Mindfulness in Legal Education

Rhonda Magee speaking at the 2013 Workshop on Mindfulness in Legal Education
Rhonda Magee, Professor at University of San Francisco School of Law, speaks to law teachers and administrators at the 2013 Workshop on Mindfulness in Legal Education at Berkeley Law. 

A growing number of law instructors and law schools are interested in offering mindfulness courses and programs to their students. This page is meant to serve as a hub of information on the subject, including syllabi, useful audio/video and articles, and research.

The June 2013 Workshop on Mindfulness in Legal Education at Berkeley Law was a seminal event in bringing together law teachers involved in mindfulness initiatives around the country. To view videos from the event, please click here.

Recommended Reading

Below are a few readings we highly recommend for those seeking an introduction to mindfulness and/or its application to law. We have posted a number of other useful readings and resources on the Mindfulness Initiative's Resources page.

Articles

Riskin, Len. "The Contemplative Lawyer: On the Potential Contributions of Mindfulness Meditation to Law Students, Lawyers, and their Clients." 7 Harv. Negotiation L. Rev. 1 (2002). Available here.

Magee, Rhonda. "Educating Lawyers to Meditate?" UMKC Law Rev. 79 (2010): 535. Available here.

The Mindful Lawyer Symposium in the Journal of Legal Education from Spring 2012 also provides a useful reference for the state of mindfulness in legal education.

Books

Becoming a Joyful Lawyer by Deborah Calloway

This book provides instructions in contemplative practices and how to bring the skills learned in those practices into one's legal practice and life. Author Deborah Calloway has taught a course on Contemplative Lawyering at University of Connecticut School of Law for more than 10 years.

Contemplative Practices in Higher Education: Powerful Methods to Transform Teaching and Learning. By Daniel Barbezat and Mirabai Bush. Two leaders in bringing mindfulness into the realm of higher education share practical steps and insights for those interested in bringing contemplative methods into their own teaching and institutions.

Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman

Mindfulness is designed as an introduction to meditation, based on mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), and offers a structured, 8-week program for learning meditation, accompanied with online resources.

Mindfulness For Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment--And Your Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Another fine introduction to mindfulness meditation, accompanied by audio recordings, by one of the pioneers of bringing meditation into the professional world.

Mindfulness and Professional Responsibility: A Guide Book for Integrating Mindfulness into the Law School Curriculum by Scott Rogers and Jan L. Jacobowitz

In this book Scott Rogers and Jan Jacobowitz, both attendees of the June Workshop, share with readers their methodology for weaving together mindfulness and professional responsibility in the classroom. Readers are offered a glimpse into their popular University of Miami School of Law course, Mindful Ethics: Professional Responsibility for Lawyers in the Digital Age, and its creative curriculum that draws upon the application of traditional professional responsibility issues in the context of social media. Intended to introduce teachers to mindfulness practices and offer a method of integrating it into their classrooms, the book’s largest section contains numerous mindfulness demonstrations, exercises, and insights.

On Engagement: Learning to Pay Attention by Lisle Baker and Daniel P. Brown, an article about learning to pay attention through carefully designed mental practice. 


 


Syllabi for Mindfulness/Contemplative Law courses and programs

Emotional Intelligence - William Blatt, University of Miami School of Law

Contemplative Lawyering - Deborah Calloway, University of Connecticut School of Law

The Law and Your Life: Aligning Personal Values with the Practice of Law / Fundamentals of Professional Development - Judith Gordon and Ken Klee, UCLA School of Law (proposed revision)

Effective and Sustainable Law Practice: The Meditative Perspective - Charles Halpern, Berkeley Law

Mindfulness and Professional Identity - Angela Harris, UC Davis School of Law

Inns of Court Program handout - Todd Peterson, George Washington University School of Law

Emotional Intelligence in Law - Richard Reuben, University of Missouri School of Law

Tools of Awareness for Lawyering Course (a.k.a. Conflict Management in the Legal Profession) - Len Riskin, University of Florida School of Law


Audio-Visual Resources

This is a small selection of videos connecting mindfulness and law. Please also see the videos from the June 2013 Workshop on Mindfulness in Legal Education

In the video/presentation below, David Zlotnick, a professor at Rogers Williams University School of Law and a former federal prosecutor, discusses the application of mindfulness to trial advocacy, one of the most stressful and demanding forms of law practice. Zlotnick has been incorporating mindfulness training into his teaching for several years. (Video courtesy of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society)



Below, Jack Kornfield presents "The Case For Mindfulness and Wisdom in Law" at Berkeley Law in February 2012, as part of the Berkeley Initiative for Mindfulness in Law speaker series. Kornfield eloquently explains how practices of the heart can address difficulties faced by lawyers and improve the quality of justice. He also leads a series of mindfulness exercises that help illustrate the transformative potential of meditation.


Below, Sujatha Baliga, a leading practitioner and advocate for restorative justice who was featured recently in a NY Times Magazine cover story, discusses the nexus of mindfulness and restorative justice in a talk co-sponsored by the Berkeley Initiative for Mindfulness in Law and the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice. Her personal path to mindfulness and restorative justice is a moving story worth very much worth hearing.