I had the privilege of spending three days in San Juan, Puerto Rico, participating in a workshop sponsored by the International Network on Therapeutic Jurisprudence and the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) School of Law. In addition to being treated to the lovely weather and island hospitality, I enjoyed hours of engaging conversations with a marvelous group of scholars and legal educators from around the world.
As I’ve written on numerous occasions, therapeutic jurisprudence (TJ) is a theoretical framework that examines the therapeutic and anti-therapeutic properties of the law, legal practice, and legal education. As I see it, TJ’s implicit policy objective is that our laws and legal systems should promote psychologically healthy outcomes whenever feasible. Several years ago I discovered the TJ community as a result of the work I’ve been doing on workplace bullying and employment law & policy generally, and I have found it to be a humane and open-minded “home” for my research, writing, and public education activities.
The workshop was hosted by TJ co-founder and UPR law professor David Wexler, who invited a small group of law professors and scholars from around the world to share their work and ideas in a more informal, workshop-style setting.
Our discussions covered a span of rich and interesting topics. They included criminal justice, sexual violence, personal injury law, family law, legal education, legal scholarship, mental health law, employment law, and human rights.
As I listened to my colleagues and participated in the discussion, I realized how TJ resonates with me in ways that no other legal theory can match. After all, shouldn’t the law and lawyers aspire to prevent disputes, resolve disputes fairly and with minimal rancor, encourage healthy and harmonious relationships in society, and provide people with peace of mind?
In addition to David Wexler and other colleagues from UPR, participants included (in random order) Shelley Kierstead (Canada), Martine Herzog-Evans (France), Erin Mackay (Australia), Daniel Pulcherio Fensterseifer (Brazil), Doron Shultziner (Israel), Hadar Dancig-Rosenberg (Israel), Arno Akkermans (Netherlands), Luz Mary Parra Nino (Columbia), Susan Daicoff (U.S.), Masha Antokolskaia (Netherlands), Michael Jones (U.S.), and Michael Perlin (U.S.).
Also, many thanks to the faculty, administration, staff, and students of the University of Puerto Rico School of Law — especially Dean Vivian Neptune Rivera, Professor Ana Cristina Gómez Pérez, and law student/conference assistant Samira Yassin Hernández — for extending such a warm welcome.