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A Conversation with Professor Leonard Riskin about Mindfulness, Dispute Resolution, and Mindfulness Resources for Mediators (Part II)

Part I

Part II- Mindfulness Resources for Mediators

Leonard Riskin is the C.A. Leedy Professor of Law and Director of the Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution and the Initiative on Mindfulness in Law and Dispute Resolution at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. Professor Riskin wrote “The Contemplative Lawyer: On the Potential Relevance of Mindfulness Meditation to Law Students, Lawyers, and their Clients,” which appeared in the Harvard Negotiation Law Review (May 2002) as the centerpiece of a symposium entitled Mindfulness in Law and Dispute Resolution. In June, 2005, Professor Riskin and others will provide training in mindfulness in law and dispute resolution at the Harvard Negotiation Insight Initiative, Harvard Law School and the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University School of Law.

On March 18, 2005, Professor Riskin spoke with Linda Lazarus, the Spirituality Editor of Mediate.Com, about mindfulness resources for mediators.

Linda Lazarus (LL): You are well known for your work involving mindfulness and dispute resolution. Please tell me about that work.
Leonard Riskin (LR): I have been teaching mediation, writing about it, and practicing it for quite a long time. About five years ago, I began to introduce mindfulness meditation into the training of mediators and, to some extent, into my teaching at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. Since that time I have written a couple of articles that explain in detail my reasons for doing this. Essentially it is because I believe that mindfulness can help mediators and other dispute resolution professionals (including lawyers) feel better, get more satisfaction out of their work, and do a better job for their clients. I also lead a variety of training programs that involve integrating mindfulness into teaching and practicing mediation, negotiation, and other lawyering skills. These programs vary in length from 90 minutes to five days.

LL: Please tell me about the mindfulness related activities that have been going on at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law.
LR: Several things are going on. In 2002, I started the Initiative on Mindfulness in Law and Dispute Resolution. The Initiative really began as a web page, to serve as a resource for people who are interested in this subject. ( ). It lists resources and forthcoming events both at the University of Missouri and elsewhere. And, as part of that effort, I also have an e-mail list which I use to announce forthcoming events.

The Law School co-sponsors a number of mindfulness activities. For example, we have thirty minutes of meditation every Tuesday at noon. We have also co-sponsored mindfulness based stress-reduction programs for law students, faculty and staff, and Jon Kabat-Zinn made a presentation at the Law School in January. On the curriculum end, I teach a course for the LL.M. in Dispute Resolution Program called “Understanding Conflict.” In that course, we use mindfulness meditation to develop self-awareness and to help focus on the relationship between internal and external conflict. Recently the faculty approved a new course called “Emotional Intelligence in Law” which will use mindfulness meditation to help develop emotional intelligence.

LL: Are you offering any mindfulness training programs that are open to the general public in the near future?
LR: Yes, I will be co-teaching three mindfulness-based training programs this summer. On June 16-18, there will be a program called “Mindfulness in Law and Dispute Resolution” at Pepperdine University School of Law which I am co-teaching with Rachel Wohl, the Director of the Maryland Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office. On June 20-24, I will be co-teaching a program at Harvard Law School with Melissa Blacker of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. On July 13-15, there will be a program on negotiation that uses mindfulness techniques at the Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies. I am co-teaching that program with Daniel Shapiro, a psychologist at Harvard Law School who has just finished a book with Roger Fisher about how to deal with emotions during negotiations.

LL: Are you aware of any other mindfulness activities that may be of interest to mediators?
LR: There are many mindfulness activities throughout the country. For example, the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society has sponsored several retreats for lawyers at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center. There are also contemplative law and meditation groups in different parts of the country. Many of these activities are listed on my website.

LL: Would you please recommend some mindfulness resources.
LR: Here is my list of recommendations, which is also on my website:

Books and Articles:

Enhancing Emotional Intelligence and Managing Stress in Dispute Resolution and Legal Practice, (Alternatives, Sept. 2002, pp. 156-58).

Shannon Burke, Peace of Mind, (Columbia Missourian, Feb. 13, 2005).

Mark Epstein, Thoughts without a Thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist Perspective (Basic Books 1995).

Mark Epstein, Going to Pieces without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness (Broadway 1998).

Mark Epstein, Going on Being: Buddhism and the Way of Change: A Positive Psychology for the West (2001).

Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More than IQ (Bantam 1995).

Daniel Goleman, Working with Emotional Intelligence (Bantam 1998).

Joseph Goldstein, Insight Meditation: The Practice of Freedom (Shambhala 1994).

Henepola Gunaratana, Mindfulness in Plain English (Wisdom 1992). (Highly recommended introductory reading.)

Stephen S. Hall, “Is Buddhism Good for Your Health?” (New York Times, Sept. 14, 2003).

Phil Jackson & Hugh Delehanty, Sacred Hoops: Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior (Hyperion 1995).

Phil Jackson & Charley Rosen, More than a Game (Seven Stories Press 2001).

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Mind to Face Stress, Pain & Illness (Delta 1990).

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness in Everyday Life (Hyperion 1994). (Highly recommended as introduction to mindfulness.)

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness (Hyperion 2005).

Steven Keeva, Transforming Practices: Bringing Joy and Satisfaction to the Legal Life (Transaction Books, 1999).

Steven Keeva, A Mindful Law Practice (ABA Journal, Mar. 2004, p. 78).

Elaine McArdle, From Ballistic to Holistic (The Boston Globe, Jan. 11, 2004).

Van M. Pounds, Promoting Truthfulness in Negotiations: A Mindful Approach, 40 Willamette L. Rev. 181 (2004).

Leonard L. Riskin, The Contemplative Lawyer: On the Potential Contributions of Mindfulness Meditation to Law Students and Lawyers and their Clients, 7 Harvard Negotiation Law Review 1-66 (June 2002) (the centerpiece of a Symposium on Mindfulness in Law and ADR). A web cast of the live symposium held at Harvard Law School in March 2002 is available at .

Leonard L. Riskin, Syllabus for Understanding Conflict (Fall 2002), a required course in the LL.M. in dispute resolution program at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Leonard L. Riskin, Mindfulness: Foundational Training for Dispute Resolution, 54 Journal of Legal Education 79-91 (2004).

Zindel V. Segal, J. Mark G. Williams & John D. Teasdale, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression: A New Approach to Preventing Relapse (Guilford 2002).

Breath Sweeps Mind: A First Guide to Meditation Practice (Jean Smith, ed., Tricycle 1999).

Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now (New World Library 1999).

Audio and Videotapes

The Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society offers a variety of meditation and yoga audiotapes.

The Dharma Seed Tape Library, offers a variety of audiotapes and videotapes with a Buddhist orientation, including some intended for beginners.

Organizations and Websites

The Cambridge Insight Meditation Center, , offers a wide variety of insight meditation-related programs. 331 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139. Tel: 617/441-9038.

The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society,199 Main St., 3rd Floor, Northampton, MA 01060. The Center’s law program has sponsored a series of insight meditation retreats for lawyers and law students. For information, contact Mirabai Bush, executive director at 413/268-9275.

The Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School provides training in mindfulness for a wide range of organizations, operates a stress and pain reduction clinic, and conducts research on the effects of mindfulness practices. Saki Santorelli, Director, Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society, Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA 01655; Tel: 508/856-5493; Fax: 508/856-1977.

D.C. Contemplative Law Group: A meditation and discussion group for lawyers who live in the Washington, D.C. area. The contact person is Linda Lazarus, [email protected].

The Enlightened Sentencing Project, a program in St. Louis, MO in which training in Transcendental Meditation (a different form of meditation than mindfulness) is a condition of parole.

Forest Way Insight Meditation Center, P.O. Box 491, Ruckersville, VA 22968; Tel: 804/990-9300; Fax: 804/990-9301; E-mail: [email protected]

Insight Meditation Society, 1230 Pleasant Street, Barre, MA 01005; Tel: 978/355-4378. Offers insight meditation retreats, publications, and other resources..

Meditation and Mediation: A meditation and discussion group consisting of mediators meets once a month in the San Francisco Bay Area. The contact person is Barbara Bryant, [email protected].

Mid-America Dharma Group, 717 Hilltop Drive, Columbia, MO 65201; Tel 573/817-9942; E-mail: [email protected]. This site has information about mindfulness meditation retreats and sitting groups in the U.S. and Canada.

Mindfulness Practice Center, University of Missouri-Columbia Student Health Services. For more information or to be added to the e-mail list contact: Lynn Rossy at [email protected].

Mary Mocine, [email protected], regularly offers programs for lawyers in Northern California.

Spirit Rock Meditation Center, 5000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, P.O. Box 169 Woodacre, CA 94973; Tel: 415/488-0164; Fax: 415/488-017.

Transforming Practices. Website maintained by Steven Keeva, author of the book Transforming Practices: Finding Joy and Satisfaction in the Legal Life (Contemporary Books, 1999).

Vipassana Meditation Centers operated by S.N. Goenka and his assistants around the world..


Linda Lazarus

Linda Lazarus is a mediator, trainer and lawyer in private practice in the District of Columbia. Ms. Lazarus is listed in the most recent edition of Who's Who in American Law and also teaches yoga, qigong and meditation at Gold's Gym. MORE >

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