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Associate Dean Susan L. Brooks Writes on Emerging Initiative in Relational Practices

Associate Dean Susan L. Brooks

January 26, 2018

A newly created American Bar Association task force has published an article by Professor Susan L. Brooks on applying relational practices in legal education.

In “Relational Practices for Legal Education,” Brooks outlines guiding principles for legal educators to foster “wholehearted” qualities in students, by promoting kindness, self-reflection and an ethic of care.

The article was published by the new Relational Practices Task Force, which the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution launched to encourage a shift from transactional to relational ethics in legal practice that will promote well-being for attorneys and their clients.  

The impetus for the task force came from a growing realization that traditional legal practice has led to adversarial and uncivil behavior, burnout, depression and alcoholism among lawyers. The task force aims to create momentum to promote greater self-awareness among attorneys and judges. The aim is to help practitioners care for themselves, thereby serving their clients more effectively.

Brooks, who is both an attorney and a social worker, is committed to promoting a sense of mutuality and connectedness that will enable students to serve as effective and healthy practitioners.

The associate dean of experiential learning, Brooks is an internationally recognized leader in incorporating hands-on learning in legal education.

Her recent scholarship includes articles such as “Using a Communication Perspective to Teach Relational Lawyering,” which appeared in the Nevada Law Journal, and “Designing a Clinic Model for a Restorative Community Justice Partnership,” (with Professor Rachel Lopéz) that appeared in the Washington University Journal of Law & Policy.