Educating Lawyers to Meditate?
60 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2010 Last revised: 29 Oct 2018
Date Written: October 9, 2010
This Article argues that the contemplative practice in law movement answers the call for reform of legal education and the development of professional identity highlighted by the Carnegie Foundation and other critics, presenting the outlines of the pathway to effective reform so far missing from the mainstream critique. The author argues that the contemplative practices movement does much more than merely specify skills missing from traditional legal education that are crucial to effective and sustainable lawyering, including the capacity for self-reflection, emotional intelligence, and moral discernment. The movement suggests a new approach to the foundation of legal education - one which may better instill in young lawyers an abiding sense of an inspiring professional identity, embodying self-reflective civic engagement and practical, ethical judgment by broadening their sources of knowledge and ways of learning what they need to know to practice and to lead effectively in a changing world. Thus, this Article provides not only description and critique, but offers a solution to the problems identified by so many others: the grounding of legal education in contemplative practices proven to increase our awareness of the complex humanity at the center of the work of lawyering, and maximize our capacity to engage practical wisdom in the course of our service as lawyers, leaders and human beings. In so doing, it provides the first systematic examination of the synergy between the movement toward contemplative practice in law and the most recent wave of legal education critiques and proposed reforms, linking its prescriptions to the early humanist philosophy from which legal education was born.
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