This is a non-traditional seminar for students who are interested in exploring a manner of practicing law broader than the win/lose paradigm of the adversary system. The instructor is a retired Hennepin County judge with extensive experience in problem solving courts and with the benefits of collaborative law and restorative justice.
This seminar will explore peacemaking opportunities for lawyers at several levels:
-- Practicing lawyers engaged in different varieties of cooperative lawyering will make guest presentations.
-- Effective peacemaking requires personal awareness and self-control, and so the course will introduce students to mindfulness, a fundamental tool for peace of mind, as well as basic skills in peaceful communication.
-- We will examine the recent developments in neuroscience and evolutionary psychology that help explain the dynamics of human conflict.
-- Finally, we will look at how the lessons about peacemaking apply to political and religious conflict. As a case study in political conflict, we will choose a hotly contested current event. For example, case study in 2019 was the Brett Kavanaugh hearings.
In addition to background reading to prepare for class sessions, students should be prepared to spend 10-15 minutes each day in mindfulness exercises, to observe two out-of-class peacemaking activities, and to participate in experiential exercises in class. Short written assignments are designed to promote growth of the student’s peacemaking skills. The class requires an open mind and a willingness to share personal thoughts and experiences.