VIDEO: Mindfulness and the Mock Trial

Professor David Zlotnick is bringing mindfulness into the courtroom via the classroom with his new course that prepares law students for trial with the use of mindfulness theory and practice.

The Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education (ACMHE)recently hosted this webinar with Professor David M. Zlotnick of Roger Williams University School of Law. In this webinar Professor Zlotnick introduces a new course (sponsored by a fellowship from The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society) that he has developed that explores how mindfulness theory and practice can be integrated into trial advocacy or mock trial practice in law schools. Zlotnick believes that mindfulness will “help aspiring lawyers make a career in trial work more humane and sustainable,” says the ACMHE site. 

Professional education involves a process of socialization within the field, and in this process Zlotnick believes that students often lose their sense of authenticity, often adopting an unnatural persona which ultimately proves detrimental to his or her overall performance. So, Zlotnick’s course works to maintain individuality and authenticity within that socialization process through mindfulness theory and practice.

ACMHE writes:  “In this webinar [Zlotnick] will provide some background on how trial advocacy is typically taught in American law schools and will then walk attendees through the various ways in which mindfulness theory and practice were integrated into the course. This webinar should be of interest to teachers of all kinds of experiential learning, those who teach in professional schools, and those whose courses involve student presentations, as some of the exercises were also designed to ameliorate public speaking anxiety.”

About the Instructor

David Zlotnick is a Professor of Law at Roger Williams University School of Law. After graduating from Harvard Law School, he clerked for a federal appellate judge, worked as a white collar defense attorney, and served as a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C. He took time off from academia to become the founding Litigation Director for Families Against Mandatory Minimums and to pursue federal sentencing research as a Soros Senior Justice Fellow and Visiting Scholar at the George Washington University School of Law. Professor Zlotnick’s work on sentencing issues has received coverage in a variety of media including Rolling Stone, BBC Television, and The New York Times.

Professor Zlotnick teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and Trial Advocacy. In 2008, he was awarded a Contemplative Practice Fellowship by the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. His mindfulness training includes retreats with Jack Kornfield & Tara Brach, a lawyers’ program at Spirit Rock, and an eight-week Mindfulness Based Stress Relief program at Brown University. He is a graduate of the Prison Dharma Project’s Path of Freedom training and leads meditation sessions for inmates in Rhode Island. His own practice includes vipassana meditation and yoga, running and biking, and sometimes most importantly, surrounding himself with friends whose humor constantly remind him not to take himself too seriously.