The Initiative will coordinate and expand the existing programs at Berkeley Law on mindfulness and law. It will also work to build a nationwide network of lawyers, judges, law professors, and law students committed to bringing mindfulness into their work in order to create a more just, reflective, and compassionate legal order.
A Message from Dean Christopher Edley, announcing the Berkeley Initiative for Mindfulness in Law
I am pleased to announce the launch of the Berkeley Initiative for Mindfulness in Law with Charlie Halpern, as the Director. Charlie is a Lecturer at Boalt and he is familiar to many of you as the founder of the Center for Law and Social Policy and the founding Dean of the CUNY Law School. He has been connected with Berkeley Law for almost a decade, exploring meditation, mindfulness and law with students, faculty and alumni.
For the past three years, he has offered a Seminar on Effective and Sustainable Law Practice: The Meditative Perspective. Many of the students in Charlie’s seminar have found the seminar offered significant insights into their law study and supported them in becoming more creative and balanced in their approach to their legal education. The number of students who are interested in the seminar has grown, and over the past eight years, Charlie has also advised the weekly law and meditation group which has met to explore the value of meditation practice for law students. In his book, Making Waves And Riding the Currents: Activism And the Practice of Wisdom, he explores his own experience in integrating mindfulness practice into his work in the law.
Last year Berkeley Law co-hosted a conference on The Mindful Lawyer, which Charlie organized with participation from over 180 lawyers, judges, professors (from 20 law schools), and students to explore meditative practice and the conceptual issues which have arisen in meditation courses and programs.The Journal of Legal Education has agreed to publish 5 of the papers from the conference as a symposium issue. The discussions at that conference attested to the attention that is being given to mindfulness in law schools and in the profession. There will be a second conference scheduled for late spring of 2013.
The Initiative will undertake a variety of activities during the current academic year including exploring the possibility of expanding course offerings grounded in mindfulness so that interested students will have a better opportunity to develop these skills. It will bring speakers to the Law School, including lawyers, professors, and judges who have integrated meditation practice with law practice, and experienced meditation teachers who have participated in past law-related activities. It will offer the Berkeley Law community introductions to meditation, and gatherings to explore the law and meditation connection.
It will connect with other mindfulness-based courses, research, and other activities in the UC system. It will participate in research projects to document the impact of this work on the lives of students and lawyers. Finally, and importantly, it will seek to develop financial resources to support this work in the future.
I believe this Initiative will make a great contribution to the educational experience at Berkeley Law, and be a source of insight for the legal profession.
Christopher Edley, Jr.
Charles Halpern, Director
Charles Halpern, a Lecturer at Berkeley Law, is an innovator in legal education, a pioneer in the public interest law movement, and a long-time meditator. He was the Founding Dean of the City University of New York Law School, a public interest law school with a commitment to “law in the service of human needs.” Previously, he was a professor at Stanford and Georgetown Law Schools, and a Senior Fellow at Yale Law School. He was the co-founder of the Center for Law and Social Policy (1969), the Mental Health Law Project (now the Bazelon Center for Law and Mental Health) (1971), and the Council for Public Interest Law (now the Alliance for Justice) (1976). After graduating with honors from Yale Law School and Harvard College, he practiced law at Arnold & Porter, in Washington, D.C.. From 1989-2000, he served as the founding President of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, stimulating the development of a creative program in the area of contemplative practice. For two decades, he served as the chair of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. He was chair of the board for Demos: A Network for Ideas and Action, a progressive think tank in New York City. He has worked in the area of law and meditation for the past 30 years, and chaired a conference on The Mindful Lawyer at Berkeley Law in October, 2010. He is the author of Making Waves and Riding the Currents, Activism and the Practice of Wisdom (2008).
Jennifer Edlin, Consultant for Program Development
Jennifer Edlin, the Consultant for of the Berkeley Initiative for Mindfulness in Law, brings to the program legal skills, an established mindfulness practice, and experience teaching mindfulness to lawyers and law students. In addition, she has administrative, organizational development and entrepreneurial experience. She was an associate at Cooley Godward; a member of the executive team and head of the legal department at iPass, an internet start up; and corporate counsel at Yahoo!
Jennifer received a Masters degree in Integral Counseling Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies, a course of study that marries eastern mindfulness with western psychology. In her work as a psychotherapist, Jennifer relies heavily on teaching mindfulness, and her practice has included numerous law students and lawyers. Most recently she has served as the clinic manager of a California Institute of Integral Studies clinic in San Francisco.
She holds an AB from Princeton University and graduated from NYU with a JD and an MBA. Her husband Aaron is a member of the faculty of the Law School and the Economics Department at UC Berkeley.
Dan Carlin, Assistant to the Director
Dan is a 3L at Berkeley Law, focusing on environmental policy and entrepreneurship. Since being introduced to meditation in college, he has found mindfulness practice to be a source of creativity, insight and balance. Before law school, he worked as a reporter in Southern California and Paris, France, and as a management consultant in Chicago. In addition to his role with the Mindfulness Initiative, Dan is President of the Environmental Law Society, and coordinates the Berkeley Law Mindfulness Group, which offers weekly guided meditations and occasional retreats for students, faculty and staff at the law school.
Mirabai Bush is founding director of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, an organization dedicated to bringing about positive transformation in society through the spread of contemplative practices.
Zoketsu Norman Fischer
Angela Harris is Professor of Law at UC Davis King Hall School of Law in Davis, CA. She is a leading scholar of critical race theory and feminist jurisprudence, and the co-author of "From 'The Art of War' to 'Being Peace': Mindfulness and Community Lawyering in a Neoliberal Age."Dacher Keltner, Ph.D, is the Director of the Greater Good Science Center and a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also author of Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life and a co-editor of The Compassionate Instinct: The Science of Human Goodness.
Jack Kornfield is co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and a founding teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California, where he currently lives and teaches. His many books have been translated into 20 languages and sold more than a million copies.
Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Ph. D, is the Science Director of the Greater Good Science Center, and serves as Scientific Advisor to the Berkeley Initiative for Mindfulness in Law.
Chade-Meng Tan is a Google engineer, award-winning author, and co-creator of the Search Inside Yourself mindfulness course at Google, which has taught meditation to more than 1,000 Google employees.
Jon Kabat-Zinn Ph. D, is internationally known for his work as a scientist, writer, and mindfulness meditation teacher engaged in bringing mindfulness practices, especially mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), into the mainstream of medicine and society.
Kathy Abrams is the Herma Hill Kay Distinguished Professor of Law at Berkeley Law where she teaches feminist jurisprudence, voting rights and constitutional law.
William Fernholz is Lecturer in Residence at Berkeley Law, where he teaches Appellate Advocacy, Civil Rights, and Employment Discrimination, and serves as Director of the law school’s Appellate Program.
Mary-Louise Frampton is an adjunct professor at Berkeley Law, where her teaching and clinical work focuses on social justice and restorative justice. She also serves as Faculty Director of the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice at Berkeley Law.
David Oppenheimer is the Director of Professional Skills and Clinical Professor of Law at Berkeley Law. He teaches Civil Procedure, and directs the Berkeley Law program in Professional Skills.
john powell is a scholar of race, social justice and civil liberties. He leads UC Berkeley’s Haas Diversity Research Center and holds the Robert D. Haas Chancellor’s Chair in Equity and Inclusion. He is founder and former Executive Director of the Institute on Race & Poverty at University of Minnesota Law School.
Sue Schechter is Lecturer in Residence and Program Director of the Field Placement program at Berkeley Law. She teaches Professional Responsibility and the Field Placement Seminar.
Jeffrey Selbin is Faculty Director of East Bay Community Law Center and Clinical Professor of Law at Berkeley Law. He founded EBCLC's HIV/AIDS Law Project in 1990 as a Skadden Fellow, and served as EBCLC's Executive Director from 2002 through 2006.
Jonathan Simon is the Adrian A. Kragen Professor of Law at Berkeley Law, where he teaches courses on criminal law, criminal justice, law and culture, among others.
Tirien Steinbach is a Lecturer at Berkeley Law and Executive Director of the East Bay Community Law Center, the largest area provider of free legal services to low-income clients.