Neuro-Economist Paul Zak Joins Integrative Law Institute Advisory Board

Paul Zak headshot

Scholar-researcher Paul Zak, Ph.D., the man who coined the term “neuro-economics,” has joined the Advisory Board of the Integrative Law Institute. 

Zak is the founding Director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies,  and Professor of Economics, Psychology and Management at Claremont Graduate University.  Zak also serves as Professor of Neurology at Loma Linda University Medical Center. He has degrees in mathematics and economics from San Diego State University, a Ph.D. in economics from University of Pennsylvania, and post-doctoral training in neuroimaging from Harvard.  

Professor Zak’s  lab discovered in 2004 that an ancient chemical in our brains, oxytocin, allows us to determine whom to trust. This knowledge is being used to understand the basis for modern civilizations and modern economies, improve negotiations, and treat patients with neurological and psychiatric disorders.

A featured TED speaker in 2011  (his talk has had more than a million viewers), Zak has also appeared on: Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, Fox & Friends, ABC Evening News, NOVA Science Now, NPR, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time, The Economist, Scientific American, Fast Company, Forbes, and many others.  His popular blog, “The Moral Molecule,”  is featured on the Psychology Today website.

Zak’s research about the role of oxytocin (“the moral molecule”) in economic transactions has earned him the nickname “Doctor Love.” 

Integrative Law Advisory Board and Paul Zak

Paul Zak, Doctor Love

Zak himself sometimes describes his research as “vampire economics” because of his track record of extracting blood from the bride and groom at a wedding, from Quakers before and after silent worship, from tribal warriors in Papua New Guinea as they prepare for traditional rituals, and from himself before and after skydiving attached to an instructor.  Zak measures blood levels of oxytocin under a wide variety of conditions, and his carefully designed lab experiments establish that when oxytocin rises, people behave more generously to others, and vice versa: being treated well by others prompts subjects to behave more generously and trustingly themselves.

The starting point for Zak’s astonishing research was the persistent mystery that in lab experiments, people consistently behave more generously than classical economics principles can account for. 

“A classic demonstration of this is known as the Trust Game, in which pairs of participants communicate with each other via computer terminals: they never meet, and have no idea who the other person is. Person A is given £10, then invited to send a portion of it, electronically, to person B. Person A has a motive for doing so: according to the rules, which both players know about, any money that A sends to B will triple in value, whereupon B will have the option of sending some of it back as a thank-you. According to conventional notions of rational behaviour, the game should break down before it has begun. Person B, acting selfishly, has no reason to give any money back — and, knowing this, person A shouldn’t send any over in the first place.

Yet, in trials of the game, 90% of A-people send money, while 95% of B-people send some back. Analysis of the oxytocin in their bloodstreams reveals what is going on: by sending money to person B, person A is giving a sign of trust – and being on the receiving end of a sign of trust, it emerges, causes oxytocin to increase, motivating more generous behaviour in return. And it is not just receiving free money that causes people to feel oxytocin’s “warm glow”: in other studies Zak has conducted, random windfalls don’t cause nearly so much of it to be released. What counts is being trusted: trust in one person triggers oxytocin in the other, which triggers more trustworthy behaviour, and so on, in a virtuous circle. “Well, that’s except for the 5% of people who are ‘unconditional non-reciprocators’,” says Zak, referring to the consistent minority of people who seem immune to this cycle. “What we call them in my lab is ‘bastards’.”  [Oliver Burkeman, The Guardian, July 15, 2012.]

Zak’s recent book, The Moral Molecule, explores the evolutionary and revolutionary implications of these discoveries about oxytocin’s central role in trust, goodness, and morality.  He sees oxytocin as an ancient molecule that evolved with us to help humans respond with exactly the right degree of trust and reciprocal trust in others in our social and economic transactions.  Zak’s earlier work, which you can read about in his first book, Moral Markets, established that trust is an essential precondition of economic prosperity in nations, since contracts can work only where contracting parties trust one another to follow through.  He now sees oxytocin as the biological mechanism that allows our unique large ultrasocial economies and cultures to function.  In Zak’s words, the Golden Rule—do unto others as you would have others do unto you—“is a lesson that the body already knows.” zak hug

        The implications are obvious for our work as lawyers helping clients resolve the legal disputes arising from broken human relationships.  If trust is our evolutionary legacy and advantage, and if as Zak contends in The Moral Molecule our ordinary human behavior toward one another directly impacts oxytocin levels and therefore trust and generosity, then we have available to us another big toolbox for helping our clients achieve resolution on terms that match their deepest personal values.







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Professor Leonard Riskin Joins Integrative Law Institute Advisory Board


Professor Riskin teaching mindful awareness to law students
Professor Riskin teaching mindful awareness to law students

Legal Scholar,  Mediator, and Pioneer in Alternative Dispute Resolution Education Brings Unique Vision to Integrative Law Institute Board

We announce with pleasure that Leonard L. Riskin has joined the Integrative Law Institute Advisory Board.   Riskin, who is the Chesterfield Smith Professor of Law at the University of Florida Levin College of Law and Visiting Professor at Northwestern University School of Law,  brings perspective to the Advisory Board as a distinguished pioneer in teaching conflict resolution, mediation, and interest-based negotiations.

Leonard Riskin was among the first scholars to focus on the importance of self-reflective awareness practices for lawyers.  He began teaching meditation practice for lawyers in the early 1980’s, and continues to be a leader in the growing movement to bring mindfulness practice into law school education. At the University of Florida, Riskin directs the Initiative on Mindfulness in Law and Dispute Resolution, and is a Senior Fellow in the Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution.

Early in his career as an academician, Riskin  observed a “huge amount of suffering among law students, lawyers and clients,” and recognized mediation “as a way to reduce unnecessary adversarialism and suffering.” Throughout his career, he has worked to bring this perspective into mainstream law school curricula.  Riskin has won recognition from the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution for his curricular innovation and from the American Bar Association’s Section of Dispute Resolution, which conferred on  Riskin its award for Outstanding Scholarly Work.

His research and writing have addressed a wide range of topics, from  decision-making in mediation, to the impact of mindfulness meditation on law students, lawyers and clients, to the role of emotions in negotiation. Riskin authored the law school textbook  Dispute Resolution and Lawyers.  He has taught courses on  “Conflict Management in Legal Practice” and “Advanced Dispute Resolution,” and continuing education programs for practicing lawyers on  mindfulness meditation as a means for lawyers to manage stress, handle conflict more effectively, and get more satisfaction out of their work.

Riskin is one of the first legal scholars to appreciate that lawyers and negotiators resolve conflicts not only with legal training and experience, but with the “quality of their presence.” He teaches that the fruits of mindful awareness practices are “contagious and [affect] other people’s consciousness and state of mind.” Riskin’s groundbreaking work to bring humanism into law practice enriches ILI’s focus on body-mind awareness practices as one of the core vectors of integrative law.

In these video clips, Leonard Riskin describes his philosophy and provides a window on  his influential work:

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Why Seek Out Certified Integrative Lawyers?

Integrative Lawyers

Integrative Law Institute at Commonweal

The Integrative Law movement is gaining traction and is reaching out to lawyers who may not yet see the need for changing business as usual.  ILI’s workshops and programs for certifying integrative lawyers are unusual in that they aim to reach lawyers who don’t self-identify as peacemakers–lawyers who without ever meaning to may be adding to the suffering of their clients who have legal issues that arise from broken personal relationships.

In this interview from KWMR radio, ILI Director Pauline Tesler talks about ILI’s mission:  to reclaim law as a healing profession.  She explains why it can be so important to take   your personal legal issues to a lawyer who has taken the time to learn about emerging  discoveries in the biological and social sciences concerning how humans make decisions, and how we  experience and resolve conflict. In other words…to an integrative lawyer.

KWMR Radio Interview:  Pauline Tesler talks about Integrative Law

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Conscious Contracting: Integrative Law for Transactional Lawyers

Lawyers in the U.S. are working on creative models for bringing transactional lawyers into the Integrative Law movement. They ask:  what if contract negotiations began with a discussion of the parties’ shared vision, mission, and values?  And what if those principles were tied in the contract itself to specific ways of addressing conflicts  that expressed those principles?  successful negotiation

Linda Alvarez, a California lawyer, sees the contract as a private, self-determined  justice system within the public justice system.  She invites lawyers to see our job as helping our clients create values-driven deals that include a framework for normalizing and addressing constructively the  disagreements and disputes that may arise downstream.

This is Integrative Law for transactional lawyers and in-house counsel, and it provides an important “preventive law” dimension to our work as humanistic conflict resolution professionals.

From Linda’s website:

“Design your own systems

Every contractual relationship is, in essence, a self-contained legal system.  The terms of the contract are the laws that the parties write for themselves and the dispute resolution provisions in their contract – whether written or unwritten – determine the justice system and process that will be used when the parties need to manage change or resolve disputes between themselves.

Their contract is a private system within a public system.  Our larger, so-called legal-justice system encompasses and impacts the workability of the private contractual system; but this larger context does not mean that the parties to a contract are powerless – unless they choose to be so.  It is, in fact, quite possible for the parties to retain a good deal of their power of self-determination and self-governance by conscious, enlightened design.

Using knowledge of the broader system, the parties can create their own structural foundations and frameworks.  Instead of cobbling together a structure from bits and pieces borrowed from or imposed by cumbersome convention and habit, they can design and implement their ideal private governance system.  Rather than using their contract as a weapons cache stockpiled in case of dispute, the parties can write a document that serves as a guide and support to their own, intentional system and structure within and with the support of the greater, conventional frame and framework.”

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Integrative Law Received Enthusiastically in South Africa

Teaching Integrative Law to South African lawyers

ILI Director Pauline Tesler visited Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa in April at the invitation of the Centre for Integrative Law, to present workshops on “Law and the Human Brain: Neuro-Literacy 101 for Lawyers, Mediators, and Judicial Officers.”

Participants in the workshops came from a broad swath of the legal profession, including a large contingent from South Africa’s government-funded Legal Aid Society as well as lawyers from Africa’s largest international commercial law firm, Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs.

Representative comments about the workshops:

“It is an amazing eye-opener. A must attend for every lawyer.”          Bishop Kgagara, Pretoria, South Africa

“What a refreshingly new and dynamic insight into our staid profession. You are to be congratulated for having the courage of your convictions in introducing Pauline to our fraternity here. Her presentation skills and enthusiasm for her groundbreaking approach are remarkable and very infectious.” ~ Nick Muller, Director – Dispute Resolution, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Inc., South Africa, 2013 

“Every lawyer should attend this seminar.  It is that simple.  What Pauline Tesler has done is condense much of the latest findings of neuroscience in a format which is both content-rich and palatable. Attending this seminar will not only give you another set of perspectives through which to view the entire legal profession, but a remarkable insight into human behaviour and how law is practiced in this context.” Wendy Ward, lawyer, South Africa, 2013

 A brilliant presentation. Absolutely amazing and remarkable! Very interesting and informative.”          Hajra Siddi Ganie, Mount Edgecombe, South Africa

“Of vital importance- should be taught and required legal studies and at university!”          Mariette Kruger, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Sharon Ellison partners with ILI for Certification in Integrative Law

I want to tell you more about Sharon Ellison, one of ILI’s new “certification partners.”  Certification partners are individuals or organizations offering continuing education programs that match so well with ILI’s mission and with our lawyer certification program (in terms of quality, content, and integrative significance)  that their educational programs will ordinarily be accepted for purposes of ILI’s Certification in Integrative Lawyering. (For more about ILI’s certification program, click here.)

Sharon Ellison

Sharon Ellison

Sharon has created a remarkable communications system called “Powerful Non-Defensive Communication.”  PNDC teaches how to recognize and alter the aggressive and defensive content embedded in what we say and how we say it.  Sharon’s method teaches refined techniques for asking genuinely curious questions that cause listeners to think  and that often make them want to answer, for themselves as well as for the questioner.

Lawyers have been flocking to Sharon’s training programs and workshops like bees to flowers, because her work provides essential core skills that we lawyers need if we are  to facilitate constructive, client-centered, interest-based, out-of-court dispute and conflict resolution.  Whether we are lawyer-mediators or collaborative lawyers, we are grounded in professional legal training that treats questions as just another weapon we use in service of winning.

When we shift to out-of-court modes of dispute resolution, we lawyers bring that adversarial toolbox along with us.  Cognitive biases being what they are,  it can be challenging even to see just how much we use  questions to  persuade rather than to inquire. As psychologist Abe Maslow said long ago, “if the only tool you have is a hammer, all problems tend to resemble  nails.”

Sharon’s trainings open lawyers’ eyes, helping us see the extent to which we –often unintentionally–ramp up conflict by the way that we speak. She teaches concrete methods for peeling away the aggressive and defensive content of our questions so that they become tools for discovery of new information.  I can’t recommend her courses and workshops highly enough for lawyers who are serious about making the shift away from adversarial methods and toward constructive facilitation of deep resolution.

You can view Sharon’s calendar here.  Two programs coming up soon are worth considering:

1.  The Disarming Power of Questions

Webinar Description: Learn and practice more than a dozen formats for asking questions that can enhance our power to disarm defensiveness and get to the heart of an issue quickly, opening up the kind of genuine conversation that can lead to deeper resolution and connection. More Complete Information . . .

Dates: Tuesdays: Jan 29, Feb 5, Feb 19, Feb 26, March 5, & March 12, 2013
Times: ~ 4-6 pm Pacific ~ 5-7 pm Mountain ~ 6-8 pm Central ~ 7-9 pm Eastern
Length: Each of the Six Sessions ~ 2 hours
CEUs:  Available for MFTs and LCSWs (12 hours) / Credits also available toward certification in Integrative Law

Workshop Price: $385.00 (Partial Scholarships Available– Register Now! Special 2 person offer Workshop Price: $670.00 – Register Now!  To make payment arrangements other than by credit card, contact Sharon directly.

2.   National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations: The Leadership Workshop for Professional Women~ An innovative women’s leadership training for women attorneys as well as for women in other professions

Date: Friday, February 8 & Saturday, February 9, 2013
City: Dallas, TX
Place: Embassy Suites Hotel, Dallas Market Center
Conference Overview: The focus is to build leadership skills that increase economic strength and collaboration among women across professional boundaries. Unlike most other conferences, this one is structured so that each speaker will present to and/or work with the whole audience. The cost is also very reasonable.  Sharon Strand Ellison will be one of the five speakers and and she says, “I’m extremely impressed with the kind of power, creativity, and integrity the other four speakers possess ~ and excited to learn from them. I hope you’ll consider attending this exceptional conference on women’s leadership and share the information in your own community of colleagues and friends.” For a More Complete description of the conference and speaker bios, click here ..
To register: 
click here.




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Program for Certifying Integrative Lawyers Announced by Integrative Law Institute


Certification in Integrative Law

ILI’s program for certifying integrative lawyers has two purposes:

  • to encourage and recognize lawyers who engage in significant continuing education study aimed at developing the skills and understandings that support practicing law as a healing profession, and
  • to provide a means for members of the public to locate and identify lawyers who are committed to providing professional services  that address human conflicts constructively, not solely as legal problems but also across the  many other dimensions in which conflict impacts lives.

The core of the certification program is ILI’s own workshops and programs for practicing lawyers.  The hallmark of ILI programs is that they integrate creative conflict resolution tools, traditional understandings and practices, and emerging research discoveries from the biological and social sciences in a manner that lawyers, mediators, and judicial officers can use right away in their work.  ILI’s workshops and trainings include hands-on experiential components wherever possible.

Applicants for ILI certification will be asked to provide documentation of at least 40 hours of continuing education course work consisting of at least 25 hours of  workshops and trainings provided by ILI, with the balance consisting of approved courses provided either by ILI or by its partner organizations and colleagues.

Lawyers who have earned ILI’s certification in integrative law will be listed on ILI’s website and social media sites with links back to their own websites, and will be permitted to display ILI’s certification badge on websites, social media sites, and on professional materials.  Under development is a plan to provide Certified Integrative Lawyers with an online participatory virtual community.

The certification program, some components of which are still under development, is  being launched in phases beginning in early 2013,  so that participants in current ILI workshops  who have interest in certification can be aware of this option as they plan their ongoing continuing education.

 Earning Certification Credits

For 2013, continuing education credits as follows may be submitted for purposes of certification.  New  ILI courses and a limited number of select additional continuing education partners will be added to this list from time to time. The courses will be offered in major U.S. cities during 2013 and 2014.  By 2014, ILI also expects to offer some courses online.

Invitations to bring any ILI program to your city are welcome, as are program co-sponsorships.

ILI workshops and courses (as of January 2013)

Pauline Tesler Presenting at Integrative Law Workshop

  • Law and the Human Brain: Neuro-Literacy 101 for Lawyers, Mediators, and Judges. A complete description of this course is available at (6 hours)
  • Money, Law, and Values. An investigation of how money, law, and values intersect and sometimes collide in legal negotiations, and an exploration of pathways through the challenges.  The workshop is described in more depth  at  (6 hours)
  • Weekend Workshop:  Becoming an Integrative Lawyer.  (Attendance at a weekend workshop is required for certification.)  This is a  highly personalized workshop with limited enrollment, offered in a variety of peaceful locations convenient to major cities. Included in the workshop is  facilitated personal self-reflection and strategic planning for achieving a law practice that supports working as an integrative lawyer.  The workshop curriculum  provides an overview and introduction to integrative law vectors, including: therapeutic/integrative jurisprudence and ethics, communications, narrative and re-storying techniques, body-mind awareness practices and tools, human needs theory, positive psychology,  negotiations theory,  systems theory and team practice,  behavioral and neuro-economics perspectives, collaborative practice, apology/forgiveness,restorative justice, integrative and values-based transactional practice, interest-based negotiations.  The fee for the workshop includes one hour of follow-up individual practice development consultation with Pauline Tesler, either via video conferencing or in person.  (15 to 18 hours)

Continuing Education Partners (as of January 2013)

  Lawyers may submit for certification purposes proof of in-person attendance at approved continuing education courses offered by these organizations and individuals.  Ordinarily, courses submitted for certification must carry  either state bar approved continuing legal education credit, or alternatively,  APA, state, or similar approved  CEU credit intended for other professions, such as psychologists, psychotherapists, or health care professionals.  Courses offered by ILI partners that do not carry such approved credit or that are attended online will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

ILI welcomes certification partnership inquiries from workshop leaders, trainers, and organizations that provide high quality continuing education in the vectors recognized by ILI for integrative law certification.  We consider for certification partnership programs that offer substantial original material developed by the presenter.

To be included in ILI’s mailing list, click here:   For more information, contact Pauline Tesler:

Posted in behavior during conflict, Body/Mind Awareness Practices, Negotiations, positive psychology, Self Awareness in Negotiations, Storytelling and Conflict Resolution, stress reduction, The Human Brain, The Need for Integrative Law | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Integrative Law Institute Partner Offers “Mindfulness and Compassion” workshop in March

Greater Good Science Center           Mindful

I’m pleased to pass on to the Integrative Law community this announcement from Advisory Board member Dacher Keltner’s Greater Good Science Center, one of ILI’s partner organizations.  Mindfulness  and other self-awareness practices are part of the core skills that integrative lawyers can bring to our work with clients experiencing conflict.  Learning the skills taught in this workshop can make you more present, energetic, attentive, and compassionate when working on high-stress cases, to your own personal benefit as well as to the benefit of your clients.

 Here is the workshop description: 

with Jon Kabat-Zinn, Paul Gilbert, Dacher Keltner, Kristin Neff, Shauna Shapiro, and others
When: March 8, 2013
Where: Craneway Conference Center, Richmond, CA (just north of Berkeley–map it) or tune in via Live Webcast
Hosted by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and Mindful: Taking Time for What Matters

A day-long conference to help you deepen connections to others and care for yourself, drawing on cutting-edge science

This day-long conference, featuring a keynote by Jon Kabat-Zinn, will illuminate the connections between mindfulness and compassion, focusing on how mindfulness can deepen relationships and build compassion, including self-compassion. Speakers will discuss how to apply scientific findings to the real world, drawing on cutting-edge research and inspiring success stories. Attendees will practice research-tested mindfulness and compassion techniques and learn from program leaders who have fostered mindfulness and compassion in schools, health care, and beyond.

Other presenters will include Kristin Neff, PhD, author of Self-Compassion; Paul Gilbert, PhD, founder of Compassion Focused Therapy; Shauna Shapiro, PhD, expert on integrating mindfulness into Western psychology, medicine, and education; and Dacher Keltner, PhD, faculty director of the Greater Good Science Center. Event will be webcast live!

Learn more at

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Leading positive psychology researcher joins Integrative Law Institute Advisory Board

Integrative law vector: positive psychologyWe are delighted to announce that Dacher Keltner, Ph.D., has joined the Advisory Board of the Integrative Law Institute.  A leading researcher and scholar in the relatively new field of positive psychologyDacher is the executive editor of Greater Good, the founding faculty director of the Greater Good Science Center, and a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also the author of Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life and a co-editor of The Compassionate Instinct: The Science of Human Goodness. His prolific research and writing have helped to transform our understanding of what it means to be human by investigating positive attributes such as compassion, empathy, cooperation, and altruism as the evolutionary endowment that enabled our survival and flourishing as a species, and that make us–well–human.

Here is a description of the domain of positive psychology that makes it clear why ILI includes basic elements of positive psychology in its programming for lawyers:

Positive Psychology is the scientific study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive. . . . This field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play.

Positive Psychology has three central concerns: positive emotions, positive individual traits, and positive institutions. Understanding positive emotions entails the study of contentment with the past, happiness in the present, and hope for the future. Understanding positive individual traits consists of the study of the strengths and virtues, such as the capacity for love and work, courage, compassion, resilience, creativity, curiosity, integrity, self-knowledge, moderation, self-control, and wisdom. Understanding positive institutions entails the study of the strengths that foster better communities, such as justice, responsibility, civility, parenting, nurturance, work ethic, leadership, teamwork, purpose, and tolerance.

Dacher Keltner’s research interests include not only the workings of emotion and power in social relationships (areas of obvious relevance to lawyers whose clients are experiencing legal issues that arise from fractured human relationships) but also human morality.  Here is how he describes that aspect of his work:

My final research interest lies in the study of how humans negotiate moral concerns. Here I have examined how opposing partisans tend to assume that they alone see the issues objectively and in principled fashion, a tendency we call “naive realism”. We have shown that opposing partisans attribute extremism and bias to their opponents.

In studies of moral judgment, I have shown how emotions such as anger, sadness, and fear influence judgments of causality, fairness, and risk. More recently, I have begun to study the contents of three moral domains – autonomy, community, and purity – and how these domains relate to emotion and prejudice.

Morality,  “neuro-morality,” and positive psychology are vectors that ILI includes in its programs teaching Integrative Law.  It is exciting and gratifying for us to have the support of one of the most creative scholars in the field.




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When Gandhi was a lawyer: Integrative Law Milestones

M. Gandhi, Integrative Lawyer

Mohandas Gandhi is well known and even revered for pioneering the  use of non-violent passive resistance for large-scale political purposes.  Less well known is his early career as a London-trained lawyer, captured in this remarkable photograph.

He rejected “business as usual” adversarial litigation, in favor of looking to heal the roots of conflict in the hearts of his clients experiencing personal disputes.  It was in the course of fighting as a lawyer for the civil rights of Muslim and Hindu Indians in South Africa that he was given a copy of  Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience to read while in jail.  Out of this grew Gandhi’s development of new techniques for mass nonviolent civil disobedience that became his life work.

We at ILI are putting together a gallery of  contrarian heroes of the legal profession who understood, long before mediation or ADR had names, that the highest and deepest calling of a lawyer working in the realm of personal disputes is to heal breaches in the social fabric that manifest as legal issues but gather their destructive force from fractured human relationships.

We begin with Gandhi, and we invite you to send us quotations and links to your personal favorite legal heroes in the evolution of what we now call Integrative Law. We’ll add those we especially like to the ILI Gallery.

Posted in The Need for Integrative Law | 3 Comments