act as a legal influencer and legal tech advisor, and then also seeking to dabble in some freelance General Counsel work. And then, most recently, have teamed up with Marike and launched a mindfulness business in The Mindful Lawyers, which I know we’ll talk about in a minute. And in terms of how mindfulness has fit into my legal career, I must say that in my first 10 years, mindfulness didn’t play a role. And it really wasn’t until I was living in Shanghai on an international assignment from General Motors, that the mindfulness piece I noticed I really needed and that was basically because I was completely out of my comfort zone. And literally every single thing in my life was unfamiliar from the language, from any form of communication, the culture, just you name it, every pocket. And plus I was there alone and didn’t really know anyone on the ground. So a fantastic opportunity. But at the same time, I needed to ground I felt really flashy up here, and very much in my head. And so I started with yoga. So I found this great local Bikram yoga studio, once a week turned into two or three times a week turned into five times a week, I must say then I probably went more for physical class, but then it very much turned into “Wow, this is actually fantastic for my mindset, for my nervous system, the way I react to things”. And then that really sparked a curiosity and I would say other than one or two things. I have had the privilege of attending many types of mindfulness healing spiritual type workshops. And I’m still continuing to do that. And it’s kind of why I’m a work in progress. Because these practices and these workshops and the learnings and exposure to all these teachers teach you a lot of things. But it doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you a little bit more aware. And, you know, allows you to set an intention that you are turning up every day to be the best human you can possibly be. But at the end of the day, we’re still human.
05:38 Rob Hanna:
Yeah, I’m so pleased, you mentioned that, thank you for being so authentic and open about your journey. And wow, I mean, you do so many amazing things. And, you know, I’m one of your biggest fans on the other side of the pond, for everything you’re doing in terms of also legal community building, not only in terms of all the other impressive work you’ve done in your career to date. So thank you for sharing that. So Marike, coming to you, you know, tell us more about your journey.
05:59 Marike Knight:
Well, I love it. And if you’re the early adopter, I’m also being like the early, early, early, early adopter of the great resignation, because like, I didn’t have a long time in my life, to be honest, like a very short amount of time, but I did, you know, obviously, you know, ended up in a in a mid Taylor Law Firm in Melbourne. And I’d already started using tools of mindfulness and yoga just to manage my very a tight perfectionist strieby, you know, anxious brain. And then, you know, found myself in commercial litigation, and was really utilizing these tools, just to manage, you know, in that team and deal with, you know, difficult clients, and long hours and all the stuff that we know, as lawyers. And I just remember this one day when I was in the staff room, and one of the equity partners walked in and asked me what I’d been doing on my weekend. And I just like nonchalantly said, I’ve been in a meditation retreat. And he just, he looked at me, like I was gonna hold his hands, sing Kumbaya, like with some, you know, robes and saffron robe (laughs). And at first I was like, “Oh my God, I should never have said that”, which was so absurd to me, because these tools were keeping me so much more cool, calm and collected or so much more capable of managing in that law firm. And yet it was seen as something so woowoo, so esoteric, and that really did spark my kind of curiosity. And how on Earth do we make these practices more relatable, more palatable? How could I, you know, get to a point where I could sit across a table from anyone, be at an equity partner, anyone in a suit anywhere, and be able to actually convince them that these tools are worth kind of taking on? And that that really sparked ten years of training, because I ended up over in UMass, with Jon Kabat Zinn, who’s the real grandfather of mindfulness. He was a molecular biologist and he too had that same pursuit. He was like “how do I bring this into the hospital?”. And so he created definitions around and started to really have the sight of the rigor of the science behind it. And to me, that was really appealing. So yeah, ten years of training, and I’m now affiliated with Brown and have a little bit to do with Oxford Center for Mindfulness as well, and you know, all around the world. And just really try and keep up with the science so that now I do go into law firms, and, you know, obviously teach these practices. And the funny thing was having Anna just rock up to one of my silent retreat days, and I had the same kind of experience as you and I was like, Oh my God, I was so nervous with her in there. All of a sudden, I was like, “Oh, that’s an amazing lawyer, that’s in my silent retreat”. So that was really, that was my first meeting of Anna. And then yes, have gone on to cultivate a really great friendship, and then obviously now pursuing this wonderful initiative. So yeah, that’s me, in a nutshell.
09:06 Rob Hanna:
Yeah. And thank you for sharing your wonderful journey as well. I think it’s so nice how you’ve both come to come together. We’re going to talk a little bit more about your project. Definitely, for sure. But Anna, coming back to you, because you’ve practiced all over the world, as you mentioned previously, and you touched upon Shanghai and some of our listeners may be contemplating comments or abroad options. What did you learn from working in those different countries? And would you recommend it to someone maybe starting out in a legal career?
09:35 Anna Lozynski:
Absolutely. Absolutely. I think that if you’re working in a global business, you know, the key part of being successful in house I think, is knowing the business ultimately. And I think that if you can spend time in the various operations then it’s, you know, it’s really powerful. But in a, I guess, COVID context, if you can’t physically travel, I think it’s just really important to then spend time with the people that you’re working with who may have different cultural backgrounds or, you know, different rituals. You know, for instance, Middle Eastern colleagues, you know, Saturday and Sunday, aren’t their, you know, they’re not their weekend days, right? So it’s understanding all the cultural nuances and overlays to really understand where that person is coming from. Because that will often then help inform how they show up, right? So I think, yes, if you can travel, absolutely. I know that as a law student, I had a very clear goals list. And on there, it said that I wanted to work into state, which I did. And then I wanted to spend some time overseas. So that sort of starting out for my legal career, it was very clear to me, if I don’t do those things, I don’t feel like I’ve kind of had the legal experience and perhaps success that I wanted to. And certainly my last role, I was traveling a fair bit. And it was really fantastic to be able to spend time in headquarters in Paris. But also when I traveled personally, I would also make sure that if I was in a city where I knew we had an office, and if time permitted, I would meet up with colleagues on the ground, even though it was my personal leave. Because again, it’s just connecting in and you know, seeing where they work. And obviously, then enjoying the city or the town or the place to really get that that cultural understanding of how things work, or at least an insight – you can’t really get an understanding if you’re not living there. But absolutely, I think it rounds you out. And we’re living in such a global world. Now, you know, we were hyper connected in one sense, we were probably more disconnected in another, and we’ll talk about that. But I think those experiences push you out of your comfort zone, and they teach you a lot about yourself, as well. So absolutely, highly recommend it.
12:07 Rob Hanna:
Yeah, I think that’s really good advice. So thank you so much for sharing that. And so Marike, you mentioned earlier that you also went into corporate law, but found that it wasn’t the path for you. How did you make that realization? And talk us through a little bit more that that personal change?
12:25 Marike Knight:
Yeah, it’s an interesting one, I think I just almost instinctively knew that if I stuck around and pursued my legal career for much longer, that I would get very connected to the paycheck. And that then I would be, you know, just, it would be much harder to leave, you know, if I got into, you know, a third or fourth year law role at that young age that I would have kind of found myself like going off, but it’s such a good salary. And so that was a bit for me, the catalysts to go, you know what, I think I just need to jump a ship now and just see what else is out there. You know, what, what else could I possibly do? And at that point, it wasn’t really, it wasn’t actually, you know, mindfulness or starting my own business, it was kind of exploring, you know, negotiation or stakeholder liaison, or just, you know, doing slightly different legal related roles before then literally, kind of making the choice to start my own business. But yeah, I think a lot was that I just, I struggled with the billable, you know, the billable units, that was a huge thing for me. And my father was going through a massive court litigation with, you know, 10 or 15 named parties at the time, and I felt that was just so unethical, because to actually resolve the dispute that he was going through would only cost like $2 million. And I watched all of these massive law firms, just billing and billing and billing and in the end the billable were like, 48 million, or even more, and so that to me, just ethically, I was like, I don’t know whether I’m gonna be able to stay here and do this. So, yeah, that literally was part of the thing that made me you know, just label propel me out. Yeah.
14:18 Rob Hanna:
Oh, thank you for sharing that and sticking with yourself Marike, I also wanted to highlight quite a poignant quote that you’ve written where you said, in the depths of grief, you learned the power of what you had been learning. And I think that alone is a great endorsement of mindfulness and what you’re both teaching at The Mindful Lawyers, but Marike before you launched The Mindful Lawyers, you did launch the Cool Karma Collected, where you’re clearly passionate about influencing employee health and well being so can you tell us a little bit more about your business?
14:54 Marike Knight:
Well, I think it’s critical to say that yes, in that grief it was because I did lose my father. Very, very suddenly. And, you know, I lost him to suicide. So it was just such a, not a shocking time, but it was such a hard time. But yet, here I was, with all of these tools that I’ve been, you know, learning for the last 15 years and I was able to kind of use them. It wasn’t thriving to begin with, let’s face it, but there was just this element of like being able to move from post traumatic stress into post traumatic growth, and a level of psychological hardiness that I was watching other people bereaved by suicide not capable of. And that to me was the thing that just made me go right. This just has to be a business because we need it. Why don’t we learn these tools at school? Why don’t we have that capacity for psychological thriving and hardy and stress hardiness, particularly seeing how much the culture is just becoming more and more focused on that? And so, yeah, it just is as you can tell, there’s such a deep passion. And it was also the meaning making of losing money out of actually having a business that was just all founded on trying to support and make sure that people have all the resources that they need in order to actually, you know, get through mental health issues and get through significant periods of stress. So yeah, Cool Karma Collected was born in 2011, I think after, you know, six months traveling India, and then three months in Bali, I did the whole thing, you know, and then ended up back in Melbourne and commenced Cool Karma Collected. And yeah, like 10 years on I work in massive, I have worked in massive multinational organizations with top leaders. I now try my own teachers, and mentors and, and just absolutely love what I do to be honest, I live it, breathe it, talk, we talk it all day.
16:59 Rob Hanna:
Well, and thank you so much for sharing that. And it’s lovely to speak to business owners that are so passionate about what they do and really love. And you know, I love the name as well. So thank you for all the work that you are doing because it’s so important, even more so in this current time. So, Anna, coming back to to you, you’ve got a stellar legal background, and you’ve tried to squeeze as much wisdom out of you from this particular episode. So part of your legal career was working in house and industries like banking and cosmetics. So what experiences did you gain whilst working in house that you would share with our listeners?
17:33 Anna Lozynski:
Oh, gosh, the list runs so long. I think definitely, in house teaches you to be very commercial. And so what was really interesting when I reflect back, that was probably stultified, a little bit in a law firm environment. You know, one of my taglines is “efficiency never goes out of fashion”. And I remember in a law firm, I’d be like, “Well, can we just cut to the chase?” You know, like, you know, I used to get really frustrated by kind of the process, I’d be like, but we know, this is the answer. You know, let’s work backwards. And, you know, I used to get really frustrated by being asked to do research memos when we knew there wasn’t an answer, but you sort of had to go through. So, like so much sifting through. But it wasn’t until kind of a few goes in that you realize, actually, I’m being asked to confirm there’s no answer. But that wasn’t ever communicated. Clearly, it was almost like, well, here’s the issue, you go find the answer, assuming that there actually is a positive answer. So it was kind of some of those kind of “Yeah, I guess, I guess” perennial issues that are experienced in law firms. Compared to my in house reality, you know, we were legal, the minority at the end of the day, you know, it’s a small team, you know, in a broader business, culturally, it’s very different, right. And so I think, my business skills all the better for it. And now, I kind of obviously can’t compare it because I haven’t been through, you know, I’ve spent a lot of time in house, you know, and climbed up the ladder. Whereas, you know, I left as a fourth year solicitor, you know, on the cusp of sort of senior associateship, in my law firm days, but I think the commerciality, or just the opportunity to work with so many people that aren’t lawyers, just changes your mindset. It feels gross, because you are surrounded by people who don’t do what you do and have often, you know, different views and visions to, you know, what you may be advising on and so I think that kind of dynamicism, it’s changing so quickly. You know, if I think of four years at L’Oreal versus four years in a law firm, the environment didn’t change that much in that time. Did you know the GFC hit that was pretty huge? It’s a bit like the pandemic, right. But the environment didn’t change, the people didn’t change as much as my in-house experience. And I think the other overlay for me, which was a really important one that was on my list, when I was considering in-house roles, was the global factor. So I’ve been fortunate to work into well known, you know, blue chip multinationals. And I absolutely love dealing with people from all around the world. And you know, when I was at General Motors, I was sitting at APEC headquarters, and I was dealing on matters for Uzbekistan for, you know, parts for Russia, for India. And I just, I loved it, because I was like, wow, you know, it just really did expand my mindset and my thinking around, you know, how does this all connect in and how does it work? So they’re probably off the top of my head. There the key things, and yeah, just being able to work with a variety of people who, you know, who are not lawyers.
21:24 Rob Hanna:
Yeah. And I think you get some amazing advice there. And thank you so much, particularly that commerciality.
22:00 Rob Hanna:
So Anna, I want to stick with you. So I also know you’re a big advocate of legal technology, having published ebooks, playbooks focusing on legal roles, support and presence. So what inspired you to publish legal content, which I think is amazing, by the way?
22:36 Anna Lozynski:
Thank you, Rob. As is yours. I, as what I found, I was an early adopter of legal technology here in the Australian market, and certainly within my global legal organization. I always have, you know, it was attracting a lot of attention. And so people were sort of reaching out saying, “What are you doing? And how are you doing it?”. And I was having a lot of one to one conversations I would present at the occasional conference, and then that would lead to a whole follow up of like, “tell us more, how do we do it.” And I really felt this, you know, speaking of mindfulness, or perhaps spirituality, I just felt this calling, I need to write a book about it, I need to. You know, in these one to one, I see an opportunity to create a call to action to inspire others, that legal innovation and change in the legal profession is fantastic. Because what I was experiencing, when I was interacting with people is actually people were coming at it from a place of fear. So they were second guessing me, they were calling out, you know, kind of making some implied digs around. Well, how does that leave? You know, how does that leave compliance? And how does that let you know, are you actually doing your legal job by using legal technology? And so I found that it all was also fee based? So how is this going to affect me as a lawyer? Am I going to lose my job, you know, if you read all the media, it was all fear mongering, basically text going to take over jobs, you know, and that was almost, you know, when I started looking at technology, it’s almost been a decade now. People aren’t losing their jobs, lawyers are as busy as ever. Right. So I think I also wanted to be a positive light. And, shed some practical tips around also, how do you bring this all together? And then obviously, I had exposure to you know, legal operations, which was far more established in the US. And, you know, I had the privilege to travel to the US and kind of connecting with, you know, those various organizations, and it’s just been an absolute like, I’m, you know, I’m just so passionate about it. I love it. I love to generally, you know, I love the way that tech is going to impact business. And so, I guess that’s kind of what I’ve been known for, you know, particularly on socials, is talking about innovation. And also, you know, I guess being a bit thought deliberately thought provoking around it. Because I think there’s just so many opportunities, and so much potential for the legal profession. And I also, you know, I want to be part of a profession that’s not known to be lagging behind, you know, so if I can help in any way and inspire others to do things differently, that kind of, you know, that, that that fills my cup,
25:30 Rob Hanna:
And you definitely are inspiring others. And let’s definitely make sure legal tech is at the table within tech and, you know, keep pioneering for the change for good. So I just want to quickly stick with you. Because we’re going to shift very much now focusing on mindfulness because, you know, as a former commercial insolvency litigator, you know, what made you change your career trajectory to focus on mindfulness.
25:54 Anna Lozynski:
So, I did litigation for about four and a half years, and then I pivoted and became a corporate lawyer. But, you know, what didn’t change, despite the stigma attached at the time to going in house is that it wasn’t cushy. You know, I couldn’t just sit in an office in house and just kind of, you know, sit back and chat to people because I didn’t have billable units. It still came with its pressures, stresses, they were different, but they were still there. And you know, to Marike’s earlier point, I’m type A, you know, recovering perfectionist, you know, really, really caring about wanting to do well, and support my clients, you know, to the best of my ability, and quickly and efficiently and all those kinds of things, plus, managing relationships, managing difficult people, managing working with some really great people, but you know, that’s the reality as well, there’s some tensions there sometimes between lawyers and clients, and just, you know, stresses. At GM, I, you know, I was there when, when GM declared chapter 11 bankruptcy, there was a lot of stuff going down, right, that is a really difficult time to be in a global corporation. And, you know, be privy to information, you know, ahead of time, all those kinds of things. So, if, when you’re being in house, it’s kind of like, you’re responsible for so many problems that aren’t yours, but they kind of are, there’s a lot, that’s, you know, people are relying on you to guard them. So you’ve got to hold space for them, you’ve got to tailor your style to each person you’re working with, you’ve got to upwards manage, you’ve got to down manage, aside manage, you know, it’s actually a big responsibility. And, you know, particularly the more senior you get, let’s face it, that’s what you know, you just take on more stress and responsibility. And so, all of a sudden, you know, as a JC, you’re responsible for 200+ problems of the business at any one time, plus your own personal stuff going on. Plus, everyone’s kind of, you know, lawyers can’t be emotional, they have to be independent, they have to be objective. Again, it’s, you know, plus, you’ve got to be the leader, not just the JC, you know, there’s just, it can be quite complex, really, to navigate. And so when you’re in a high kind of high performing high stress, you know, things may not be high stress, but you may be taking them on as high stress, right. And there’s that fine line between when is stress motivating, and Marike can speak to the science around this, but, you know, where, to what point such a fine line when that stress is motivating, versus when it starts being detrimental? And that just accumulates, accumulates, accumulates. And I think as lawyers when I reflect back, you know, and I catch myself now, mentally, you’re so used to just being able to push through, that’s the conditioning push through, oh, you’re on like, hours 16 of the work day, had another coffee, push through, you know, you know, let’s have a, let’s have a drink of alcohol, then not like, Well, then let’s have coffee, then let’s somehow try and sleep properly, you know, like, it’s this culture of hard work, get the job done, be available all the time, be accessible all the time, you know, be responsive. You know, be nice to everybody as well while you’re doing it with a smile on your face, you know, because there’s that element of customer service because you’re an overhead. So, you know, it can as much as I absolutely love it, it’s very complex to many, particularly when you don’t have the tools to try and help, it may not get rid of it. It just helps cope a bit better. And you know, sometimes it doesn’t help cope at all right? As I said at the start, you know, humans, but I think it’s this, what we’re realizing now because my conditioning was not to focus on mental health, or on sleep, or on good nutrition, not the stuff, the great stuff, you know, that that I think law firms and legal teams are focusing on now. And I think we’re sort of at the beginning of that. But it wasn’t about that people were celebrating, if you didn’t go to sleep for, you know, for two days, it was like, Oh, you’ve done an all-nighter like, then it was reviewed, it wasn’t, you know, no one had a conversation with you to say, “Hey, listen, are you looking after yourself?” Because you build like, you know, plus 20% of your billables, or whatever it is, you know, are you okay? Do you want to take a day off? You know, all of those things? Yes, there was food in the kitchen. And, you know, that kind of support, but not in terms of, are you okay? It was more just like, are you okay, mate? Or how are you mate? Are you busy enough?
31:12 Rob Hanna:
Yeah, yeah. And I think you raise so many points that I’m so passionate about there. And you talk a lot, as one of my mentors always says, particularly about you rising up, you know, “new level new devil”, you know, there’s always going to be extra pressures, extra stressors, extra challenges. And also, when you can’t help others; if you don’t help yourself, you can’t pour from an empty cup. So Marike, I do want to come back to you, because this is segwaying very nicely, you know, there clearly is, but do you feel there is a significant need for lawyers to focus on mindfulness? And if so, specifically, why?
31:44 Marike Knight:
I think we need to kind of shatter the belief of what, what mindfulness is, I think a lot of people kind of have this belief that is just like calm presence. It’s just this like thing that just is going to calm me down. But you know, too many of Anna’s points, when I hear what she talks about is, you know, how to, you know, have that open mindset and growth mindset and the capacity to change our neural pathways and our structures and to mitigate stress so that we don’t have a reactive brain, but an integrated brain, and we’re able to use the parts of our brain that are really critical to innovation and empathy, and all of the wonderful things. That’s actually what mindfulness does, it’s not just a nice relaxing thing. It is literally like our, you know, super power in upgrading the software of our brains, and also managing and mitigating all of the stress that obviously Anna’s talking about the buildup of stress that we experienced as lawyers, so that we’re not getting to the point of burnout, so that we’re not getting to the point of such deep fatigue, that we actually can’t stay in the in the profession, or we lose, we lose hope or meaning about it. So I think it’s just critical for everyone, but particularly lawyers, because of the mindsets that we have kind of been conditioned to have. And so a lot of my first maybe ten years of practicing mindfulness was all how do I actually uncondition that a little bit so I can see much more broadly and yeah, have a different perspective. Not that the other perspective isn’t good. It’s just that we need to have more of that openness. So for me mindfulness is that it’s not just a relief, relaxation technique.
33:37 Rob Hanna:
Absolutely. And that leads very nicely on to the mindful lawyers. So Marike, you know, how did this come about? You’ve touched on it about how the two amazing people come to meet to collaborate and basically produce a Buddhist wonderful project.
33:53 Marike Knight:
Well, I mean, I was so fortunate to work with, at L’Oreal and guide, some of her team as well as you know, all of L’Oreal through, you know, pretty tough, tough time last year when we’re in our long lockdown, so to give them the resources, so we had already known each other for some time, but then to have that opportunity together was wonderful. And then when she kind of went out on her own, there was that real kind of feeling in me of like, oh, this could be a really great pairing, because obviously, she’d spent so much more time in the law firms. And then I’ve done such a great body of work in the science and understanding mindfulness that it just felt like a pretty obvious, you know, pairing. And then I guess, for me, the actual lawyer pace and this idea of it not being something over and above because we all know that lawyers don’t need extra stuff. But how do we have these micro practices that we can kind of implement into our everyday operating rhythm that don’t feel over and above, but just start to become part of the operating rather of as the entire law firm or the in house, like however it is. So we became quite interested in how can we do that and, and that’s what really led to, you know, this idea of the billable unit or these tiny little bots, that would give them 14 different practices that then they’d have this toolkit to walk away with and start to play around with start to experiment with. So that was, you know, just a bit of a, I don’t know, it became something over the what? Lockdown five, lockdown six, I kind of remember. And there’s been a lot of lockdown in in Australia, a lot of time to talk.
35:38 Rob Hanna:
Yeah, oh thank you. Absolutely a lot of time for reflection as well. I’m thinking so, Anna, coming to you. I believe you have two very exciting courses starting in January. So can you tell us a bit more about that?
35:54 Anna Lozynski:
Yeah, so the boot camp is running again, starting on the 31st of January 2022. So as Marike described, that’s the six minutes today. So we’re more empowered you. That’s our tagline. And you can do that at any time. So the course sort of launches at a certain date, just because we’re trying to create that community and have some quick cohorts, lawyers, like deadlines, but like start dates, so we’re feeling into all those things. So that starts on the 31st of January. And then also, we kick off the four week mastermind, I believe, on the 21st of January. And that really is so the bootcamp is virtual fully virtual, can be done at any time. The person likes within sort of the timeframe, the mastermind is a bit more intimate. It’s time with us virtually once a week across four weeks. And we’re kind of covering four topics. Not a lecture style at all. But really, we want to create community, as you said at the start, where people can come together and unpack for topics, avoiding burnout, switching off being with uncertainty and change and imposter syndrome. Our experience is a lot of legal environments, we offer lectures around this, but then you can’t discuss it. And you can’t share your experience and have a real and open conversation because you might fear about how it’s going to be misinterpreted by or perceived by your colleagues in the kind of a work setting. So it’s an opportunity for, you know, a smaller group of people to get together and we’ll be running these, you know, across the year as well to really deep dive, and connect on a deeper level around some of these important topics, which are particularly, I mean, they’re touching everybody, let’s face it, but particularly how they’re touching lawyers.
38:10 Rob Hanna:
Yeah, and I think it’s so important. And you gave a really clear outline there Marike, you know, what do you hope for, you know, participants to gain from the courses, you know, and obviously getting a really good overview, you know, is there a real specific aim or something you want to hear from people that have kind of gone through the courses afterwards?
38:31 Marike Knight:
Well, I think one of the critical objectives for me is first that felt experience like experiential kind of learning, or as with the billable boot camp, because there’s all these tiny little bite sized practices, but then, with the mastermind, it’s just that idea of really, we can sit back and we can watch some slides and go, Oh, yeah, I can do that. I can do that, you know, we can always think in our mind, but then it’s like, how are we applying that? What’s the applicability here? And so the mastermind is really that opportunity to get together and really create some accountable like goals that we can then you know, circle back in every week and go how’d that go? You know, what did you do there differently and really allow a foster that environment of trialing things and seeing how it works. And yeah, so that, and then on top of that, is this idea with the mastermind around and also with the billable bootcamp of starting to have that opportunity to share more authentically, because I think we do have a Sharia law, and we do try and keep it all together. You know, I’m not stressed. So that doesn’t affect me or this, this, that and the other but the reality is, I see so many lawyers as my individual clients, and I don’t think I’ve come across one yet that isn’t experiencing one of those four, if not all of those four, and sorry to have that ability for people to be together and realize that it’s not just them. That actually is a fundamental factor of being a lawyer. And that can be a very healing thing in itself, that sense of community and sharing and kind of not taking it so personally, and not needing to hide it or be afraid of it, but really kind of coming into the light within going. Okay, I’m going to work on this imposter syndrome because I don’t want to be in it like I don’t have to be so. Yeah, to me, that’s the outcomes that I’d love to say is that that real community authenticity, and that felt sense of all of the different tools and techniques.
40:29 Rob Hanna:
Love, love, love that that’s everything I think is so important, you know, because the stronger you make that community, the more open that community, the more people will feel safe spaces, and you will get so much more from that. And yeah, I couldn’t agree more that sort of authentically, you know, we talk about personal brand a lot. I always say it’s not perfect brand, you know, personal brand is, you know, if you’re having a crap day, that is part of your personal brand, honoring yourself. So you’re a human. So Marike, kind of finally before we look to wrap up, for anyone wanting to join the courses, how can they sign up? And for those interested in learning more about the courses, where can they access the information?
41:04 Marike Knight:
Well, they just need to go to our website, which is www, who says that these days, it is The Mindful Lawyers dot com dot a is it just it’s just dot com Oh my god. I just got scared there that it’s AU. It’s just dot com, we had a real decision around whether it was not global. But yeah, so they can hit The Mindful Lawyers. And there’s all of the information there. And obviously, the links to sign up for both. And there’s also they can reach out to us. We’ve got some PDFs, particularly for a lot we’ve had a lot of law firms reach out to actually think about bringing us in house. So also to reach out to us personally so that we can talk about how we can do those programs for them in house as well.
41:51 Rob Hanna:
Definitely. So on that note, then Anna coming to you first, if people want to follow or get in touch about anything we’ve discussed today, what’s the best way for them to contact you. And please feel free to shout out any relevant social media or web links, and we’ll also share them in this episode for you.
42:06 Anna Lozynski:
Thanks, Rob. So it’s annalozynski.com. On Instagram, the handle is at Legally Innovative. On LinkedIn, it’s my name, Anna Lozynski. On clubhouse, it’s Anna Loz. On Twitter, it’s Anna underscore Lozinsky. And I think that’s all my socials for now.
42:32 Marike Knight:
Mine’s a little bit more confusing. So it’s Cool, Karma, Collected, even though it’s a part of Cool, Karma and Collected. So www dot Cool Karma Collected and then on my Instagram, it’s called Karma Collected as well. And then on LinkedIn, I’m just Marike Knight. So that’s how you can find me.
42:54 Rob Hanna:
Well, I just want to say an absolute massive thank you to both of you and Marike, it’s been a real pleasure having you on the show. I know how much this episode is going to help so many people within the legal industry around the globe. So wishing you both lots of continued success with your current projects, future careers. And beyond that from all of us on the Legally Speaking Podcast over and out. This week’s review comes from Beth Zang, super useful and easy to listen to by stars really enjoyed this podcast such amazing insights and advice. Beth, thank you so much for your lovely kind words. From all of us on the Legally Speaking Podcast. Thanks a million.