Integrating Mindfulness Theory and Practice into Trial Advocacy

13 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2016

See all articles by David M. Zlotnick

David M. Zlotnick

Roger Williams University School of Law

Date Written: February 1, 2012


The metaphor of trial as battle is deeply embedded in American culture. Not surprisingly, a take-no-prisoners approach is celebrated both in fiction and in fact. In the real world, however, the trial lawyer as warrior comes at a high price. In a profession beset with stress, early burnout and cynicism are common among trial lawyers. And, conversely, the few who seem to thrive in this environment often do so at some cost to themselves, their friends and family. Against this backdrop, integrating mindfulness theory and practice into the teaching of trial advocacy might seem a hopeless endeavor. Nevertheless, sponsored by a fellowship from the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, I created a course that explores whether mindfulness theory and practice can help students realize their potential as effective advocates and make a career in trial work more humane and sustainable. This article explores my experience with this course.

Keywords: Trial Advocacy, Mindfulness

Suggested Citation

Zlotnick, David M., Integrating Mindfulness Theory and Practice into Trial Advocacy (February 1, 2012). Roger Williams Univ. Legal Studies Paper No. 122. Available at SSRN: or

David M. Zlotnick (Contact Author)

Roger Williams University School of Law ( email )

10 Metacom Avenue
Bristol, RI 02809
United States

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