We Are Building American Buddhism

University of California at Berkeley

University of California at Berkeley
760 Euclid Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94708

Grant Amount

$30,000

Grant Description

This Collaboration Grant will support a national Consortium For Mindfulness in Legal Education to coordinate and facilitate incorporating meditation and other contemplative practices into the training of law students and practicing lawyers as a means of increasing wellness, developing emotional intelligence and focus, and fostering pro-social emotions such as empathy and compassion.

Over the last 5-10 years, a growing number of law schools have developed courses and programs incorporating meditation and other contemplative practices into the training of law students and practicing lawyers, as a means of increasing wellness, developing emotional intelligence and focus, and fostering pro-social emotions such as empathy and compassion. In a handful of jurisdictions, law schools and other Continuing Legal Education (CLE) providers have also introduced mindfulness training programs for practicing lawyers, in order to help them cope with stress and substance abuse, enhance their skills, and develop a more sophisticated awareness of bias and ethical challenges in their work. This trend of incorporating mindfulness into legal training is in an early stage. However, if it continues and grows, it has the potential to shift the legal profession in positive ways, developing a professional culture that is less adversarial, more humane and more compassionate, with significant implications for society at large. In order to further these goals, the Berkeley Initiative for Mindfulness in Law (BIML), in partnership with leaders in integrating mindfulness into legal training, proposes to create a national Consortium on Mindfulness in Legal Education. Its purpose would be to coordinate and facilitate this movement, to help communicate the value of contemplative practices in legal education to a broader national audience, and to advise law schools and other legal training organizations as they develop new programs and courses, including CLE and Continuing Judicial Education (CJE) programs. The consortium would be headed by a steering committee comprised of legal educators from across the country who are leaders in the mindfulness in law movement.

This proposal is for a 12-month exploratory period during which the Mindfulness Initiative and the Steering Committee would lay the groundwork for the Consortium, and determine the resources needed to establish it beyond that period.