“Give light and people will find the way.”
— Ella Baker
Join 30 justice advocates and creative change-makers
for an exploration of love and justice at the third annual…
Law and Social Change Jam
July 25-30, 2017
The Watershed Center
Millerton, New York
“Hurt people hurt people,” as the old adage goes. This insight sheds light on so much in our legal system, and seems more relevant than ever in a fractured and hostile political climate. But we also believe that “healed people heal people.” As more legal professionals than ever are called into service to social transformation, we invite you to engage in the soul-making work of personal reflection, deep listening, and community building as a way to strengthen our collective capacity for the road ahead. How can we continue to transform ourselves, and the legal profession as a whole, as we work toward a more just and humane world? Join a growing community of legal practitioners as we explore ways to sow seeds for a more just, thoughtful, loving, inclusive, and healing legal system at the third annual Law and Social Change Jam.
Our Jam will bring together emerging and established leaders from across the legal profession for five days of personal inquiry, movement-building, and skill-sharing. Together, we’ll build bridges across our respective movements, explore how to care for ourselves and each other as part of a profession with such high rates of burnout, anxiety, and substance abuse, and reconnect with the roots of our personal passions for justice and healing.
Jam? What flavor of Jam?
A creative, live gathering of talented musicians who spontaneously create a new sound is called a jam. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This Jam will be a place where we will collectively make music with our passion, vision, openness, and courage. We’ll gather for five days of reflecting, connecting, growing, and learning together, within and throughout various law and social change movements. To date, more than 100 different kinds of Jams have been held on six continents, bringing together intergenerational leaders from more than 85 nations.
So… what are we going to do?
This is not a conference, seminar, retreat, or typical meeting. The facilitation team offers a process–a way of being together–rather than planning specific content. It is each of our individual experiences, questions and sticking points that become the content. We’ll take all of your applications, put them in a big pot, stir them around, and come up with a flow of facilitated activities that will take place each morning, afternoon, and evening–with lots of down time between each session for rest, and thought, and spontaneity. Through this process there will be multiple opportunities for deep, holistic exploration, in which each person will have something to offer and something to receive. We will spend time in circle, sharing stories, making art, playing games, moving, engaging in challenging and generative conversations, and being outside on the beautiful Watershed land.
Throughout all of our work and play together we’ll be addressing three interconnected levels of transformation: the internal, the interpersonal, and the systems level. We’ll get a chance to take stock of what’s important in our lives and work, see things from new perspectives, align our vision and values, face our fears, and overcome our blocks. We’ll work to heal ourselves so that we can help to heal the relationships and systems around us. And we’ll find new friends and partners in our journey.
Yeah! The Law and Social Change Jam will bring together 30 passionate, dynamic change-makers from diverse regions and backgrounds. The Jam will include lawyers, legal workers, law professors, conflict resolution professionals, law students, community organizers, advocates, and restorative justice practitioners from a spectrum of identities and worldviews (class, ethnicity, race, religion, gender identity, sexuality, age, ability, etc.). If you are looking to make justice more just and accessible, if you are open to learning from people different from you, if you are willing to push the edges of your comfort zone, then this gathering is for you.
Sweet! Now What?
To keep the Jam intimate and participatory, we have a limited number of places available.
Tuition to participate in the Jam is offered on a sliding scale of $450 – $1100. The actual cost of participation is $950, of which $500 covers your food and lodging costs at the The Watershed Centre for five nights, and $450 covers program costs, which includes organizing time, honoraria for facilitators, supplies and materials. We invite you to give what you can and to give generously as tuition costs provide our vendors and facilitators with equitable compensation, and any surplus supports partial scholarships for other participants. If you pay more than the at-cost $950 amount for tuition, that extra amount is tax-deductible. Note: this tuition does not include travel to The Watershed Centre, but we can help with rides to and from the local airports/train stations.
Money should never be a reason to not apply: partial scholarships are available on a limited and first-come, first-serve basis. We also invite work trades and monthly payment plans. We aim to figure out with each applicant the right combination of tuition, work trade and scholarship that can work for you. However, nothing happens without an application first. Remember, the sooner you apply, the better your chances are of receiving a partial scholarship if you need one.
Children are also more than welcome to come to the Jam — we love families being at the Jam together — and we will work out specific childcare plans with familes as needed.
And for Law and Social Change Jam alumni from 2015 and 2016, who want to come back, please let us know and we’ll send you a separate registration process.
“No real social change has ever been brought about without a revolution… revolution is but thought carried into action."
— Emma Goldman
Who Is The “We” Behind the Invitation?
We are a diverse group of independent legal professionals and facilitators, called to come together around the theme of law and social change. Each of us is engaged in our own projects outside this Jam, with particular interests in: mindful lawyering, restorative justice, solidarity economies law, racial justice and social equity, collaborative law, criminal and eviction defense, collaborative law, movement/community lawyering, among many more.
The organizers and facilitators of the Law and Social Change Jam are:
Chris Tittle is passionate about cultivating more democratic and place-based models for building community resilience. As a deep ecologist, barefoot lawyer-in-training, and economic justice activist, he currently serves as the Director of Organizational Resilience with the Sustainable Economies Law Center, a democratically-run nonprofit in Oakland, CA creating a new legal landscape that supports grassroots economic empowerment. At SELC, his work focuses on legal and governance structures for community control of housing, land, food, energy, and other aspects of thriving self-determined communities. As an advocate of self-directed (and debt-free) education, he is also training to become a lawyer through the California Law Office Study program, a practice-based alternative to law school, and is co-founder of the Association of Legal Apprentices. Chris completed an MA in Economics for Transition at Schumacher College (UK), where his dissertation explored permaculture and a Rights of Nature framework as more culturally-appropriate and transformative responses to climate change adaptation in the Global South. He has worked with youth in the South Bronx, taught English in Japan, and explored mystical Islam in Senegal. Once, on a whim, he traversed 3/4 of the globe without stepping foot on a plane.
Shilpa Jain is currently rooting herself in Oakland/Berkeley, CA, where she serves as the Executive Director of YES!. YES! works with social changemakers at the meeting point of internal, interpersonal and systemic change, and aims to co-create a thriving, just and balanced world for all. Prior to taking on this role, Shilpa spent two years as the Education and Outreach Coordinator of Other Worlds and ten years as a learning activist with Shikshantar: The Peoples Institute for Rethinking Education and Development, based in Udaipur, India, where she served as coordinator of the Swapathgami (Walkouts-Walkons) Network. She has researched and written numerous books and articles and facilitated dozens of transformative leadership gatherings with hundreds of young leaders from over 50 countries. She is passionate about dance and music, organic and natural farming, upcycling and zero waste living, asking appreciative questions and being in community. Shilpa serves on the Board of Other Worlds and the BK Foundation. Though she is not a lawyer herself, she has acquired quite a bit of legal education via excellent TV shows.
Judi Cohen practiced law for thirty years and has been teaching law since 2000. She began practicing yoga in 1989, and, in 1993, took an intensive mindfulness course and began an inquiry into how mindfulness could help heal the law. She has participated in mindfulness workshops and retreats as a student and teacher, including over 100 days of silent practice, looking into this and other inquiries around mindfulness and law. In 2009, Judi decided to take action. She founded Warrior One and created Essential Mindfulness for Lawyers (EML), Warrior One’s curriculum of mindfulness programs designed specifically for the legal mind, to help lawyers and other legal professionals cultivate greater wisdom and compassion for themselves, their clients, the profession, and society. She now dedicates her efforts to bringing EML to the profession, and to students at Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. Judi also co-created and co-teaches in Warrior One’s Mindfulness in Law Teacher Training program, for lawyers and conflict professionals interested in gaining the confidence and skill to bring mindfulness into their firms, organizations, communities, and law schools.
Jeff Carolin is a criminal defence and tenant lawyer in Toronto, Canada. His practice is primarily aimed at serving those people who can’t pay for a lawyer out of pocket. Before setting up his own shop, Jeff had the opportunity to work at three legal outfits that all dedicate their legal expertise to some kind of socially just outcome: Pivot Legal Society in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, a community legal clinic called Parkdale Community Legal Services in Toronto, and at the downtown Toronto public interest civil litigation firm of Klippensteins Barristers & Solicitors. When Jeff is successful at not letting casework overwhelm the rest of his life, he pitches in with a grassroots group called CLAY (Collaborative Legal Play) which supports community groups through a combination of creative facilitation (including theatre) and legal knowledge where necessary. He’s also a member of the Law Union of Ontario. Previous to entering the whole law world, Jeff was involved with solidarity projects in Bolivia and Guatemala. Jeff wants to know to how to achieve horizontal and vertical alignment as a practicing lawyer; the trickiest part so far is figuring out what that those words even mean. He’s also currently fascinated by the way that his tiny little daughter is teaching him a whole new understanding of the concept of vulnerability.
Parag Rajendra Khandhar is a principal in the solidarity economies law firm Gilmore Khandhar, LLC, a co-founder of both the Baltimore Activating Solidarity Economies (BASE), and the Asian American Solidarity Economies Network. Each is dedicated to building a resilient, radically inclusive economy centering upon principles of race and social equity, sustainability, and valuing people and the planet over profit. He is a law school clinical educator, currently teaching in the Small Business and Community Economic Development Clinic at George Washington University Law School. He has worked over the past 20 years in NYC, DC, and Baltimore with communities in direct and emergency relief services after September 11th, data advocacy, technical assistance, as a community lawyer focused on tenants’ rights and language access, and now as a solidarity economies practitioner. He is currently fascinated by Black food sovereignty movements, community arts practice, and haiku. He’s also the proud co-parent of a dynamic 6+ year old.
Susan Brooks teaches and also oversees experiential and public service opportunities at the Kline Law School (Drexel University) in Philadelphia. Her teaching includes Family Law as well as innovative courses focusing on holistic representation, professional identity formation, reflective practice, effective communication, and access to justice. Susan has helped to create many community partnerships where law students receive intensive training and mentorship while providing pro bono legal services. She also helped establish a vibrant community-based legal clinic in West Philadelphia. Susan has a background in social work before attending law school, and has devoted much of her legal career to importing principles and practices from the field of social work into law. She has written extensively and has conducted workshops across the US and in several other countries to promote and help cultivate a relational approach to the law and legal practice.
We are excited to see your application soon!
If you have any questions about the Law and Social Change Jam, please reach us at lawandsocialchangejam[at]gmail.com
We are looking forward to Jamming with you!
Chris, Parag, Judi, Jeff, Susan and Shilpa
Voices of YES! Law Jam Alumni
“I will hold this experience near and dear in the long time coming–offering us a unique place to connect deeply with ourselves, each other, and the greater purpose we are working so hard to serve. To call this a conference would be a disservice. I will return home inspired in my own truth with resources to tap into when doubt arises. It is a great honor to be in the presence of my colleagues here. To witness their stories and celebrate their excellence has brought me joy, a sense of being known, and new friends who I admire and care for. Thank you for allowing this to be real and for all the energy and creativity you have shared. This was a meaningful time spent together.”
– Kristin Scheel, 36, Attorney, Austin, Texas
“I truly felt both the safety and support during the Jam to explore myself in deep, spiritual ways that are certainly not covered in other “professional development” trainings or retreats but are the underpinnings of my leadership style and values. Great opportunity to go inward and step back from the move forward, action-oriented social justice work I do. Thanks for lifting up my value and identity as a human BEING vs. a human doing.”
— Helen, Former Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Atlanta
“This was a well-organized and gracefully facilitated journey of exploration–exploring personal and professional vision, values, and expansive possibilities. The experience was more than just a facilitated set of meetings–it was a harnessing of the collected and collective wisdom brought together by and from the participants as well as facilitators. Well worth the time and expense to attend.”
— L. Alvarez, attorney licensed in TX and CA, practicing 18 years
“We have spent days together existing on levels I am used to living on by myself, or at least that is how I typically feel. We have conversed about topics as diverse as our ages, ethnicities, backgrounds and interests–all in the name of self-care and JUSTICE… we have played, we have analyzed, we have offered our hearts and minds to one another and it seems have each grown. We have also grown into a community at the same time. What a gift…”
— anonymous, Law and Social Change Jam 2015 participant