The MILS Student Division is a network of mindfulness-based student organizations from law schools around the country. It seeks to improve the well-being of law students across the nation by promoting mindful and contemplative practices. MILS Student Division provides networking and resources to students, including a step-by-step guide to creating an on-campus MILS group at your school. Professor Charity Scott is that National Faculty Advisor for the Student Division. The MILS Student Division is run by founding National Student Chair Austin Charles (Georgia State Law) and Vice Chair Caroline Margaret Voldstad (Columbia Law).
Austin Charles, Chair
J.D. Candidate 2018
Georgia State College of Law
Austin Charles has practiced some form of meditation all his life. The son of a of two meditation instructors, he grew up in a home where contemplative practice was fostered. In high school, Charles trained diligently in Wing Chun Kung Fu and Ashtanga yoga. Both practices greatly increased his interest and passion for living mindfully. After high school he attended Furman University, an institution known for its robust Asian Studies program. At Furman, Charles taught weekly yoga classes for groups across campus. An Asian Studies and History double major, Charles concentrated his studies on the origins of eastern contemplative practices. He studied Chi Gong for two years under a distinguished professor and practitioner, then traveled to Japan to deepen his knowledge of the meditative practice. At the Georgia State College of Law, Charles found a kindred spirit in Professor Charity Scott. Professor Scott invited Charles to help her create a mindfulness program for law students. Seeing the success of this program, the pair decided to take the program national. The Mindfulness in Law Student Division now links together law professors and students with a passion for mindfulness across the country, and helps to further the development of new programs. After law school, Charles is interested in continuing his work as a mindfulness consultant for law firms and corporate entities.
J.D. Candidate 2016
Columbia Law School
Caroline Voldstad has been teaching yoga and meditation for almost a decade, primarily at schools, including College of the Holy Cross, Harvard, and Columbia. After studying Philosophy and Eastern Religions in College she went on to receive a master’s degree at Harvard Divinity School in which she deepened her studies of contemplative traditions. While there she also had the pleasure of teaching Mindfulness to elementary school children at the Cambridge Friends School. At Columbia Law, she is the founder and president of the Yoga Club and runs weekly mindfulness meditations.
Starting a Student Chapter
Creating a Mindfulness in Law Society chapter is much easier with support from your law schools’ administration. The links below offer guidance on how to approach your administration about starting a mindfulness program. Additional resources listed below provide studies and articles for why your administration or potential faculty advisers should support a Mindfulness in Law Society at your law school.
MILS encourages students to create an official organization within their university to promote administrative support and acquire funding for speakers and retreats. Often universities require new student organizations to create bylaws and a constitution. We have provided an easy template for you to write your own Mindfulness in Law Society chapter bylaws and constitution.
Universities also often ask for a statement of purpose, and this sample provides you with a starting point for how to draft your own statement of purpose.
This PowerPoint by Tulane Law Professor Pamela R. Metzger is an excellent resource to introduce the benefits of mindful practice to student groups and administration. The presentation includes a list of law schools with existing Mindfulness programs, law review articles discussing the benefits of mindfulness, and more.
This law review article by Shailini George offers a convincing explanation of why Mindfulness should be taught in law schools. If your administration is skeptical of the Mindfulness’ relevance for law students consider forwarding this article along with your student-organization proposal.
Example Student Chapter
Georgia State is based on a two pronged approach:
- Primarily the program consists of bringing in an outside MBSR certified instructor to teach a six-week MBSR based course. Students meet once a week during the lunch hour for an interactive lesson on mindful practice and opportunity to learn mindfulness techniques in a group setting. The student participants are encouraged to engage in mindful practice throughout the week and return ready to discuss their experience.
- GSU Law also hosts a Mindfulness in Law Society local chapter consisting of students who are deeply interested in exploring mindful practice. GSU’s MILS chapter meets once a week throughout the term for a brief meditation, brings in speakers from the Atlanta community, and hosts a daylong meditation retreat every semester.
The six-week course helps to generate interest in mindful practice at GSU Law and to teach its students the fundamental skills of mindful practice. The MILS Chapter helps to sustain that interest throughout the year.
MILS School Chapters
City University of New York School of Law
Contact: Victor Goode, firstname.lastname@example.org
Drexel University Kline School of Law
Contact: Lex Harris, email@example.com
Contact: Sai Kolluru
Georgia State University College of Law
Contact: Charity Scott, firstname.lastname@example.org
Harvard Law School
University of Miami School of Law
Contact: Scott Rogers, email@example.com