Workshop F

Getting Proximate to Pain: Mindfulness Practices to Help Law Students Sit With Suffering

Professor Bryan Stevenson advises that to be change agents requires us to “get proximate” to struggle, to get closer to the issues we are trying to address and the people we are trying to empower. Law school clinics, particularly those that provide direct legal services, can help students “get proximate” to the injustice, exclusion and inequity experienced by clients. This can ignite or sustain a sense of social responsibility and a passion for social justice in students, and it can create enormous emotional stress. In this session, we will explore mindfulness/contemplative practices that can help students build resiliency strategies, cultivate reflectiveness, and explore the connections between mindfulness and social justice (addressing issues of bias, exclusion, and inequity within ourselves so that we can more effectively advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion in our work).

The presenters will share their experiences incorporating mindfulness practices into their clinical teaching and supervision. The session will include:

  • Introduction Sitting Exercise
  • Brief overview of mindfulness/meditation and everyday practices in seminar and clinic
  • Discussion of how mindfulness was integrated into Stanford’s Criminal Defense Clinic
  • Sitting practice and debrief
  • Meditation practices to build empathy, compassion, clarity to address bias – our own, others, and in our institutions
  • Introduction to Anytime, Anywhere Mindfulness


Download Session Materials:



  • Tirien Steinbach (Berkeley)
  • Ron Tyler (Stanford)

Session 2
Location: Room 280B Date: February 10, 2018 Time: 2:15 pm - 3:25 pm Tirien Steinbach Ron Tyler