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Charles Halpern

Title: Director of Berkeley Initiative for Mindfulness in Law
Tel: 510-528-8536
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Charles Halpern, currently a Lecturer, is a public interest entrepreneur, an innovator in legal education, a pioneer in the public interest law movement, and a long-time meditator. 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. In the early '90s, he hosted meetings of the Working Group on Contemplative Mind in Society, and subsequently has served as the chair of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. The Foundation supported the revival of Jewish meditation, meditation retreats for environmental and social activists, and programs to restore the contemplative dimension in law, journalism, and business.

He was the Founding Dean of the City University of New York Law School at Queens College, a public interest law school with a novel curriculum. Previously, he was a professor at Stanford and Georgetown Law Schools, and a Senior Fellow at Yale Law School. He was the cofounder 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 (1976).

After graduating with honors from Yale Law School and Harvard College, he practiced law at Arnold & Porter, in Washington, D.C.. He was co-founder and chair of the board of Demos: A Network for Ideas and Action, a new think tank in New York City. He has practiced meditation for the past 20 years, with a variety of Jewish and Buddhist teachers.

His book, Making Waves and Riding The Currents: Activism And the Practice of Wisdom, was published in 2008. In the fall of 2010, he organized and chaired a conference on The Mindful Lawyer at UC Berkeley School of Law, attended by over 180 lawyers, judges, professors, and students from all over the country.


B.A., Harvard University (1961)
J.D., Yale University (1964)

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