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: