At a time when levels of unhappiness within the legal profession are running high, and litigants’ experiences with the legal system are often stressful and unpleasant, Suffolk University Law School will host a symposium to examine how legal practice and legal proceedings can be made psychologically healthier for all involved.

Therapeutic jurisprudence (TJ) is a school of legal thought that examines the mental health affects the legal system, legal practice and legal education. TJ has attracted the interest of practicing lawyers, judges, law professors, and law and graduate students.

The workshop will feature law professors from the U.S. and Canada presenting TJ perspectives on legal practice, including legal writing and drafting, appellate advocacy, and specific fields such as mental health law, criminal law, employment law, tort law, and trusts and estates law.

The symposium is sponsored by Suffolk Law's New Workplace Institute.

“Too many lawyers are stressed out in their practices, and too many members of the public have terrible experiences with our legal systems, even when they win,” said Suffolk Law Professor David Yamada, director of the New Workplace Institute and organizer of the conference. “Therapeutic jurisprudence is part of a solution that fosters psychologically healthier legal systems, legal results and lawyers.”

The symposium is designed for lawyers, law teachers and law students, but members of the public are invited as well.


10 a.m. —Welcome by Prof. David Yamada, Suffolk University Law School

10:15 a.m. — Panel 1: Applying to TJ to law teaching, legal writing, and drafting

Hon. Michael Jones, Arizona Summit Law School — “Teaching Therapeutic Jurisprudence”
Prof. Shelley Kierstead, York University, Osgoode Hall — “Legal Writing, TJ, and Professionalism”
Prof. Amy Ronner, St. Thomas University Law School — “Lessons from Bartleby the Scrivener for an Appellate Practice Clinic”
Prof. David Wexler, University of Puerto Rico School of Law – ”The Emotional and Legal Benefits of Reforming Legal Forms”
Discussant: Prof. Kathleen Elliott Vinson, Suffolk University Law School, and President, Association of Legal Writing Directors

Noon — Light Lunch and speaker Prof. David Wexler, TJ co-founder — “The Creation, Present, and Future of Therapeutic Jurisprudence”

1 p.m. — Panel 2: Applying TJ to legal practice areas

Prof. Mark Glover, University of Wyoming College of Law — “The Solemn Moment: Expanding Therapeutic Jurisprudence Throughout Estate Planning”
Prof. Michael Perlin, New York Law School — “’There’s a dyin’ voice within me reaching out somewhere’: How TJ can bring voice to the teaching of mental disability and criminal law”
Prof. Amanda Peters, South Texas College of Law — “TJ and Mental Health Courts”
Prof. Gabriel Teninbaum, Suffolk University Law School — “Putting Patients First in the Aftermath of Medical Malpractice”
Prof. David Yamada, Suffolk University Law School — “Employment Law, Stress, and Employee Well-Being”

2:30 p.m. —Closing remarks by Prof. David Yamada