CLASS SYLLABUS: LAW 513 AW
Mindfulness In Law
Cultivating Tools for Effective Practice
Spring Semester 2018
9:00 AM – 11:50 PM, Rm. A216B
Scott L. Rogers – Office: A315 (305) 284-5527
Office Hours: By appointment
Mindfulness in Law Program Website
—Kabat Zinn, J., Mindfulness for Beginners (2012).
—Rogers, S., Mindfulness for Law Students (2009).
—Supplemental Reading Packet and Mindfulness Practice Manual (available in class)
--Law review articles, book chapters, and excerpts will be assigned in advance of each class. Most will be contained in the Reading Packet; others will be available electronically or distributed in class.
The role of mindfulness in law has become relevant not just to lawyers and judges personally, but to them as a matter of professional practice. Legal organizations, such as the Dade County Bar Association and Federal Bar Association’s South Florida Chapter, through the Mindfulness in Law Joint Task Force are working to bring together lawyers, judges, law professors and law students to explore mindfulness and its relationship to practice forms, including trial practice, mediation, negotiation, oral advocacy, and collaboration, as well as fundamental tools for effective practice that include attention skills, listening skills, reflective capacity, empathy, emotional regulation, and ultimately, decision-making.
This course explores the role of mindfulness as a collection of tools of awareness that can enrich one’s skill set in relationship to the stimulating and challenging aspects of legal practice. Over the course of the semester, students will acquire a foundation level understanding of mindfulness practice, develop the tools to integrate mindfulness into their professional and personal lives, and appreciate the role of mindful awareness in the deliberative and creative process of decision-making – by lawyers, judges, and the parties to legal disputes. Periodically a member of the judiciary, our faculty or the legal community with join in the conversation, offering unique perspectives on the integration of mindfulness to their work.
Woven into this conversation is the introduction and application of mindfulness insights and exercises as they relate to specific areas of practice. Neuroscience research findings will offer deeper insights into the underlying mechanisms of decision-making and behavior.
Your Presence in Class:
It is important that you attend class to cultivate a practical and experiential understanding of the interrelationship between the study and practice of law and of mindfulness. Additionally, the ABA and Miami Law require regular class attendance, preparation, and participation. Poor class attendance (i.e., missing more than two classes), tardiness or inadequate class preparation and participation may result in a lowered/failing grade, withdrawal from the course or referral to the Dean of Students.
Attention to Detail:
As you will learn, mindfulness involves paying attention. While you certainly know how to pay attention, we easily fall into automatic pilot and sometime can overlook fairly straightforward and easy to implement and execute instructions. Along with what you learn in class from the readings, your participation, and class discussion, you can also develop your attentional skills by being observant to this syllabus, the class website, assignment deadlines, times and dates of mindful spaces, and special events.
The primary areas upon which grading is based, and their respective weightings are: class participation (20%), assignments (20%), conference presentation and video segments (10%), and final paper (50%).
Most weeks will call for reading one or more articles, chapters and/or law review articles that pertains to the subject matter being discussed.
You will have an opportunity throughout the semester to participate in class discussions and experiential exercises, commenting on legal and scientific writings, classroom demonstrations, and mindfulness practices.
Unless otherwise noted on the assignment page, assignments are due the beginning of class. Please leave them on the table near the door when you enter the class.
Assignments include: (1) Home Practice and Practice Forms, (2) Weekly Mindful Space Participation, (3) Short Papers, and (4) Creative Contributions, including Mindfulness oriented Photos and Video Segments (which will be explained in class).
While it is not necessary that you embrace a mindfulness practice, it is important that you come to know what a mindfulness practice entails, the challenges is presents, and perhaps the benefits it offers, through forming the intention to practice and following through on that intention over the course of the semester. You are expected to participate in the Mindful Spaces on a weekly basis which can range from 10 to 30 minutes, and, should your schedule conflict with some or all, engage in alternative options that will be made available.
Practicing mindfulness is not easy. As you will see, the instruction is simple but the practice itself can be challenging.
The presentation portion of the class consists of both short weekly presentations that you will make by yourself or in groups, and either a panel or group presentation as part of the Spring 2018 Mindful Law Student Conference. Please check your calendars at the beginning fo the semester to ensure that you can participate in the weekend conference and mark your calendar so that you do not schedule something that would conflict.
Early in the semester, you will rank your preferences for paper topics from a selection provided to you several days in advance of class. You may also proffer a suggested topic of particular interest to you. Every effort will be made to give you your first or second choice. The following week, you will receive your topic and can begin working on your outline.
Once you know your topic, you may begin developing an outline--attending to the organization of your paper and its subject matter. I will provide you with feedback and may schedule a meeting with you to review your outline. In any event, I am happy to meet with you to do so upon request.
Draft of Introduction
Mid-way through the semester you will turn in a draft of the introductory portion of your paper. This will help me assess (1) the degree to which you are gaining a sufficient understand of mindfulness, (2) whether you have a clear vision for your paper, and (3) whether it would be helpful to discuss aspects of your writing.
Toward the end of the semester, we will meet in our classroom on a Saturday and convene the Fall 2017 Mindfulness Law Student Conference, the seventh to be held at the law school. We will video the program, which may stream live, and the different segments will be made available online so that they can help inform the ongoing development of mindfulness in law and legal education. Visitors may attend the conference.
After the conference you will receive feedback from your classmates which you may integrate into your developing paper. After the conference, you are to hand in a draft of your paper. I will review your draft paper and provide you with comments.
Your final paper should be approximately 15 pages in length. The text of the paper, including the title, heading, and subheadings, must be double-spaced, submitted on 8-1/2 x 11-inch paper, and typed in Times New Roman 12-point font. Appropriate use of footnotes is important as you weave together the body of law you are interested in exploring with the practice of mindfulness. Footnotes are to be in Times New Roman 12-point font. Paginate each page at the bottom-center of the page.
A selection of papers and some related materials generated by our class may be compiled and published as a collection--a copy of which will be made available, individually or as a collection, to you and others interested in mindfulness in law.
Weekly readings can be found on the website link to each class. Readings for the first two classes will be made available on the First Assignment Page and communicated in class.
Laptop Computers, Smart Phones & Tape Recording:
No-Laptop-in-Class policy. Please refrain from use of computers, recording devices, cell phones, and texting during class, except by permission. Often classes will be recorded by audio or video. In the event you miss a class and it was recorded, you may vide/listen to the recording (though doing so will not excuse your absence).
Students with Disabilities:
If you have a disability, or suspect that you may have a disability, the Law School encourages you to contact Iris Morera, Coordinator, Disability Services in the Office of Disability Services for information about available opportunities, resources, and services. Her phone number is 305-284-9907 and her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org . You may also visit the Office of Disability Services website at www.law.miami.edu/disability-services.
The class schedule can be found by clicking on the links to each class assignment. Pages are posted at least one week prior to class meetings.
January 19, 2018: Class One: Introduction to Mindfulness and Class Objectives
January 26, 2018: Class Two: Making the C.A.S.E for Mindfulness
February 2, 2018: Class Three: Mindfulness and the Persistent Me-diation: Observing the Negotiation Within
February 9, 2018: Mindfulness,Trial Practice and Controlling the Inner Mongo (Guest: Harley Tropin)
February 16, 2018: Mindfulness, Communication and Relationships
February 23, 2018: Class Four: Mindfulness and Leadership
March 2, 2018: Class Five: Mindfulness Review and Paper Discussion
March 9, 2018: Class Six: Mindfulness and Ethics in Law and Life
* * * * March 16, 2018 No Class Spring Break * * * *
March 23, 2018: Class Seven: Confirmation of a Plan of Reorganization for a More Successful Life
March 30, 2018 Class Eight: Portrait of the Lawyer as Artist: Creativity, Discipline and Divergent Thinking* (Date Subject to Change) (Note: class to begin at 8:00 and meets at the Lowe Art Museum)
April 6, 2018: Class Nine: Mindfulness, Non-Judgmental Awareness and Procedural Fairness (Guest: Judge Chris McAliley)
April 13, 2018: Class Ten: TBA
April 13, 2018—“The Spring 2018 Mindful Law Student Conference”
(You will present at either the Saturday or Sunday session which runs from 9:00am-3:00pm).
April 20, 2018: Class Eleven: Final Class, Endings and Beginnings
May 11—Final Papers Due.
*This syllabus is subject to change, moment by moment – a reminder of the nature of life.