Rebellious Reflection: Supporting Community Lawyering Practice



This Article contends that lawyers who are trained in the skill of reflection are better equipped to engage in a social change-oriented approach to law practice called community lawyering. By conceptualizing reflection as a contemplative pedagogy, this Article will reveal a profound connection between community lawyering, reflection, and the contemplative law movement. The Article offers specific “rebellious” reflection-based pedagogies that can help practitioners and future lawyers: strengthen their capacity for deep self-awareness; interrogate the traditional lawyer-client relationship; sharpen their analysis of race, class, and power; and cultivate an understanding of how social change occurs. By presenting testimonials from new lawyers who have been trained in “rebellious reflection,” this Article underscores the potential of reflection to support a community lawyering practice rooted in self-awareness, compassion, and a commitment to working in solidarity with clients and communities in order to achieve transformative social change.

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Culture provides a foundation for the way we experience the world.[1] Rooted in traits such as ethnicity, race, religion, and gender identity, culture influences people’s values, behaviors, and beliefs.[2] Scholars have described culture as something akin to “the air we

This is a transcript of a speech by Vince Warren, Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR). The speech was originally delivered at the Bertha Justice Institute Social Justice Conference on June 6, 2014.