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Transforming Practices: Finding Joy and Satisfaction in the Legal Life Paperback


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Product Details

  • Series: ABA Journal Books
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (January 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809225085
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809225088
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,135,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Spirituality and law practice may sound like an oxymoron, but a quiet quest to find deeper meaning in life and work as a lawyer and to cure the ailments of today's cutthroat law firm environment is well underfoot within the legal community. Transforming Practices: Finding Joy and Satisfaction in the Legal Life is the first book to explore this movement toward bringing one's soul to the practice of law and returning to lawyering from a healing perspective, rather than an adversarial one. Filled with inspiring profiles of lawyers who have successfully changed their work habits and attitudes and who have healed the split between inner and outer, "us" and "them," and individual and community, Transforming Practices makes it clear that the opportunity for transformation exists for every lawyer, in every kind of law practice. Through the use of narrative, interviews and anecdotes that draw upon the experiences of lawyers from a broad spectrum of practice areas, the book demonstrates that it is okay for a lawyer to be human, to care, to let the values and priorities that matter at home also matter at work. Interestingly, Steven Keeva is not a lawyer himself. Rather, as a senior editor for the ABA Journal, the most widely read legal publication in the world, he has written about lawyers and the legal profession for nearly a decade. (Danielle Egan-Miller, Business Editor, NTC/Contemporary). --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Steven Keeva's Transforming Practices Is Changing Lives

"Every lawyer and law student in America [should] read this book, study it, savor it, and make it a constant companion."
--Texas Lawyer

"If you don't like what you've become, if your life seems empty, sterile or diminished . . . and if you've ever desired a more fulfilling life in the law, then read this book!"
--The Pennsylvania Lawyer

"Goes back to the fundamentals of our humanity to describe a better way to be a lawyer. It actually does more than that. It describes how to be a better human being. Everything else flows from that."
--Corporate Legal Times

"An amazing little book that has the potential to significantly affect the lives of lawyers and their families. . . . Rather than write another book aimed at improving what we do, Keeva has written a book that can help improve who we are and what we are."
--Trial magazine

". . . Provides a needed resource for lawyers seeking to wrest their lives from the often implacable maw of corporate life."
--New York Law Journal

"[Transforming Practices] should help all lawyers recover the integration of life and work that alone makes a day's work worth it."
--Boston Bar Journal

Transforming Practices presents a revolutionary vision to America's nearly one million lawyers, many of whom have become disillusioned with their careers. Author Steven Keeva, assistant managing editor of the influential ABA Journal, shows how by cultivating a vibrant inner life, any lawyer can find profound satisfaction, pleasure, and joy in his or her work.

Through the use of narrative, interviews, and anecdotes from lawyers who have found ways to bring renewed meaning, fulfillment, and a deep sense of pleasure to their law practices, Keeva demonstrates that it is absolutely OK for a lawyer to be human, to care, to let the values and priorities that matter at home also matter on the job. Transforming Practices makes it clear that the opportunity for transformation exists for every lawyer, in every kind of law practice.

New to this edition is a foreword by Jan Schlichtmann, the lawyer whose extraordinary story was told in Jonathan Harr's bestseller, A Civil Action.


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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By John V. McShane on January 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Nearly every practicing lawyer owns and carries a briefcase. If each lawyer's briefcase contained a worn, dog-eared, repeatedly read copy of Steve Keeva's remarkable book, Transforming Practices: Finding Joy and Satisfaction in the Legal Life, the practice of law would be a much more joyful place. My copy is extensively underlined, highlighted and adorned with yellow Post-Its to mark the multiple epiphanies I found in each chapter. Out of the hundreds of books and articles I have read on lawyering over my thirty-two years of practice, none have given me as many "ah-hah's" as I received from Transforming Practices.
The genius of Keeva's book is his recognition and description of the crises in the legal profession as a spiritual crisis requiring inner work as the solution. This spiritual crisis comes in part from a lack of congruence between lawyers' daily work and their core values and yearnings. In other words, what we do every day on the outside is dissonant from how we feel on the inside. It has long been thought that the solution is for the lawyer to simply compartmentalize his or her life, e.g., do and say things at work that would not be appropriate in other settings, such as with family, friends, or in the community. However, it is now clear that the compartmentalization approach simply does not work and produces even greater distress.
In order to bring more harmony and joy into lawyers' lives and work, Keeva outlines a number of practices designed to minimize the gap between lawyer's professional selves and their humanity.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Chakwin on August 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
There was a joke a few years back about a Russian banker. The devil appeared and told him he could have control over one of the largest banks in the country. All he would have to do was sign over his, his wife's, and their children's souls for all eternity. The banker hesitated, thought for a moment and finally looked at the impatient demon "I don't get it," he said quizzically "what's the catch?" Too many Americans think of lawyers as (sorry!) soulmates to this mythical banker and too many lawyers act and live in ways that justify this belief. Part of this comes with the territory: we ask lawyers to do unpleasant things for us, be greedy and unreasonable for us in business and matrimonial disputes, help us hide from the consequences of our actions in criminal cases, and sometimes stretch the envelope in getting us what we feel we are owed in any number of types of claims. We judge lawyers by how well they do these things and then (depending which side of the dispute we were on) salve our consciences or get even by disdaining them for doing what we want them to do. Lawyers, like many other people, fall easily into their ascribed roles. Many of them revel in how unscrupulous they are, how cleverly they helped miscreants escape, etc. And, of course, many of these personality traits have appeared in people running legal organizations: greed, amorality, lack of connection with the human consequences of their actions. Is this only in law? I don't think so. Steven Keeva's book brings light into this dark and shadowy place. He shows some lawyers who are opting out of this world of mindless, soulless predation and are finding ways to allow their work to nurture, rather than prey upon, their souls.Read more ›
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Arlene S. Hirsch on October 12, 1999
Format: Hardcover
As a career counselor who often works with disillusioned and unhappy attorneys, I really appreciated Steve Keeva's book for its understanding of the inherent difficulties in practicing law and its wise and compassionate solution.
For unhappy lawyers who still want to practice law, but also want to enjoy it more, Keeva's book is an important reminder that, while we may not be able to transform a whole profession, each and every one of us has the power to transform ourselves. It takes just as much courage for lawyers to stand up for themselves as it does to stand up for their clients.
I thank Steve Keeva for writing this book and can only hope that his readers heed his message and heal themselves.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Y. Sawusch, RN, BSN, J.D., (hwwpc@aol.com) on August 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
If you are a lawyer who feels overwhelmed, unfulfilled or just plain angry with your practice (or love someone who is) this book is your compass to happiness. Steven Keeva has found a variety of lawyers who love their work and he carefully analyzes why. He will guide you, step-by-step, back to satisfaction, or show you where it is if you have never been there. Better yet, buy this book for an aspiring lawyer at the beginning of the journey...it is the best gift you could offer.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Steve Keeva's new book is godsend to any frustrated lawyer who can't now recall why he or she ever became a lawyer! This is not simply another "feel good" book, although you will feel good when you are done reading it. This book offers concrete strategies for improving your practice of law and having more fun in your life. I highly recommend it!
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