Students: Watch This

One of my close friends alerted me to Amy Cuddy’s TEDTalk on body language. I’d seen her research before, and actually have used some of her suggestions in my own preparations for classes and speeches, but I’d never had the chance to hear her speak. This talk is something everyone should watch — but especially my students.

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Starting Law School (2) – Preparation and Participation in the First Semester

In my last post, I discussed the environment in law school and why I do some of the things I try to do as a professor. In this post, I provide a few brief suggestions about class preparation and class participation.

Class Preparation.  I have four basic guidelines. None of these points is rocket science, but each point is worth emphasis. Continue reading →

Starting Law School (1) – The New Normal and One Professor’s Frame of Reference

So you’re starting law school, or thinking about applying? This morning I gave an orientation talk to incoming law school first years about what to expect in the first semester of law school, and particularly the first few weeks. In this post and the next, I will provide the gist of what I mentioned during that talk. The bottom line? When you start law school, prepare for change. This post  describes the “new normal” you will face, as well as how I view the law school classroom as a law professor. Continue reading →

Are We Responsible for Our Brains?

This not a rhetorical question. As noted in  Reuters article by Kate Kelland, as we learn more about the brain, we raise challenging issues about personal responsibility. The law — an inherently conservative discipline, systemically resistant to change — is being confronted with profound questions. No doubt, some of those questions have previously been implicated by defenses of mental capacity and insanity, but these issues take on added significance as neuroscience opens our thoughts and thinking processes to more thorough examination.

Blocked Mindfulness

What if you have been taking my advice and trying to be more mindful, but it just isn’t working out? I found this brief article, from The Emotion Machine, quite useful. The author of the blog, Steven Handel, also has a number of other helpful posts on mindfulness. His blog, in short, rewards one’s attention.

Mindfulness is not synonymous with meditation. The two are related, however, since meditation is mindful and can enhance mindfulness even when you are not meditating. For a nice discussion of meditation, I will again mention Full Catastrophe Living. There, Jon Kabat-Zinn takes the reader step by step through the process of learning Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. This provides the curious with a solid introduction to mindfulness and meditation without the religious trappings that so often accompany the subject.

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