For Law Students

Mindfulness Programming for Berkeley Law students - Overview

Santa Clara University professor Shauna Shapiro teaches students about the psychology and neuroscience of meditation
Santa Clara University psychology professor Shauna Shapiro teaches Berkeley Law students about the neuroscience of meditation in a lunchtime speaker presentation. 

A core goal of the Mindfulness Initiative is to introduce students to the benefits of mindfulness, and its applicability to law study and practice. To do this, we offer a variety of programs including biannual retreats, drop-in meditation sessions, speaker events, clinical trainings, and both for-credit and non-credit courses. Apart from our overnight retreats, which carry a small fee, all of these programs are free and open to anyone, and we warmly invite you to join us.

We aspire to make mindfulness practice accessible and welcoming to individuals of all backgrounds, orientations, religious affiliations, career aspirations, and levels of skepticism about the practice. Our programs are designed for those with no meditation experience, and we warmly welcome the "Beginner's Mind" of newcomers.

Getting Started

Students who are new to meditation and eager to experience the benefits often ask how best to begin. The best approach depends on each individual's learning style and schedule, however one of the following approaches is likely to work for most people:

  • Attend one of our courses. If you are a 1L, we encourage you to participate in the non-credit Introduction to Mindfulness for 1Ls. If you are a 2L/3L, we invite you to take the 2-credit seminar, Effective and Sustainable Law Practices: A Mindfulness-Based Perspective in Fall 2014.
  • Sign up for a retreat with the Mindfulness Initiative (our next is a free, one-day retreat on October 25, 2014) or at one of the many nearby meditation centers. Recommended centers include Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and the International Vipassana Centers. We also recommend the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Courses at the UCSF Osher Center in San Francisco.
  • To dip your toe into mindfulness practice, join one of our drop-in meditation sessions, held every Monday at 1 pm during the semester. The session location is announced each week on the Boalt calendar.
  • For any other questions, write Dan Carlin, Associate Director of the Mindfulness Initiative at

Recommended Resources

At Berkeley Law

Mindful Mondays - The Mindfulness Initiative offers a weekly meditation session from 1-2 pm in the Morrison Foerster Room (Simon 298). All are welcome, and no meditation experience is necessary! 

Meditation and Silent Prayer Room - Room 239C (across from Room 244) has been designated a space for silent contemplation throughout the day. Please take advantage of this great resource.


Mindful Mondays: As part of a six-week series offered in Spring 2014 at Berkeley Law, meditation teacher Shivani Ray offers remarks and instructions on various topics related to meditation and law school.

Dan Siegel at Google Tech Talks on Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation. Siegel, a leading neuroscientist, explains the neurological basis for meditation's effectiveness in improving various cognitive functions.

Jack Kornfield on The Case for Mindfulness and Wisdom in Law. The renowned meditation teacher (and father of Caroline Kornfield, '12) offers some eloquent reflections on the value of mindfulness to lawyers, and leads a series of short mindfulness trainings.


Mindfulness Initiative Guide to Peaceful Campus Spots - This document offers suggestions for parks, study spots, yoga classes, and more, all within a short walk of the law school.

Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Wherever You Go, There You Are. A wonderful introduction to the spirit and practice of mindfulness.

Hanh, Thich-Nhat. The Miracle of Mindfulness. A short, poetic book on the essence of mindfulness by one of the most respected modern meditation teachers.


Insight Timer - An excellent meditation timer app available on iOS and Android. The basic version is free. $2.99 version includes more bell tones, guided meditations, and a useful journaling function.

Pomodoro Technique - A productivity technique that uses a meditation-like structure that teaches you to work more efficiently and mindfully. For more information, see Various web-based and smartphone apps are available. Our favorites include Pomodoro Timer ($1.99, for Mac/iOS), Pomodoro Timer for Windows 7 (Free) and Pomodroido (Free, Android).