History of the Comprehensive Law Movement and Holistic Law

Healing Stones
The Comprehensive Law Movement developed in the last decade of the twentieth century. This movement comprises developments in Therapeutic Jurisprudence, Preventive Law, Procedural Justice, Creative Problem-Solving, Holistic Law, Collaborative Law, Transformative Mediation, Restorative Justice and Problem-Solving Courts. Holistic Law seeks to enable lawyers to practice law as a healthy, healing profession--one in which the lawyer finds fulfilling and rewarding and that the client finds beneficial and therapeutic. Both the client and attorney recapture the moral vision of the practice of law and focus on the humanistic component of the practice of law.

Below is a brief timeline of some of the developments of this movement, as well as the contributors that first shed light on this innovative method of practice.


  • 1955:

  • Erwin Griswold, former dean of Harvard Law School, called upon the bar and legal academy to recognize the need for human relations training in law school

  • 1957-58:

  • Professor Howard Sacks offered an experimental human relations course at Northwestern Law School called Professional Relations. It was the first course to apply human relations training to lawyers

  • 1958:

  • Professor Andrew Watson, a psychiatrist who later held a joint appointment at the University of Michigan law and medical schools, published numerous articles and books, urging legal educators to incorporate basic psychiatric principles into legal education.

  • 1964:

  • Cornell Law Professor Harrop Freeman published the first course book devoted to the techniques and psychology of interviewing and counseling clients

  • 1971:

  • Professor of Law and Psychiatry, Alan Stone, wrote a law review article lamenting that law schools have largely ignored the responsibility of teaching, interviewing, counseling, negotiating and other human relations skills

  • 1983:

  • Professor Elkins of the West Virginia University College of Law argued for the revitalization of a humanistic perspective in legal education

  • Late 1970s and early 1980s:

  • Law and humanism movement gained momentum

  • 1981:

  • Movement achieved its apex with the publication of Becoming a Lawyer: A Humanistic Perspective on Legal Education and Professionalism, which called for a more value-focused legal education

  • 1980s:

  • Societal disillusionment with the materialistic, egocentricism of the 1980s may have paved the way for the burgeoning of developments of the Comprehensive Law Movement (marriage of Preventive Law model, which focused on proactive counseling to avoid future legal problems and Therapeutic Jurisprudence, which is grounded in the notion that law and legal actors cause outcomes that may be either therapeutic or anti-therapeutic.

#comprehensivelawmovement #therapeuticjurisprudence #preventivelaw #proceduraljustice #creativeproblemsolving #holisticlaw #collaborativelaw #transformativemediation #restorativejustice #problemsolvingcourts #erwingriswold #howardsacks #andrewwatson #harropfreeman #alanstone

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
No tags yet.
Follow Us
  • Facebook Black Square
  • Twitter Black Square
  • Google+ Black Square