We are definitely not alone
Since my last blog, we've put thousands of miles on the Honda CRV and we've gone through several boxes of blank tapes. With interviews in South Florida, Tennessee, and Texas, we've come close to doubling our video inventory. I'm so excited about our latest interviews that I wish I could twitch my nose and get them on the site immediately.
From Florida: TJ leader Bruce Winick, several very inspiring and pioneering problem-solving courts judges, and Scott Rogers on mindfulness.
In Nashville, we interviewed out-going Vanderbilt Law Dean Ed Rubin who talked to us about the history of legal education and some of the reforms he'd undertaken at Vandy. We also interviewed Assistant Dean of Students, Julie Sandine; Professor Josh Perry; and a recent graduate, Meredith Blount, who started an organization on law student well-being and is planning a conference on the topic.
Dave Shearon, director of Tennessee's CLE program, also has a Masters in Positive Psychology. His interview is rich with information on why positive psychology works and how to apply it to law. We discovered we have some overlapping ideas about what is next in the legal profession and explored ways of working together.
In Montgomery, Alabama, we had the privilege of sitting with Judge Tracey McCooey, my current favorite interview of all of them. Judge McCooey went to law school because she wanted to be an FBI agent. Fourteen weeks into training, she lost her sight and was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and left the FBI to work in the prosecutor's office. Her sight did return but she has some other issues with the MS. They don't slow her down. She has conducted almost two dozen victim-offender dialogs, runs a drug court, a mental health court, a community service program. AND she does most of this in her "spare" time with little funding while maintaining a regular calendar in civil and criminal. I especially liked that she quilts with her drug court defendants EVERY Saturday morning.
Then there was Texas. They do everything bigger in Texas, including collaborative law and restorative justice. In Dallas, we interviewed some of the leaders in the collaborative law movement. Kevin Fuller, a leading family lawyer in the state, talks about collaborative law as the fulfillment of why he went to law school - to save the world. Linda Solomon and Vicky James talk about coaching. The Civil Collaborative leaders weigh in on their work. Karla Garrett talks about radical forgiveness. And we learned about a new project in Dallas, using collaborative teams in cases where children have been removed from their parents.
THEN we were off to Austin to interview Mark Perlmutter, a civil litigator whose guiding principle is love, then to San Antonio for the international restorative justice conference. We interviewed Dan Van Ness, leader of Prison Fellowship International; Janine Geske, the state Supreme Court Justice turned RJ advocate; Professors Stan Basler and Jennifer Llewellyn, and the ever-charming Randy Langford who just graduated from law school and introduced the principles of RJ into the law school curriculum such that it is now a cornerstone.
Overwhelmed yet? Or inspired? We're constantly bouncing between them. This movement is much larger than we ever knew and more broad-based than any of us believed. In each town where we interview someone, we decline to interview a dozen or more who could be very appropriate examples. Each interview reminds us of why we are doing this work, the importance of sharing the stories.
In the last ten years, I've often heard lawyers who thought they were alone, that no one else was thinking these ideas. They try to blend in, be like the other lawyers, but they know in their hearts that they're not. This site, these interviews, this community proves we are definitely not alone.