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Law and Social Change Jam 2018

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“Justice is what love looks like in public.” – Dr. Cornel West

Join 30 advocates for an exploration of

love, justice, healing, and the law at the fourth annual…

Law & Social Change Jam

July 25-29, 2018

River’s Bend Retreat Center

Ukiah, California

“Hurt people hurt people,” as the old adage goes. This insight sheds light on our legal and political institutions, how we treat each other within these institutions, and the impact this is having on individuals, communities, and broader society. It also seems more relevant than ever in our fractured and hostile world.


We also believe that “healed–or healing–people heal people.” As more and more legal professionals are called into the service of social transformation, we invite you to engage in the soul-making and healing work of personal reflection, deep listening, and community-building as a way to strengthen our collective capacity for the work we are doing now, and the road ahead.


We invite you to come seeking common ground, while acknowledging the importance of difference; to arrive with openness and curiosity, while acknowledging that this can be hard; and to be ready to tune in more to the wisdom of the heart, body, and soul, and less to the analytical mind. We invite you to bring all of who you are, to see the whole in everyone else, and as a collective, to explore how we are walking similar, parallel, and diverging paths towards a better future.


Throughout our time together, we’ll share where we are at in our lives and work, and reflect on whether that place still serves us, the people we work with and care about, and the world. We’ll also explore how to care for ourselves and each other in a profession infused by burnout, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and suicide.


And we’ll engage, create, tangle & untangle, challenge & be challenged, struggle, and dream, in ways we can’t even predict.


Come join a growing community of law jammers who are building a more just, loving, inclusive, mindful, and healing legal system and world, at the fourth annual Law and Social Change Jam.


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 four days of reflecting, connecting, growing, and learning together, across a wide variety of connections to law, social change, and social justice. To date, more than 135 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.


Instead, we draw from all of your applications and the inquiries alive in each of us, 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, reflection, 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 in nature.


Our facilitators are participants as well; they don’t have all the answers (or maybe any of them!) and don’t prepare a bunch of specific substantive content. What they do offer are a variety of ways for each of us to arrive at our own answers–and new questions too! We’ll use a number of processes and tools, and experiment with different ways of being together, all aimed at strengthening our self-awareness, our ability to communicate and work through conflicts, our ability to vision, and also to put these pieces together. We see the Jam as a co-learning journey of the individuals’ and collective’s experiences, questions, powers, differences, and more.


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 people 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 alive and accessible, if you feel called to learn 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?

Apply today!

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 $500 – $1100. The actual cost of participation is $950, of which $475 covers your food and lodging costs at River’s Bend for four nights, and $475 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 River’s Bend, but we can help with rides to and from the local airports and Bay Area locations.


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. The sooner you apply, the sooner we can figure out with you a plan that works and 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 will work out specific childcare plans with you, after getting a clearer sense of the needs of your family.


And for Law and Social Change Jam alumni who want to come back, please let us know and we’ll send you a separate registration process.

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, movement/ community lawyering, among many more.

The organizers and facilitators of the Law and Social Change Jam are:

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, most recently 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 has spent much of that time seeking and making Asian America, his beloved and fractured archipelago nation on street corners, in living rooms, DIY spaces, and in the dreams of his collaborators and community artists. He’s also the proud co-parent of a dynamic elementary school wizard.


Judi Cohen is a member of the tribes of the lawyers, Buddhists, and Jews. She is a lecturer at Boalt Hall (Berkeley Law), where she teaches Mindfulness for Lawyers, and founded Warrior One, which offers mindfulness training to help relieve some of the suffering in the law, and that the law knowingly and unknowingly perpetuates in society. Her programs integrate traditional mindfulness, cutting-edge neuroscience, and the psychology of the legal mind. Judi leads two ongoing sitting group: The Wake Up Call, Warrior One’s weekly, 20-minute online gathering of legal professionals bringing mindfulness solutions into the law, and the Sonoma Sangha. She also offers leadership in the national mindfulness-in-law movement as a founding director and chair of the Teachers Division of the Mindfulness in Law Society. Judi has been studying and practicing mindfulness meditation and yoga since 1988, and tries to remember to sit and do at least one down-dog every day. She lives in rural Sonoma where she shares land with the turkeys, peahens, coyotes, deer, skunk, doves, hawks, mice, and her loving and ever-evolving human family.


As an inspirational force and dynamic educator, Kim Clark, Juris Doctor, brings a new approach to critical race theory, spirituality and social transformation.  Her paper “Critical Race Theory, Transformation and Praxis.” Sw. L. Rev. 45 (2015): 795, tells of how she developed her method while a Changemaker Research Fellow at Pacific School of Religion, an Ashoka Changemaker University campus.  Kim engages audiences with energetic workshops where she shares her methodology with legal and social change organizations seeking broader support for their legal social justice goals while staying true to their highest human potential.  Her work has emerged from years of engagement with spiritual communities and practices and from her commitment to social justice.  Kim invites her audience to grapple with the intricacies of injustice with its intellectual and emotional complexities and their interplay with the transdisciplinarity of race, sexual orientation, class, and spirituality.  As a social entrepreneur with solutions to social problems and who seeks to make large-scale changes to society, Kim collaboratively assesses the possibility and design of critical alliances.  As a leader in social innovation and changemaking in higher education, she creates a unity of natural, social and health sciences in a humanities context, to create an approach to solving systemic and institutional global inequity.  She also teaches a series of courses at JFK University School of Law highlighting the intersectionality of law and spirituality.  


Chris Tittle is passionate about cultivating more democratic and equitable models of community resilience. As a deep ecologist 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 community-controlled local economies. 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 also trained 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 organizes with the Economic Development without Displacement Coalition in Oakland, CA, serves on the board of Oakland Communities United for Equity and Justice, and works in solidarity with indigenous leaders through the Defenders of Mother Earth-Huichin coalition.  Once, on a whim, he traversed 3/4 of the globe without stepping foot on a plane.


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.  


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 has not trained as lawyer, though she did consider it for awhile; her grandfather was one and she has married into a family of lawyers.  She has also received a copious amount of legal education through TV shows and movies.


Jeff Carolin is a criminal defense and eviction defense lawyer living in Toronto, Canada. He represents people who face multiple barriers to finding stability in their lives–and who often end up incarcerated and/or homeless as a result. And then, when he gets the chance, he loves to sit in circles. Hence the jam. But it’s more than just the circles. For Jeff, exploring the theatre of the oppressed and participatory community organizing traditions and attending jams has been a key part of discovering how he can–in this life, with this body, and with his experiences–engage around complex issues of racism, colonialism, inequality, and other forms of systemic oppression, without this work leading to further division, burnout, and in-fighting among people who are trying to build something new together. Seeking common ground while always acknowledging the importance of difference, starting from a place of openness and caring, and tuning in to the body’s knowledge a little more and the analytical mind a little less, have all been practices that he has continued to hone through jam circles–and are practices that he tries to introduce in all facets of his life (with loved ones, clients, opposing counsel, and the people all squished together on Toronto’s subways). For a more facts and figures perspective: you can check out jeffcarolinlaw.ca.


“No real social change has ever been brought about without a revolution…
revolution is but thought carried into action.”  
— Emma Goldman


Voices of YES! Law Jam Alumni

“My love affair started when I read the application questions. I knew I at least wanted to learn from the facilitators. I also trusted the people chosen to come would be just as amazing. It was truly amazing to meet 20 wonderful souls. People invested in making the world a better place. People invested in their own healing and supporting the healing in others.”

– Saj Rahman, 36, Program Director, Institute for Transformative Mentoring, New York

“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, TX

“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

“The Jam was an incredible space to connect, to look within, to be challenged and to share LOVE. I know it has changed me in ways yet to be realized, and I look forward to experiencing how it unfolds, shows up, and challenges me to keep growing, keep LOVING in the years to come. It has also enabled me to embrace being an Elder.”

– Marjorie Silver, almost 70!, Professor of Law, Touro Law Center, New York

“Thank you for busting through stigma and showing that love awaits on the other side.”

— Susannah Dainow, Public Interest Employment Law

“I have learned, observed, embodied practices of listening + holding space for the circle/community that will deepen my engagement with activism. I thank you for this gift.”

– Chaumtoli Huq, Editor, Law@theMargins, New York City

“Thank you for reflecting back the values I hold most dear and my place in the movement(s) to build beloved community and collective liberation.”

– Holly Beck, 35, Public Defender, New York City

“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, Licensed in TX and CA, practicing 18 years

“Thank you for making me see so clearly that from within myself I can find all that I need to be free and to change the world.”

– Vibhu Sharma, 30, Lawyer, Toronto

“You launched me into the broader community and all its pain and complexity. Challenged me to stretch into the reality beyond my own little world, to confront the things [from] which my privilege normally affords me protection. I had not anticipated this…”

– Jesse, 28, Labour Lawyer, Toronto