Instructor(s): Susan Brooks, Jeff Carolin

Course Location: Please see the "Intensive Course Schedule" under Schedules and Timetables (

This section of the course is for students studying remotely. This course will meet via audio-visual conference. To enrol in this course all students must meet or exceed the tech requirements for enrolment in University of Toronto courses, which can be found here [].

Note: Attendance at intensive courses is mandatory for the duration of the course.

This interactive, experiential, and reflective course is rooted in the belief, as stated by writer and activist Adrienne Maree Brown, that what we practice at the small scale sets the patterns for the whole system. Accordingly, this course is oriented to three overlapping spheres that we are constantly engaging in as legal professionals committed to social change: the personal; the interpersonal; and the systemic.

At the personal level, students will be invited to bring their whole selves into the classroom: their analytical abilities honed in other courses and all the other aspects of their identities – including  their questions and uncertainties about their own professional paths. They will be introduced to tools that can improve their self-awareness and wellness in a profession that is known for the toll it takes on mental health, and that can support them in visualizing a fulfilling career-ahead.

Turning to the interpersonal level, as legal professionals we are often engaged in conflict – whether it is formalized as litigation or develops informally in relationships with clients, colleagues, opposing counsel, etc. In this sphere, students will become aware of their communication and conflict styles, and will learn to work more compassionately and mindfully across differences of class, race, gender, sexual orientation, and ability with a trauma-informed approach. Students will also get to practice these skills through simulations.

Finally, at the systemic level, students will be introduced to alternative ways of conceptualizing the law – such as restorative & transformative justice, and conscious contracts – that fundamentally challenge the often invisible assumptions upon which areas such as criminal and contract law are based. In this sphere, we ask: what do our legal systems and processes look like if they are an extension of the core values we hold most dear?

60% for the paper and 40% for participation, and will be based on active and thoughtful class participation and multiple opportunities for structured reflection. The final assignment will be a substantial reflective analysis paper of 2,500 words. Papers must be delivered to the Records Office by 4:00 p.m. on February 1, 2021. This course will be graded credit/no credit.
Academic year
2020 - 2021

At a Glance

Second Term



20 JD


Via AV Conference:

Monday, January 4, 2020: 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Tuesday, January 5, 2020: 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Wednesday, January 6, 2020: 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Thursday, January 7, 2020: 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Friday, January 8, 2020: 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm