475 - Contemplative Practices and the Law (1 hour)
The mission of this class will be to train legal professionals to incorporate contemplative practices, mainly mindfulness and meditation practices, into daily life and into the practice of law in order to be more effective and ethical practitioners as well as achieve balance in life. This course will introduce students to the practice of meditation and explore the ways that contemplative practices can help to develop skills that are directly relevant to the work of a lawyer. It will explore, from a meditative perspective, the ethical responsibilities of the lawyer, the stresses and challenges of the lawyer's life, and the management of the complex emotions that affect the lawyer (including anger, self-righteousness, and compassion). There will be instructions on "how to" meditate, and the different opportunities for "mindfulness" that arise during the day and during law practice. Students will be required to engage in a regular practice of meditation, and keep a journal of their reflections. Classes will be enriched by presentations from lawyers, physicians, psychologists and others who have integrated the meditative perspective with their law practice. There will also be presentations from neuroscientists who have studied the effects of contemplative practices on our brains, or minds. A paper will be required that addresses the direct application of mindfulness practices to legal practice. Some of the topics could be: how mindfulness practices create space for proper reflection before making ethical decisions or reacting to the stress of opposing counsel during heated litigation; avoiding the effects of secondary traumatic stress in public & capital defense, or prosecution of child sex abuse cases, family law cases, or immigration cases; mindfulness practices that enable attorneys to be aware of implicit bias in practice and litigation.