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The go-go days are gone-gone. Welcome to the go-slo days. We’re toiling in an age of shrinking expectations, a time for shedding material possessions. It’s enough to make a crass attorney wanna curl up in a ball and kiss his ass goodbye — assuming he or she is sufficiently limber to perform this feat. But don’t panic. Take a deep breath and accept the new reality. Complexity is out. Simplicity is in. Spinning is out. Step classes are so five minutes ago. Yoga is the next wave. Lawyers are flocking to yoga classes like, well, like lawyers flock to the scene of accidents. Corporate counsel who for years arranged bridge financing are now getting into the bridge pose. Attorneys have progressed from twisting the truth to twisting their torsos. Litigators who formerly worked on stipulations are now working on sun salutations. Partners who couldn’t see their toes last year can touch their toes today. Judges who once referred cases to mediation have begun referring them to meditation. The mergers and acquisitions sections of megafirms — once the hotbed of big-buck M&As — now specialize in mantras and affirmations. Even though yoga is the most democratic of disciplines, certain telltale signs make it easy to peg the recently laid-off lawyers in class. Prime example: If someone places his yoga mat in a sought-after spot and then offers to flip the venue to a latecomer for a fat fee, good bet the flipper’s a real estate lawyer. Second dead giveaway: When a pupil kicks into a handstand and business cards rain down from her yoga shorts, she’s probably a lawyer. The clincher: If someone threatens to file a trespass action when his neighbor’s mat encroaches on his space, the litigious one’s definitely a lawyer. FOR THE NOVICE As a public service to yoga novices, below are a few helpful terms for the barefoot barrister: Cobra.There’s really no need to describe the cobra position, as it’s the pose lawyers naturally settle into. Warrior I, II and III.These are basic standing poses. For lawyers, however, the poses are called Worrier I, II and III; and they are ideal poses for managing partners of firms. The M.P. of a small firm should stand in Worrier I, the M.P. of a medium firm in Worrier II, and the M.P. of a large firm in III, the most advanced worrying stance. This accords with the ancient wisdom that small firms mean small headaches; big firms, big headaches. Lotus.Ah, the classic sitting position. To visualize the pose, let’s break it down into full-, half- and no-lotus positions. Full lotus: Right foot on left lap and left foot on right lap. This is analogous to a full-equity partner in the sense that, once wedged into the pretzel pose, it’s nearly impossible to extricate oneself. Half lotus: Right foot on the left lap and left foot on the floor (or vice versa). This is like a non-equity partner, with one foot in the firm and the other out. Hard but not impossible to pull out. No-lotus position: This is definitely the one for associates because it allows them to keep both legs loose, limber and ready to bolt. Tree.This standing pose requires great balance and concentration. Indeed, the pupil stares at a spot on the wall and stands perfectly still. Naturally, it’s an ideal pose for the deadwood in the office, who already are adept at staring all day at the clock while doing nothing. Yoga is the perfect tool for handling the vicissitudes of law practice, of clearing the mind during booms and occupying the mind during busts. Of course, not everyone will take to yoga. If yoga’s not your bag, that’s OK, too. Just curl up in a ball and kiss your asanas goodbye. Paul Coggins is a principal in the Dallas office of Fish & Richardson, a national intellectual property, complex litigation and corporate law firm. He is a former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas. His e-mail address is [email protected]. “The Cutting Edge” appears monthly inTexas Lawyer .

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