Wellness Curriculum

Northwestern Law integrates mindfulness into curriculum in a myriad of ways. Below are some of the opportunities available to students.

Mindfulness in Law

Introduction to Mindfulness
Mindfulness meditation is an empirically supported practice that can decrease stress, boost concentration, and aid in emotion regulation through the cultivation of present-moment awareness. In this workshop, students learn what mindfulness is, how it relates to academic success and legal work, and simple mindfulness strategies designed to improve concentration and decrease reactivity to distressing thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. 

Mindfulness Drop-In Stations
This space is provided for students to meet and share mindfulness insights and experiential practices. The majority of time is spent meditating or practicing a relaxation technique such as breath meditation.

Biofeedback
In Biofeedback sessions, electronic devices monitor and amplify nervous system activity, which directly reflects the degree to which an individual is feeling calm or stressed. Being able to "see" certain aspects of our nervous system functioning in real time allows the individual to control physical, emotional, and mental activity for the betterment of their health.

Mindfulness-Based Courses and Curriculum

Conflict Management in Legal Practice
The goal of this course is to help students develop certain skills and perspectives for managing conflict and managing themselves that will enable them to provide better service to their clients and gain more satisfaction in professional practice. The course will involve two principal tracks, which we will frequently weave together.  We also will draw upon a few improvisational acting techniques. We also will devote attention to writing skills, and students will have opportunities for feedback on their writing

Advanced Negotiation Workshop
An intersession course that includes several hours on mindfulness and integrates mindfulness exercises into several class activities.

Advanced Dispute Resolution 
In this seminar, we will study a number of “mental models” (or mindsets, cognitive frameworks, philosophical maps, perspectives) that play—or could play—roles in the development, evolution, and attempts to address conflict The class devotes one two-hour session to mindfulness and associated models and one two-hour session to improvisational acting.

Mediation
A three-credit course that includes one to two hours of mindfulness.

Mindfulness-Based Resilient Lawyering (MBRL) 4-Part Workshop
The MBRL workshop is a non-credit, four-week workshop that focuses on developing “soft skills”, resilience, and life skills needed to thrive in a career in law. The course is built on the “whole” person-developmental model which places emphasis on the essential role of personal well-being and meeting students where they are developmentally in terms of problem solving and self-management.

Personal Development

Most personal development training sessions can be done with any size group and range one to two hours (with 1.5 hours being ideal).

Emotional Intelligence (EI): What It Is and Why It Matters for Lawyers
In today’s competitive job market employers seek individuals who not only possess the threshold intellectual and technical capabilities, but also a high degree of what is known as emotional intelligence (EI). EI is the ability to recognize and effectively manage emotions in ourselves and in our relationships with others.

Finding Joy in Your Legal Career: Using Positive Psychology to Develop a Sustainable, Meaningful Legal Practice
Well-being and career satisfaction greatly impact performance. Positive psychology is the scientific study of optimal human functioning and what makes life worth living. This workshop presents empirical research in positive psychology and the key lessons about building and sustaining joy in our career. 

Finding Yourself in the Law
This session teaches students gain insight into how to find themselves in the practice of law. Using reflective questions students are asked to contemplate how key experiences shape their legal practice and how they can tell their story to leverage their strengths in their career.

MBTI, Legal Education, and Law Practice

In this session students recognize their personal strengths and weaknesses, then learn how those interplay with legal education.  Students learn about in-class and study techniques that complement and contrast their strengths, and how to manage both. 

Goal Setting for Peak Performance
One challenge for many students is setting goals and charting a reasonable and manageable path to that end.  This session will teach the key components to task and performance management.

Leadership and Collaborative Law
This session will build on prior sessions on personal strengths and relationship building to allow students to better work in collaborative work environments.

Stress Management

Resilient Lawyer
Law students and lawyers routinely face failure and setbacks. Resilient lawyers bounce back from obstacles with greater confidence and awareness. In this workshop students learn keys to responding well to adversity.

Understanding and Avoiding Burnout
Burnout is defined as a psychological syndrome involving emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and diminished sense of personal accomplishment that occurs among professionals who work with other people in challenging situations. (Maslach, 1982)  Students learn the hallmark symptoms of burnout and evaluate their own burnout level through the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI).

Healthy Relationships

Capitalizing on Appreciative Inquiry
In this interactive workshop, participants are introduced to the Appreciative Inquiry approach, learning how it increases the effectiveness of goal setting, team building, team meetings, decision-making processes, and improved client relationships.

Understanding the Science of Love: A Training on Developing Meaningful Connections
Sharing empirical evidence from social psychology on love, students learn basic theory about intimate relationships and how to improve meaningful emotional connections with others in their life.

Getting Your Needs Met through Productive Communication
Communication skills are key to lawyers and professionals, and are often the source of critique and error.  This session will explore how to ensure effective communication and avoid communication breakdowns.

Mastering Work/Life Balance
The most productive lawyers have figured out how to balance their work and their life outside of work.  This is key to professional and personal success.  This session will introduce students to the research and explore how one can achieve balance while working in a hierarchical profession.

In-class consultations (as desired/needed/scheduled)