Tag Archives: Pauline Tesler

Neuro-law: A New World of Law Part 3

 

BRAIN SPIKE IMAGE LIGHTS

Why should you, as a lawyer, care about Neuroscience?

This is part 3 of my series in Neurolaw – in which I provide some extracts explaining developments in legal thinking that you may not be aware of.

The Research Network on Law and Neuroscience, supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, is an interdisciplinary collaborative initiative with two main goals: (1) to help the legal system avoid misuse of neuroscientific evidence in criminal law contexts, and (2) to explore ways to deploy neuroscientific insights to improve the fairness and effectiveness of the criminal justice system.

The MacArthur Foundation laid the cornerstones for the Network by drawing together several dozen of the nation’s top researchers beginning in 2007 to conduct a coordinated and comprehensive investigation of basic issues at the intersection of law and neuroscience, funded by a four-year grant. In 2011, the new MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience began to build on those cornerstones with an interconnected program of research with three foci: Mental States, Development, and Evidence.

A conference on the Future of Law and Neuroscience is being held on 27 April 2013 in Chicago, sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience, the American Bar Association, Vanderbilt Law School, the Gruter Institute for Law and Behavioral Research, the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section, and the American Bar Association Science & Technology Section.

The program will feature a law and neuroscience curriculum specifically designed for lawyers, and will draw on new research from the MacArthur Foundation Research Network. Topics to be covered include: An introduction to cognitive neuroscience (including brain imaging techniques) for lawyers; neuroscience and criminal justice; decision making; the developing brain; memory and lie detection; and evidentiary issues surrounding neuroscientific evidence.

You have a chance to learn about Neuroscience and Law here in South Africa in April 2013 with a global legal in this field, Pauline Tesler from San Francisco.

Make sure you don’t miss out.

Cape Town: 10 April 2013

Johannesburg: 23 April 2013

Click here to register.

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Neuro-law: A New World of Law Part 2

David Eagleman (1)

 

Photo: David Eagleman from The Initiative of Neuroscience and the Law at the Baylor College of Medicine who spoke with federal judges at the D.C. Circuit Court bi-annual conference in 2012 about the importance of a scientifically-guided legal system. He has done dozens of public lectures across the US and has been featured on CNN.

All around the world institutions and organisations are being created to harness learning from neuroscience in the world of law. The point of a legal system is to resolve conflict and help people live alongside each other on Planet Earth.  It doesn’t take a genius to see that the legal system is falling way short of its goal. So how do we start shifting the legal profession? We do it by going back to understanding how people function and what lies at the heart of conflict.

Extract from Baylor College of Medicine’s Initiative on Neuroscience and Law:

Baylor College of Medicine’s Initiative on Neuroscience and Law addresses how new discoveries in neuroscience should navigate the way we make laws, punish criminals, and develop rehabilitation.  The project brings together a unique collaboration of neurobiologists, legal scholars, ethicists, medical humanists, and policy makers, with the goal of running experiments that will result in modern, evidence-based policy.

Emerging questions at the interface of law and neuroscience challenge fundamental notions at the heart of our criminal justice system. Because brains develop as a complex interaction of genes and environment, can we really assume that people are ‘practical reasoners’, and deciding in exactly the same way? Is mass incarceration the most fruitful method to deal with juveniles, the mentally ill, and the drug-addicted? Can novel technologies such as real-time brain imaging be leveraged for new methods of rehabilitation? Can large scale data analysis give us insight into patterns of crime, recidivism, and the effect of legislation? 

Because most behavior is driven by brain networks we do not consciously control, the legal system will eventually be forced to shift its emphasis from retribution to a forward-looking analysis of future behavior. In the light of modern neuroscience, it no longer makes sense to ask “was it his fault, or his biology’s fault, or the fault of hisbackground?”, because these issues can never be disentangled.  Instead, the only sensible question can be “what do we do from here?” — in terms of customized sentencing, tailored rehabilition, and refined incentive structuring.

Lawyers all over the world are starting to see how learning from other disciplines, such as Neuroscience can have a profound effect on how we practise law. The Centre for Integrative Law’s mission is: To create a network of self-aware legal professionals, trained in global legal innovation, to articulate a new vision of law for South Africa.

If you’re interested in being a self-aware legal professional, trained in global legal innovation, come to hear the brilliant legal thought leader Pauline Tesler, from San Francisco, talking about Neuro-Literacy for Lawyers.

Cape Town: 10 April 2013

Johannesburg: 23 April 2013

Click here to register.

Neuro-law: A New World of Law Part 1

Triune brain artist impression

If you’re a lawyer (and chances are high if you’re reading this 😉 then you may well wonder what NEUROSCIENCE has to do with law or why you should care.

Here are some extracts explaining what’s going on around the world that you may not be aware of, understandably given the high demands of the legal profession and the pressure of billing by the hour.

Do you have time to read this? I’d argue you do for 2 reasons:

  1. You’re a lawyer and read really fast so you’ll soon decide if this is worth your while.
  2. Sometime you have to stop and sharpen the axe – even when it means you lose 15 minutes of billable tree-cutting time.

Extracts from Negotiation & Neuroscience by Kay Elliot.

Every day we are expected to make decisions that may have lasting effects: Do I negotiate with the customer that is obnoxious, demanding and unreasonable? Do I end a business relationship when the other party injures me financially? Do I negotiate with my life partner who has betrayed me about how much time I get to spend with our child? On a macro scale – should the USA negotiate with the Taliban when it is publicly dedicated to acts of terrorism against our country? Was Nelson Mandela right to negotiate with the apartheid regime of South Africa? Was Churchill wise to not negotiate with Hitler during World War II? When should we say no and fight? When should we say let’s negotiate? Is there a paradigm for making wise decisions in these difficult settings? Should we ever bargain with the “devil”?

Wise dispute resolution poses three challenges: avoiding predominately emotional decision making; taking the time to do a decision tree of alternatives; and assessing the ethical and moral issues involved in any situation. Neuroscientists and psychologists tell us that we all make these types of decisions using different parts of our brains: the intuitive, emotional brain and the rational, analytical brain. Other writers call these structures the old brain (the so-called snake brain) and the newer brain.

So take a look at the image again – thanks to Dr Paul Maclean – and see the 3 parts of the brain:

  1. Neo-cortex or new brain – cognitive section of the brain, the rational, figuring stuff out part
  2. Limbic system (in the middle)  – responsible for emotional attachments, also known as mammalian brain
  3. The Survival/ Reptilian/ Old brain – this is our flight or fight response that helps us act instantly when there isn’t time to weigh up pros and cons.

Some more from Kay Elliot:

The preference for distributive conflict styles prevents integration. In another context we see that narrowing the issues is beneficial for trying a law suit – fewer points to prove – but broadening the issues provides more scope for trades. The litigator in negotiating a settlement might only use the parts of the brain best suited for math problems and fail to utilize other parts of the brain better suited to creative tasks…

Neuroscience, while exciting, is still in its early stages of development. Neuroimaging holds the promise, however, of allowing unprecedented access to the mechanisms of the brain as it makes decisions. We are finally able to advance our understanding of just what is happening in the brain during negotiation and mediation, not by words but with pictures… 

There are many workshops being offered to mediators and negotiators in this and related fields. In the summer of 2010, for example, Pepperdine University School of Law presented Mindfulness for Conflict Resolvers: Lawyers, Mediators, Negotiators, Judges, Arbitrators & Managers, led by Len Riskin, Professor at the University of Florida College of Law, and Rachel Wohl, Director of the Maryland Supreme Court Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office. In June of that year a webinar on Contemplative Neuroscience with Richard Davidson from the University of Wisconsin was presented. On October 22, 2010, the University of California-Hastings College of Law sponsored a symposium on Emotions and Negotiation. Two leading authorities on non verbal communication, Paul Ekman and Clark Freshman, presented the latest research findings on using emotional information to negotiate more effectively…

In June, 2010, a course in Neuro-Collaboration was offered by Pauline Tesler (Attorney) and Thomas Lewis (MD and Neuroscientist) at Pepperdine. One observation from that course crystallizes the intersection of Neuroscience and Law:

“Collaborative lawyers undertake a task and if they are to do well at it, their beliefs and behaviors must support the ends they pursue and the processes they offer, must match up with what their clients and colleagues reasonably expect, and with what is known about how human beings actually do behave during conflict and conflict resolution processes. This does not mean that a collaborative lawyer must be a neuro-scientist or a psychotherapist or communications specialist. But collaborative lawyers do have a responsibility to make their work congruent with how they and their clients are biologically wired to think, feel, and decide, if they are to deliver what they promise.”

Lawyers all over the world are starting to see how learning from other disciplines, such as Neuroscience can have a profound effect on how we practise law.

Are you interested in innovation in law or do you aspire to the nostalgia of a law office lined with books and a mahogany desk with a jar of quill pens?

The Centre for Integrative Law’s mission is: To create a network of self-aware legal professionals, trained in global legal innovation, to articulate a new vision of law for South Africa.

If you’re interested in being a self-aware legal professional, trained in global legal innovation, come to hear the brilliant legal thought leader Pauline Tesler, from San Francisco, talking about Neuro-Literacy for Lawyers.

Cape Town: 10 April 2013

Johannesburg: 23 April 2013

Click here to register.

Part 2 of Neuro Law will follow.

I had a dream

I had a dream:  in February 2012  to start a centre for conscious lawyers.

What happened:  7 months later I launched the Centre for Integrative Law.

I had a dream I could one day meet Kim Wright, author of ABA best-seller Lawyers as Peacemakers. I emailed  Kim on 7 June 2012.

What happened:  Kim flew to Cape Town 3 months later to help me launch the Centre for Integrative Law and co host South Africa’s 1st Integrative Law Conference on 27 September 2012.

Here’s part of my first email to Kim:

Dear Kim

Please let me know if you’d be willing to collaborate with me, all the way out here in South Africa. I’m struggling to get this “thing” to take form – but I can see that the right sort of people, in fact a powerful network of influential people are starting to come into my sphere.

 I can’t wait to read your book – is it available on Kindle? I might try that although I must say I still like to hold an actual book in my hands!  I would love to connect with you. 

This is me and Kim, tired but glowing after hosting our conference.

I had a dream I could meet someone who saw the changes needed in the legal profession like I do.

What happened: I found Kim online and a a few weeks later, I discovered Pauline Tesler, Director of the Integrative Law Institute in San Francisco. I was lucky enough to be in Canada in July and found that San Fran was a 2 hour flight so I hopped over to meet Pauline, who shares my views on transforming the legal profession to an almost uncanny degree. I’m planning Pauline’s trip to South Africa next year to provide training in Collaborative Divorce and neuro-literacy for lawyers as well as general training in Integrative Law.

I had a dream I could make some more friends who see the world like I do.

What happened: After reading every post I’ve ever written on this blog, Laly Mourenon from Monaco wrote me the most charming fan letter I’m ever likely to receive. Laly is a conscious lawyer wishing to spread the Integrative Law Movement across Europe. Laly and I are going on holiday together in December so that we can meet and talk about Integrative Law worldwide.  Laly is half French and half Italian, and our plans to spread Integrative Law across Europe might be the reason the Universe ensured I  chose to learn French and Italian despite growing up on the tip of Africa with no ancestors from either place.

Introducing Laly Mourenon – you’ll be hearing a lot more about her.

I had a dream I could go to Bali.

What happened: I’ve booked a flight and an antique Balinese “joglo” house for 5 weeks for the end of this year.  Laly will be with me for 10 days before I become more of a yogi hermit and retreat in this paradise in the ricefields.

I’m learning that dreams really can come true. And all that stuff about “if you can dream it you can do it” actually have substance. Focusing one’s intention is a very powerful thing. (I attach this link, it’s not the best description of the difference between wishing for something and setting an intention, but it’s a good start.)

I have become aware that my powers of manifestation have increased to a startling degree. It’s not exactly like The Secret, where a guy thinking about a Ferrari suddenly finds one in his living room, but enough that I am quite startled by what’s appearing and so are those close to me who are witnessing it.

I choose to use this power for good. In fact, I believe that it can only be used for good.  The Universe only helps out if it is for the highest purpose that something occurs.

When all these wondrous things started happening, it felt like everything was moving faster and faster and I did a little too much. I went to Tanzania for work in early September, where I conducted two simulated court cases:

Followed by a 4am start in Dar es Salaam and flight after flight until I arrived for a family wedding in France.  It was the most beautiful wedding in the world – although it did require 8 hour work days for a week to pull it off! I can now  add “international boules tournament organiser” to my CV.

This was followed immediately by delayed planes and 2 nights of little sleep in airport hotels (and bed bugs!) – which meant I actually missed Kim Wright’s arrival in Cape Town! But I made it in time to attend the 3 day Barrett conference in Cape Town, which was a glorious feast of ideas around raising individual, organisational and collective consciousness. Many tears were shared in open discussion as people were so profoundly moved. Kim and I presented on mindful or conscious contracts, a new movement in the way lawyers draft agreements.

Here I am with Gita Bellin, a pioneer in the field of behavioural transformation using her 50 years of study of Eastern and Western disciplines to assist people and organisations with  Conscious Evolution.

A few days after the Barrett conference, Kim and I planned and then hosted South Africa’s 1st Integrative Law Conference, which I will write about properly in a separate post. Below you can see lawyers Alan Nelson, Mervyn Malamed and in the background, Advocate Jacques Joubert and law student Byron Schwartz.

This was followed by a road show of meetings in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria with Kim.

Here’s Kim and me meeting Judge Jody Kollapen.

What an incredible adventure it has been. These events and meetings have been extraordinary. I am profoundly grateful at the enthusiastic response and support Kim and I received wherever we went and spoke about the Integrative Law Movement. However, I tried to fit too much into this short space of time and my health suffered so that by mid October I was flattened.  I’m working at a less frenetic pace now and trusting the Centre for Integrative Law will unfold as it should even if I don’t leap on and off planes and bang away at emails until late at night. And if this post is a little overdue, I’m not sweating the small stuff.

As I plan the next Integrative Lawyer workshop for 6 December I am aware that I cannot talk about balance or fulfilment or personal/professional alignment if I’m in poor health!  I must walk my talk. There is enough time for everything.

When I look at all this year has brought me, I am amazed and astounded at my privilege, when so many are living in abject poverty and despair. I work often with the 7 levels of consciousness and am becoming increasingly aware that to be able to focus one’s time on how to be of service to humanity is a gift beyond measure – when so many are struggling with daily survival.  I’m still figuring out what this all means for the way I shall choose to live my life going forward – and I wonder who will walk this journey with me as my life changes and my priorities change. But that’s a big topic!

Just for today, I shall hold immense gratitude for what has transpired thus far and keep my eyes open for what the Universe would like me to do next.

Thank you Universe

 

Dear Universe

Wow, I apologise profusely for doubting you.

I didn’t actually think you had a plan for me and I’m sorry about that. I’ve felt for some years that I was drifting from one rather interesting career path to another, but that there wasn’t a reason for my frequent changes. I didn’t realise then it was multi-disciplinary training. Thanks for that.

I apologise too that I didn’t think you were listening when I told you about my Centre for Conscious Law in January. I thought your silence meant I was barking up the wrong tree but it’s obvious now that you were working really hard to find the right people who could help me make this happen.  There’s no way I can ever express my gratitude deeply enough, except I suppose to use all the wonderful resources you’re putting at my disposal and make the Centre for Integrative Law here in Cape Town truly amazing. I hope the Centre will play its part in the global shift towards a new way of being in the world, a shift we are seeing in economics, medicine, politics, spirituality, ecology and science, and of course , law.

I’ve been working on the Centre’s Vision and Mission – most recent drafts:

Vision: 

An educational centre for emergent thinking in the practice of law and innovation in legal education, bringing global developments in the Integrative Law Movement to South Africa

Mission:

To create a network of change agents, trained in global legal innovation, to articulate a new vision of law for South Africa.

I’m so grateful dear Universe for all your help that I want to mention a couple of specific things – I’ll try not to let it run on like a wedding speech.

Thank you for giving me a fast-paced education in Organizational Development.  Of course I had no idea until fairly recently how law and OD fit together but it is all being revealed!  Yesterday I sat with clients for whom I am re-drafting all their legal contracts to be “conscious contracts”  and I worked with them on their business’ vision, mission and values – which of course will be contained as part of their new legal contracts.  Ta dah! Now that I so clearly see the link between culture, values and legal relationships, I can’t believe I didn’t see it before. In fact it’s a big problem that these things are seen by organisations as completely separate things! Lawyers don’t even know what OD means! (Well I didn’t until a few years ago, I admit).

And as for all these organisations on culture journeys, which have archaic legal departments still writing up “screw you” contracts, well, gosh, I clearly have a lot of work to do. The Barrett conference is such a wonderful opportunity for me to share about this, I am over the moon to be presenting a break-out session there in September. Thank you.

Back to the organisational development thing – sending me two guys last week both of whom are lawyers turned OD specialists is kind of labouring the point don’t you think? Clearly you wanted me to keep pondering the law/OD/ organisational culture link. (The fact that the one guy is my neighbour is hilarious! I’ve been staring at his roof for 10 months now.)

I also think it’s pretty funny that I can see you started sending me people years ago to teach me what I needed to know! Like the consultants who taught me about Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory in 2007. And then of course my dad who introduced me to the Barrett Values Centre and the levels of organisational consciousness. And I guess you didn’t want to leave anything to chance when you ensured that I then fell in love with a man working as an Organisational Development consultant at that time, alongside his beautiful mother, a systems theory specialist.  I was so deeply blessed to have her mentor me for two short years in how to walk the sacred journey from head to heart.

I realise I have been showered with resources beyond my wildest dreams from love, patience and kindness, admiration, inspiration to physical resources including books and programmes and files on leadership, presence, systems thinking, scenario planning!  Wow. Thank you. (and that’s on top of the fact that the guy’s a keeper 😉

A special thank you that you waited until I was ready and then had me meet someone running their own “conscious law centre”, Pauline Tesler in San Francisco.  I guess I really did need to see that it could be done before I started my own. The web of conscious, aware, brilliant, caring, committed, visionary consultants and lawyers you’ve put in my path in the last 2 years astounds me. In such a short space of time I can’t believe I have such beautiful relationships with such awesome people.

I need to say a special thank you for sending me Kim Wright. Clearly you don’t do half-measures. I mean you found the world’s most qualified expert on practising law with soul and healing the legal profession and even though she lives half way round the world from me, you sent her to my door here in Cape Town? That’s outrageously cool of you. Kim and I are both so excited to work together.  And thanks – people here in SA don’t really know about Integrative Law so Kim’s visit is EXACTLY what this country needs.  And dear Universe, you’ve worked so hard to pull this off! I mean I had barely mentioned to Kim that she should attend the Barrett conference with me when you somehow got them to ask her to not only attend, but present at their conference. Sheer brilliance.

Every time my spirits have flagged or I think I’ve bitten off more than I can chew I get an email from someone on the other end of the world telling me how amazing I am and how they applaud what I’m doing. I apologise for needing so much affirmation – but please keep it coming!  It really helps when I feel overwhelmed by the enormity of what I’m undertaking, correction, what we’re undertaking. It’s clear I’m not alone.

One last thing, I’m sure you have a plan for funding the Centre for Integrative Law. Some of the people like the website guy and the logo designer and the lawyer advising me on structures are going to need payment pretty soon. I trust you’ve got it covered?  Thanks in advance for making the money part easy too, so I can focus on creating the right training programs for lawyers and getting the best people in the world here to help run them.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You’re amazing. Let me know if there’s anything more I can do – although I will have to ask for a time extension in that case! Two weeks to get the Centre off the ground and get events ready for Kim’s visit, while getting new consulting clients is proving tricky! I’m working as fast as I possibly can.

We’ll talk again soon. I might need to rest up this weekend as all this activity has left me a little physically unwell. (Great new doctor you sent me today though – really like her)

Yours in deepest gratitude, forever

Amanda

Let the River Run

I’ve felt like my views on transforming the legal profession and my sharing them on this blog is just a little trickling stream. But now this little stream is turning into a river as I connect with people all over the globe who think the same way.  Several nights in the last week I have had the privilege of talking to amazing women (via Skype) from America, Australia, Bosnia – who are all working hard to transform the way lawyers practice, law firms operate and law schools teach law.  Each woman has connected me with other wonderful lawyers bringing about change and so it flows.

Last week I wondered aloud if I could find a woman lawyer in Cape Town who had done the Women Within training to help me launch the Integrative Law Movement in South Africa. Well, I got an email within 24 hours from the “right woman”. It was that easy. And I knew she was the “right woman” to help me when she emailed me this quote:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back– Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” (attributed to Goethe – but its attribution is apparently complex)

Of course I had this quotation on my fridge already.

On Saturday night I spoke to a couple at a party about my ideas and they said I should speak to their woman lawyer friend, who it turns out I had gone to law school with. I checked my phone just before I drove home at midnight and lo and behold, this long-lost law school friend had just asked me to connect with her on Linked-in.

I know it’s very New-Agey for lawyers…but I do believe in Karma and destiny.  I cannot doubt right now that the Universe is helping me do the work I am meant to be doing.

I wrote an article last week on Integrative Law and quoted Pauline Tesler at the top:

“What kind of person the lawyer is matters equally as much as the power of the lawyer’s intellect”.

To be completely honest, I was in a bit of a hurry so I didn’t actually look up Pauline’s work before I used the quote.  Today I stumbled onto her website, recognised her name and read a few posts. Wow. It was like reading my thoughts, only expressed better by someone else. Pauline teaches Practical Neuro-Literacy programs to lawyers and other professionals and while I’m not even clear what this means…I needed to know about her work because:

I met a neuro-scientist on Saturday who consults to corporates on various ways of harnessing brain function that I didn’t have time to understand. I told him I want to find out about the application of his work to lawyers.  Crash, bam, boom, whoosh, the pieces fall into place. Watch this space for neuro-science and law!

I was particularly struck by some paragraphs on Pauline Tesler’s blog (the Integral Institute) which I shall paste below.  I cannot wait to learn more about her work and bring it to South Africa. The bits I’ve chosen to quote are not about her neuro work but about the essential humanity of lawyers. Beautifully written.

And yet I,  a lawyer, saw immediately how these practices and insights could help members of my own profession reclaim meaning and integration in our daily work with clients–serving them better, and at the same time taking better care of ourselves as human beings.  It seems to me that the profound organizing purpose that most of us in the legal profession discovered in our early years and that we carry forth in our work arises out of deeply held values of fairness and peace.  Yet as we learn to be lawyers, we are socialized to move away from important human qualities and behaviors that surely are central in helping our clients find fair resolution and peace.

To become lawyers, we have struggled to hone necessary skills and to become excellent at what we do.  Although most of us brought to the table a facility with language, argumentation and logic, nonetheless it came easily to none of us to “think like a lawyer,” the first hard lesson of a legal education.  Many of us have paid a steep price as we shaped ourselves to match the professional persona of a lawyer, pruning away what doesn’t match the official job description  (empathy is often one of the early casualties) and squeezing into the box inconvenient  human qualities (our own emotions, our own most accessible ways of apprehending reality) unrelated to legalistic deductive reasoning, so as to keep them unseen and under control.

Do we have to leave behind essential humanity to practice law?  I don’t think so.  But that’s what happens to us in law school and in our on the job experiences in court.  No wonder lawyers register so high in all the indicia of a profession in trouble:  drug abuse, alcoholism, major depression, suicide.  We tend not to want our children to follow in our footsteps, and perhaps this problem–the loss of intrinsic human meaning in our daily work–is the reason.

Long may this river run.