Psychology for Lawyers



"Positive psychology, the science of well-being and strengths, is the fastest growing branch of psychology, offering an optimal home for the research and application of mindfulness."

--Mindfulness in Positive Psychology: The Science of Meditation and Wellbeing <website of Tom Lomas> Lomas is the co-editor of Mindfulness in Positive Psychology (New York: Routledge, 2016)

"Positive psychology has integrated, more or less clearly, contemplative practices such as mindfulness within the range of grounded and empowering techniques of the positive aspects of being human."

--A. Cebolla,, Ccontemplative Positive Psychology: Introducing Mindfulness into Positive Poshchology, 38 (1) Paychologists Papers 12 (2017) [online text]

"People have in their repertoires thousands of 'scripts' for talk or behavior that they act out when they are cued by something familiar. The array of behavior people can carry out without thinking is enormous."

--Philip J. Hilts, "Scientist at Work: Ellen J. Langer; A Scholar of the Absent Mind," New York Times, Sept. 23, 1997

"We live in a stream of events. Something new happens to us every day, but most of us are so caught up in routine that we don't even notice. Consciousness is the result of observing and reflecting on events instead of simply reacting to them. Routine especially gets in the way of being conscious. We can sleepwalk through life . . . ."

--Daryl Sharp, Jungian Psychology Unplugged: My Life as an Elephant 129 (Toronto: Inner City Books, 1998)

"Broadly conceptualized, mindfulness has been described as a kind of nonelaborative, nonjudgmental, present-centered awareness in which each thought, feeling, or sensation that arises in the attentional field is acknowledged and accepted as it is . . . . In a state of mindfulness, thoughts and feelings are observed as events in the mind, without over-identifying with them and without reacting to them in an automatic, habitual pattern of reactivity. This dispassionate state of self-observation is thought to introduce a 'space' between one's perception and response. Thus mindfulness is thought to enable one to respond to situations more reflectively (as opposed to reflexively)."

--Scott R. Bishop,, Mindfulness: A Proposed Operational Definition, 11 (3) Clinical Psychological: Science & Practice 231, 231 (2004)


Ellen J. Langer, Mindful Learning, 9 (6) Current Directions in Psych. Sci. 220 (2000) [online text]

Dan DeFoe, The Seven Major Pillars of Mindfulness, Psycholawlogy Blog [online text]

Ronald D. Siegel, Christopher K. Germer & Andrew Olendzki, "Mindfulness: What Is It? Where Does It Come From?" in Fabrizio Didonna (ed.), Clinical Handbook of Mindfulness 17-35 (New York: Springer, 2008) [online text] [online text has a different pagination]

Class Videos

Class Viewing 1: Let's Talk about Mindfulness: An Interview [11:21 mins.] [Ellen Langer] [2014] [commentary on "well-being" (a general state of engagement)] [end class presentation at 6:32 mins.] [Ellen Langer is a Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, and the author of Mindfulness (1990), The Power of Mindful Learning (1998), and On Becoming an Artist (2006)]

Class Viewing 2: Mindfulness over Matter [22:20 mins.] [2013] [end in-class presentation at 11:30 mins.] [Ellen Langer]

Class Viewing 3: Why Mindfulness Is the New Superpower [3:21 mins.] [Dan Harris]

Class Viewing 4: Stopping the World [9:29 mins.] [Gary Starnes] [Gerry Starnes is an Austin, Texas shamanic practitioner and teacher] [Starnes comments on internal dialog, the incessant internal chatter that most people experience] [class presentation begins at 1:06 mins, ends at 6:28 mins.]

Class Viewing 5: This Will Also Pass: An Interview with a Mindfulness Teacher [21:18 mins.] [Andries J Kroese, professor of vascular surgery and mindfulness teacher] [end presentation at 9:00 mins. (for a shorter presentation end at 5:48 mins.)] [Kroese is pronounced "Crow-sche"]

Class Viewing 6: Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction with Heidi Walk [29:32 mins.] [class presentation begins at 5:21 mins., ends at 10:18 mins.] [Heidi Walk is a Toronto-based physician psychotherapist and certified yoga instructor] [Heidi Walk outlines Jon Kabat-Zinn's approach to mindfulness as the practice of paying attention, on purpose, in the present, in a non-judgmentnal way; focus on stress]

Class Viewing 7: Len Riskin Talks about His Approach to Mindfulness Meditation [9:41 mins.] [class presentation runs from beginning of video to 3:16 mins., and resumes at 5:11 mins.] [reference to stress and how we respond to stress]

Class Viewing 8: FloridaBarNews.TV Update: The Mindful Lawyer [1:25 mins.]

Class Viewing 9: Dan Harris: How I Went from Skeptic to Meditator [7:00 mins.] [Harris turns to meditation was prompted by a panic attack]

Alternative Class Viewing

10% Happier: Mindfulness Applications at Work
[33:27 mins.] [Dan Harris, ABC News]

Supplemental Notes (Ellen Langer)

Ellen Langer Harvard Business Review Interview, "Mindfulness in the Age of Complexity," adapted from March, 2014 issue of Harvard Business Review:

--"Mindfulness is the process of actively noticing new things. When you do that, it puts you in the present. It makes you more sensitive to context and perspective. It's the essence of engagement."

--"We did a study with symphony musicians, who, it turns out, are bored to death. They're playing the same pieces over and over again, and yet it's a high-status job that they can't easily walk away from. So we had groups of them perform. Some were told to replicate a previous performance they'd liked--that is, to play pretty mindlessly. Others were told to make their individual performance new in subtle ways--to play mindfully. Remember: This wasn't jazz, so the changes were very subtle indeed. But when we played recordings of the symphonies for people who knew nothing about the study, they overwhelmingly preferred the mindfully played pieces. So here we had a group performance where everybody was doing their own thing, and it was better. There's this view that if you let everyone do their own thing, chaos will reign. When people are doing their own thing in a rebellious way, yes, it might. But if everyone is working in the same context and is fully present, there's no reason why you shouldn't get a superior coordinated performance."

--"I've been studying [mindfulness and mindlessness] for nearly 40 years . . . [W]e find that mindfulness generates a more positive result. That makes sense when you realize it's a superordinate variable. No matter what you're doing--eating a sandwich, doing an interview, working on some gizmo, writing a report--you're doing it mindfully or mindlessly. When it's the former, it leaves an imprint on what you do."

Art Kleiner, "Ellen Langer on the Value of Mindfulness in Business," Strategy + Business (Issue 78), February 9, 2015:

--"People assume they should act one way at work and another way at home. But that type of work-life balance is mindless. Sure, it's better than work-life imbalance. But better still is work-life integration. People should be the same person wherever they are, bringing the same talents to bear at home and work."

--"[S]tress is a result of mindlessness. It's a result of a thought that something bad is going to happen. You can examine that thought. You can give yourself five reasons why this awful event might not occur. That immediately reduces the stress. Or you can explore the advantages it might bring along with the problems. If you continue to be mindful about your own thoughts, and direct them this way, it is possible to live a virtually stress-free life. It saddens me that people in industrial culture take stress as a baseline. They think that to be human is to be stressed. I don't think so."

--"Are more people comfortable with being mindful in the face of uncertainty? I would like to think so, but I don't know. Many people confuse the stability of their mind-sets with the stability of the under-lying phenomenon. Everything is changing, but people act as if things are more certain than they actually are. We're taught this in school, and it is reinforced at work. Even learning a sport, like tennis, you're told, 'Here's how you hold the racket; here's how you swing.' None of these things are universally true; they apply only to certain players at certain times. But it's presented as true, and over time, this gives us the illusion that we know what's going on."

--"When you think you know what's going on, you don't look. And when you don't look, you don't see. And if you don't look or see, you're not thriving."

--"Events are neither innately exciting nor innately non-exciting. You can make a boring event engaging by noticing things about it. We studied this by taking groups of people who professed [some] antipathy: people who hated football, rap music, or classical music. We had everyone watch a video they professed to hate, but we gave them instructions: Notice six things that were new to you. Then we asked them how they liked the video. The more they noticed, the more engaged they were--not the other way around. If you're bored, make a distinction. It doesn't matter if that distinction is grand, grandiose, or petty; it has the same psychological effect on you. If you truly dislike what you're doing, then being mindful about it might show you a way to stop having to do it."

Supplemental Reading

Christopher Germer, What Is Mindfulness? Insight J. 24 (Fall, 2004) [online text]

A. Cebolla,, Contemplative Positive Psychology: Introducing Mindfulness into Positive Psychology, 38 (1) Psychologist Papers 12 (2017) [online text]

Scott R. Bishop,, Mindfulness: A Proposed Operational Definition, 11 (3) Clinical Psychological :Science & Practice 231 (2004) [online text] [note: read pp. 230-234]

R. Lisle Baker & Daniel P. Brown, On Engagement: Learning to Pay Attention, 36 UALR L. Rev. 337 (2014) [online text]

Reference (Ellen Langer)

Explaining Mindfulness
[11:30 mins.] [comment on the relationship of her work to positive psychology begins at 4:58 mins., ends at 5:58 mins.] [for fuller presentation of the video begin at 0:46 mins., end at 7:08 mins.]

Ellen Langer on Mindfulness
[5:04 mins.]

Ellen Langer Explains How She Took Up Her Work on Mindlessness
[9:30 mins.] Pt2 [9:30 mins.]
Pt3 [8:55 mins.]

Ellen Langer on Stress
[2:48 mins.] [commenting on mindlessness]

Counterclockwise: The Power of Possibility
[25:33 mins.]

[8:28 mins.] Pt2 [6:26 mins.] Pt3 [8:18 mins.]

Why Mindfulness Should Be Part of Your Life
[11:17 mins.]

The Psychology of Luck
[16:28 mins.]

Mindfulness and the Psychology of Possibility
[1:17:52 mins.] [poor video quality]

Mindfulness as a Way of Being
[48:08 mins.] [lecture] [poor video quality]

Mindfulness and Leadership
[49:35 mins.] [speaking at the ADC Future Summit, Melbourne, Australia]

Mindful Learning and the Power of Possibility
[36:20 mins.] [podcast]

Mindfulness and the Psychology of Possibility
[1:17:52 mins.]

What Is the Measure of a Flourishing Life
[38:54 mins.] [panel discussion: Martin Seligman, Ellen Langer, Ross Gittins] [discussion begins at 2:20 mins. with Martin Seligman; Ellen Langer begins at 4:18 mins. commenting on happiness and carrying on an exchange with Seligman]

Science of Mindlessness and Mindfulness
[53:17 mins.] [audio]

Mindful Learning and the Power of Possibility
[36:20 mins.] [audio]

Reference (Dan Harris)

What Do We Have All Wrong About Meditation?
[4:10 mins.]

10% Happier: Mindfulness Applications at Work
[33:27 mins.]

Meditation for Beginners
[6:37 mins.]

Hack Your Brain's Default Mode with Meditation
[3:43 mins.]

Science of Mindfulness

The Lawyer's Brain on Meditation: Insights from Neuroscience
[52:01 mins.] [a presentation by Emiliana Simon-Thomas, a neuroscientist] [poor quality video]

Mindfulness: On Our Mind
[14:11 mins.] [Steve Hickman, Executive Director of the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness joins William Mobley, UC San Diego Department of Neurosciences, for a discussion of how to be present in the moment and leverage the practice of mindfulness to stay engaged, focused, and fulfilled.] [useful video for in-class presentation]

Becoming Conscious: The Science of Mindfulness
[1:14:21 mins.] [Neuroscientists Richard Davidson & Amishi Jha join Jon Kabat-Zinn]

Dan Siegel: Discussing the Science of Mindfulness
[21:10 mins.]

Ron Siegel: The Science of Mindfulness
[1:05:49 mins.]

Cognitive Neuroscience of Mindfulness Meditation
[48:53 mins.] [Philippe Goldin, Clinically Applied Affective Neuroscience, Stanford]

How Meditation Can Reshape Our Brains
[8:33 mins.] [Sara Lazar is a neuroscientist] [TED Talk]

The Science of Mindfulness
[1:06:03 mins.] [Mark Williams, Oxford University professor]

Understanding the Neurobiological Mechanisms of Mindfulness
[49:22 mins.]

Cognitive Neuroscience of Mindfulness Meditation
[48:53 mins.]

Reference (Introductions to Mindfulness & Meditation)

Mindfulness in Dialectical Behavior Therapy
[3:00 mins.] [Marsha Linehan]

A Very Short Introduction to Mindfulness
[4:05 mins.] [animation]

How Mindfulness Empowers Us: An Animation Narrated by Sharon Salzberg
[2:21 mins.]

Meditation for Beginners: Featuring Dan Harris & Sharon Salzberg
[6:37 mins.]

Why Aren't We Teaching You Mindfulness
[14:26 mins.] [AnneMarie Rossi] [TED Talk]

Meditation: Change Your Mind, Change Your Life
[12:07 mins.] [Bodhin Kjolhed] [TED Talk] [focus on Zen meditation]

Don't Try to be Mindful
[11:59 mins.] [Daron Larson]

Debunking the 5 Most Common Meditation Myths
[17:48 mins.] [Light Watkins]

A Cautionary Note

Jordan Peterson Q & As
[59:35 mins.] [Peterson comments briefly on the question: Is mindfulness really beneficial or is it just a trend?] [Peterson's comment begins at 11:29, ends at 12:12 mins.] [Jordan Peterson is extremely intelligent on matters of psychology, sufficiently so, that I find it surprising that he is so dismissive of mindfulness.] [streamed live on July 21, 2016]

On Mindfulness
[0:42 mins.]

Reference Videos

Why It Is So Hard to Live in the Present
[4:27 mins.] [The School of Life]]

How Not to be a Slave to Your Brain
[4:38 mins.] [Mark Epstein]

What is Mindfulness? And How Does it Help Decrease Anxiety?
[13:15 mins.] [Julia Kristina] [2017]

Quick Stress & Anxiety Reduction: Mindfulness Exercise
[11:36 mins.] [Julia Kristina] [2017]

Fearless at Work: Michael Carroll
[2:22 mins.] [author of Awake at Work, The Mindful Leader]

Introduction To Mindlessness and Meditation
[32:33 mins.]

Mindfulness Discussion: Fleet Maull and Richie Davidson
[1:45:50 mins.] [Fleet Maull and Richard Davidson discuss mindfulness-based emotional intelligence at a University of Wisconsin Health Integrative Medicine event in October, 2016.] [Maull's presentation begins at 5:08 mins.]

Our Ego Makes it Difficult to Experience Present Moment Awareness
[4:59 mins.]

Why Meditate?
[1:01 mins.] [Dalai Lama]

Contemplative Science and the Upper Limits of Human Potential
[2:00 mins.] [Daniel Goldman]

Mindfully Managing Stress
[7:52 mins.] [Ronald Alexander]

Can Mindfulness Increase Our Resilience to Stress?
[6:18 mins.] [Richard J. Davidson]

Focus: The Secret to High Performance and Fulfillment
[1:18:17 mins.] [Daniel Goldman]

The Mindful Way through Depression
[18:04 mins.] [Zindel Segal]

Process Psychology and Your Dream Body
[6:19 mins.] [Arnold Mindell] [Thinking Allowed with Jeffrey Mishlove]

Mindfulness & Psychotherapy
[9:57 mins.] [a Buddhist perspective]

Mindfulness in Education, Learning from the Inside Out
[12:48 mins.] [Amy Burke]

Finding a Career by Way of a Panic Attack
[12:29 mins.] [Steven Hayes, University of Nevada]
Full Interview [37:53 mins.] What Keeps Steven Hayes Up at Night? [3:27 mins.]

A Guided Meditation
[8:05 mins.] [Jenn Fairbank]

Mark Williams

Mark Williams on Mindfulness
[54:49 mins.]

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and Depression
[11:03 mins.]

Mindfulness Applications for Depression
[19:28 mins.]

Mindfulness: Mark Williams Lecture
[1:06:02 mins.]

Mindfulness for Life
[1:22:17 mins.]

Finding Peace in a Frantic World
[1:28:36 mins.]

Interview on Mindfulness
[21:38 mins.] [radio interview]

Diana Winston

Diana Winston: The Practice of Mindfulness
[17:18 mins.] [TED Talk]

Introduction to Mindful Awareness
[1:16:00 mins.] [Diana Winston, UCLA]

Diana Winston Exercises

Breathing Meditation
[5:00 mins.] [audio]

Relaxation Meditation
[3:06 mins.]

Bringing your Attention into your Body and Feeling
[2:15 mins.]

Loving Kindness
[4:56 mins.]

Guided Breathing Meditation
[10:51 mins.] [Kim Eng]

Reference (Mindfulness & Lawyers: Charles Halpern)

Mindfulness is Growing in the Legal Field
[15:34 mins.]

Building Mindfulness in a Law Program
[28:41 mins.]

On Empathy, Meditation, Barrack Obama, Justice and Law
[39:04 mins.]

Mindfulness in Law
[14:20 mins.] Pt2 [14:58 mins.] Pt3 [14:22 mins.] Pt4 [14:02 mins.] Pt5 [14:50 mins.] Pt6 [14:13 mins.] Pt7 [12:02 mins.]

Workshop on Mindfulness in Law at University of Amsterdam Faculty of Law
[1:56:41 mins.] [Halpern's presentation begins at 2:23 mins.]

Reference (Mindfulness & Lawyers)

Len Riskin on His Turn to Mindfulness Practices [9:18 mins.] [begin class presentation at 1:10 mins.; end the presentation at 4:28 mins.]

Len Riskin: Mindfulness in Alternative Dispute Resolution
[22:36 mins.] [Riskin talks about his first days in humanistic legal education and mediation]

Mindfulness in Legal Education
[1:05:39 mins.] [2013 Workshop on Mindfulness in Legal Education students and recent graduates discuss their perspectives on mindfulness courses]

Bringing Mindful Awareness into the Law School
[56:37 mins.] [Scott Rogers with Barbara Bernier, Todd Peterson, Michael Goldman] [panel discussion]

Mindfulness and the Practice of Law
[6:26 mins.] [Rebecca Baird]

Mindfulness for Lawyers
[13:08 mins.] ["cutting out the noise"]

Mindful Lawyer Conference Videos (2010)

The Case for Mindfulness and Wisdom in Law
[1:36:01 mins.] [Jack Kornfield]

The Art and Science of Mindfulness in Law
[1:01:43 mins.] [presentation by Shauna Shapiro]

The Lawyer's Brain on Meditation: Insights from Neuroscience
[52:00 mins.] [poor quality video]

Mindfulness for Lawyers
[1:02:58 mins.]

Mindfulness for Lawyers
[1:02:59 mins.] [Will Kabat-Zinn]

Mindfulness for Lawyers
[13:09 mins.] [dealing with "internal noise"]

Jeena Cho: Lawyer and Author of The Anxious Lawyer (ABA,2016)
[2:46 mins.] [finding your "authentic" self]

Reference (Mindfulness & Lawyers: Scott Rodgers)

Mindfulness for Lawyers: An Introduction
[8:14 mins.]

Advice for a Stressed Out, Overworked Young Lawyer
[2:30 mins.]

How Does "Thinking Like a Lawyer" Affect Stress?
[5:31 mins.]

How Busy Lawyers Can Practice Mindfulness to Reduce Stress
[5:13 mins.]

Practicing Mindfulness During a Busy and Stressful Workday
[4:32 mins.]

How Lawyers Can Take Care of Their Mind and Body for Optimal Performance
[5:24 mins.]

Scott Rogers on Mindfulness and Law
[9:51 mins.] Pt2 [9:06 mins.] Pt3 [9:59 mins.] Pt4 [9:59 mins.]

Mindfulness & Neuroscience for Lawyers
[4:57 mins.] [2009, Florida Bar Convention] Pt2 [7:17 mins.]

Mindfulness and Stress Reduction
[6:14 mins.]

Train Yourself to Be Mindful
[4:55 mins.]

Open Monitoring Practice
[5:59 mins.]

Reference (Mentalization)

What Is Mentalization?
[20:00 mins.] [Peter Fonagy]

What is Mentalizing & Why Do It
[10:59 mins.] [Jon G. Allen] [relates the concept to mindfulness]

Mindfulness & Gestalt Therapy

"Gestalt therapy focuses on process (what is actually happening) over content (what is being talked about). The emphasis is on what is being done, thought, and felt at the present moment . . . rather than on what was, might be, could be, or should have been. Gestalt therapy is a method of awareness practice (also called "mindfulness" in other clinical domains), by which perceiving, feeling, and acting are understood to be conducive to interpreting, explaining, and conceptualizing . . . . This distinction between direct experience versus indirect or secondary interpretation is developed in the process of therapy. The client learns to become aware of what he or she is doing and that triggers the ability to risk a shift or change." Gestalt Therapy, Wikipedia

"Focus on 'Here and Now': Gestalt therapy places emphasis on the current content of a situation in addition to the process of the circumstance as it unfolds. Rather than forming conjectures or assumptions as to the unknown, this method involves staying in the present and becoming aware of the feelings and emotions associated with the moment. Gestalt therapy teaches the client how to define what is truly being experienced versus what is merely an interpretation of the events. When the client becomes fully aware of this difference, he or she is able to identify the patterns and behaviors that need to be changed." —Gestalt Therapy,

Fritz Perls & Gestalt Therapy
[collected web resources]

Reference (Articles & Book Chapters)

Leonard L. Riskin, The Contemplative Lawyer: On the Potential Contributions of Mindfulness Meditation to Law Students, Lawyers, and Their Clients, 7 Harv. Negotiation L. Rev. 1 (2002) [online text]

______________, "Awareness in Lawyering: A Primer on Paying Attention," in Marjorie Silver (ed.), The Affective Assistance of Counsel: Practicing Law as a Healing Profession 447-471 (Durham, North Carolina: Carolina Academic Press, 2007)

Colin James, Law Student Wellbeing: Benefits of Promoting Psychological Literacy and Self-Awareness Using Mindfulness, Strengths Theory and Emotional Intelligence, 21 Legal Educ. Rev. 217 (2011) [online text]

David M. Zlotnick, Integrating Mindfulness Theory and Practice into Trial Advocacy, 61 J. Legal Educ. 654 (2012) [online text]

Scott L. Rogers, The Mindful Law School: An Integrative Approach to Transforming Legal Education, 28 Touro L. Rev. 1189 (2012) [online text]

Daved Barry & Stefan Meisiek, Seeing More and Seeing Differently: Sensemaking, Mindfulness, and the Workarts, 31 (12) Organizational Stud. 1 (2010) [online text]

Jan L. Jacobowitz & Scott L. Rogers, Mindful Ethics: A Pedagogical and Practical Approach to Teaching Legal Ethics, Developing Professional Identity, and Encouraging Civility, 4 St. Mary's J. Legal Malpractice & Ethics (2014) [online text]

Rhonda V. Magree, Educating Lawyers to Meditate? From Exercises to Epistemology to Ethics: The Contemplative Practice and Law Movement in Legal Education Reform, 79 UMKC L. Rev. 535 (2011)

Nathalie Martin, Think Like a (Mindful) Lawyer: Incorporating Mindfulenss Professional Identity, and Emotional Intelligence into the First Year Law Curriculum, 36 U. Ark. Little Rock L. Rev. 413 (2014)


Edith K. Ackermann, The Craftsman, The Trickster, and The Poet: "Re-Souling" the Rational Mind (2011) [online text] [audio lecture version of the essay :: 25:29 mins.]

Natalie Faria, Positive Psychology and Student Success: How Flow, Mindfuleness, and Hope are Related to Happiness, Relationships, and GPA [online text]

An Adjunct to Mindfulness: Paying Attention

Lisle Baker & Daniel P. Brown, On Engagement: Learning to Pay Attention, U. Ark. Little Rock L. Rev. 337 (2014) [online text]

Reference (Ellen Langer)

Ellen J. Langer, Mindfulness (Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Publ. Co., 1989)

___________, The Power of Mindful Learning (Boston, Massachusetts: De Capo Press, 1998)

Contact Professor Elkins