mindfulness, gratitude, legal education

Document Type



Three years ago, I attended my first Western Regional Legal Writing Conference at Santa Clara University School of Law. I was brand new to teaching legal writing, only about a month into my first year of classes, and I was inspired by the creativity and focus on student learning that seemed to drive my new colleagues.

One presentation stood out to me: “Making Mindfulness a Part of the Legal Writing Curriculum: ‘If a Lawyer Isn’t Happy, What’s the Point?’” by Professors Katherine Brem and Lauren Simpson at the University of Houston Law Center. The presenters demonstrated how they start their legal writing classes with a mindfulness activity, and they explained some of the benefits of a mindfulness practice, including reduced anxiety and heightened wellness within their classrooms.

Although I am not a mindfulness expert, I do have anxiety myself and after a month of being in the classroom I was keenly aware of the tremendous pressure my first-year law students were under. So, I decided to take these professors’ advice and try a “mindfulness minute” in my classroom once a week. The response from my students was overwhelmingly positive. Since then, I have continued the mindfulness practice in my classroom each year, and I have also experimented with adding a gratitude practice to my classroom



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