Course Detail
Course Components:
Mindfulness refers to the practice of paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, without criticism or judgment. Practicing mindfulness can help us develop greater awareness, concentration, and acceptance—allowing us to reduce our susceptibility to distractions, and respond creatively and constructively to pressures and demands, rather than reacting blindly out of habit. In this course, students will practice mindfulness on a daily basis, both inside and outside of class. The course is divided into three units, in which we apply mindfulness to the personal, interpersonal, and institutional aspects of one’s professional identity as a lawyer. First, we will cover “personal” topics such as the connection between the body and the mind in stress and relaxation responses; using mindfulness to examine one’s strengths, weaknesses, and blind spots; reflection on what it means to be a “mindful” lawyer; and developing mindful strategies for thriving in law school. Second, we will cover “interpersonal” topics, including the “soft skills” of lawyering such as various styles of listening; trauma and its effects, including vicarious trauma; basic principles of negotiation; the role of the lawyer in lawyer-client relations; and the recognition and reduction of implicit bias. Last, we will cover “institutional” topics such as humanistic approaches to legal education, and new developments in the profession such as holistic and collaborative lawyering, restorative justice, and therapeutic jurisprudence. Students will be required to attend and participate in all classes, without the distractions of electronic devices. In addition, students will be expected to maintain a daily practice of mindfulness, complete daily journal entries, and write three short (5-7 page) reflection papers.