Why do we need the Integrative Law Institute?

Our adversarial “winner take all” legal system, rooted in medieval trial-by-combat and 18th century rationalism, often harms the physical and emotional health of those who take part in it, prolonging conflict and failing to achieve durable resolution for the disputants. Our courts operate based on beliefs that ignore current scientific understandings about how humans experience conflict and make choices, and the services lawyers and judges currently are taught to provide often work at cross purposes to biological and psychological facts about people in conflict. This poor fit between human needs and professional services wreaks particular destruction in families, where protracted divorce proceedings often destroy ex-spouses’ ability to cooperate in raising their children. Similar unintended harms abound in probate, employment, sexual harassment, medical malpractice, and other arenas of litigation.

ILI teaches lawyers and judges new and better ways to resolve conflict, heal breaches in the social fabric, and work effectively as our culture’s peacemakers. The methods taught by ILI integrate traditional practices, creative conflict resolution tools, and front-line research discoveries from the biological and social sciences.

What does ILI do?

Current programs include:

  • Educating law students—Creating a network of law faculty conversant with integrative legal conflict resolution. ILI’s residential programs for scholar-teachers offer a comprehensive integrative law curriculum that they can teach at their law schools. Online, Web-based resources will support a growing integrative network of integrative law faculty who can educate a new generation of law students in essential human conflict resolution concepts and skills.
  • Educating lawyers and judges—Providing high quality MCLE (mandatory continuing legal education) programming for practicing lawyers, lawyer-mediators, and judicial officers across the United States. These MCLE programs use multimedia resources to introduce practitioners to a broad range of integrative law skills and understandings needed for effective conflict resolution work with clients experiencing personal legal problems. This programming includes on-site, webinar, and online on-demand courses and workshops for MCLE credit and certification in Integrative Legal Conflict Resolution.
  • Helping lawyers reclaim professional vision and satisfaction—Offering weekend retreats for lawyers who are burnt out and disillusioned with the practice of law. ILI’s “Reclaiming Law” retreats, held in a breathtakingly beautiful natural setting, offer small group intimacy, values-based self-reflective engagement, intellectually rich content, and a concrete goal-setting component for personal and professional change. These retreats carry as many as 15 hours of MCLE credit (including ethics), and are designed to satisfy ILI’s requirements for certification in Integrative Legal Conflict Resolution.