Digital Conversations

1st June 2023 Innovation 2 pm

Social scientists say we are living in a VUCA world – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. Life is not normal (if it ever was).  As our circumstances change, what matters to us also diverges from established patterns. As values shift, the old mindsets don’t fit. There has been considerable research on how to educate lawyers for this modern world. Many studies have recommended a new pedagogy, even going so far as to recommend specific actions.  At Quinnipiac University School of Law in the United States, an innovative Dean and Assistant Dean have supported the creation of a course that incorporates the research along with some of the emerging trends of the legal profession.  In particular, the course was built upon an integrative law framework with innovations such as students being divided into weekly well-being teams and focusing many of the soft skills of legal practice. J. Kim Wright is one of the creators of the course and Rhiannon Thomas co-taught with Kim in Autumn, 2022.  Each semester is another adventure in learning, responding, and designing.  We’ll share that journey.


J. Kim Wright is a three-time American Bar Association author, co-creator of the Conscious Contracts process, and a central figure in the integrative law movement.  She is a Senior Fellow and co-founder of the Quinnipiac University Center on Dispute Resolution Project for Integrative Law in Legal Education where she teaches a year-long experiential course. The innovative course includes well-being mentorship and cutting-edge, evidence-based best practices in legal education. She has also been involved in the effort to bring integrative law to South Africa where it is taught in more than 8 law schools.  After fifteen years as a full-time digital nomad, Kim recently settled in North Carolina and practices integrative law.  For more information, see:

Kim is also the co-author: Teaching from the Integrative Paradigm: The Negotiation Clinic at Quinnipiac School of Law

Washington UniversityJournal of Law & Policy; Volume 70 • Issue 1 • 2023 • New Directions in Dispute Resolution and Clinical Education in the Post-Pandemic World

Rhiannon has over two decades of legal experience. She is a practising attorney, notary, conveyancer and administrator of deceased estates. She is also a values consultant and accredited Conscious Contracts® provider and trainer. She has developed and facilitated workshops on a wide range of topics from building an integrative legal practice to well-being for lawyers. A natural connector and networker, Rhiannon thrives on building relationships. She formed the integrative legal consultancy, Milkwood, in 2013. She is a fellow of the RSA. She works internationally and is based in Cape Town.

Claire Knighton

Programme Lead for the Bar Training Course (BTC) at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), qualified mediator and family barrister. Award winning lecturer. Lead for award winning course. HEA and PGCert HE.

Extensive experience teaching and developing the PG Bar Training Programmes, meeting the Bar Standards Boards (BSB) regulatory requirements.  Designed several ADR and family units including the innovative Professional Practice Unit on the BTC where wellbeing, professionalism and employability are embedded into the curriculum.

International experience as a visiting lecturer to Hong Kong Space University, University of West Bohemia Pilsen. Wider experience teaching on the LLB, LPC and LLM. Professional Engagement Lead and experienced personal tutor.

Presentation: Refocusing how we provide post graduate legal education – the experience of embedding directly into the curriculum wellbeing, professionalism and high standards.

Levels of competition at the Bar, both in practice and obtaining pupillage are widely recognised, and alongside this, corresponding levels of  stress and anxiety. This presentation will discuss the experience of developing and delivering a credit bearing module, innovative within post graduate legal training, that aims to support students in navigating this landscape. The module  aims to equip students with the tools to establish a professional career in this highly competitive market, by developing understanding and practices of wellbeing, which support study and establish the foundations for a thriving professional career. We will reflect on the development and design of the module, and practices developed through and on the module over three years on the Professional Practice Unit on the Bar Training Course.

Spring 2023 Digital Conversations

Please join us for the following digital conversations:

March 9th 09.30 GMT Dr Anthony Cullen will lead a panel discussion on contemplative practices

March 27th  13.00 GMT+1 Helgi Maki will discuss trauma- informed legal practice

April 27th  09.30 GMT +1 Dr Emma Jones and Professor Caroline Strevens will lead a discussion on international best practice guidelines for wellbeing in Law Schools presenting some analysis of their interviews with Law School Heads and Deans in the UK

Members will receive full details and invites with links to join via email. Non-members will need to register via this website or email us to take part.

We are also planning a session to talk about the Code of conduct changes in the UK that place a clarified duty on firms to address workplace culture and wellbeing.  If you would be interested in joining a panel we would like to hear from you.

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