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R. Lisle Baker


Member profile details

First name
R. Lisle
Last name

Personal information

R. Lisle Baker is a professor of law at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, where he teaches upper level courses in Positive Psychology for Lawyers, Character and Fitness for Professional Success, Law Practice Planning: Law as a Career and an Enterprise, and a new first year course, Preparing for Professional Success, drawing on material in the upper level courses. He has written or co-authored articles on such topics as resilience, exercise, delivering bad news well, integrating insights from positive psychology into legal education, designing a positive psychology course for lawyers, and learning how to pay attention. He is an honors graduate of Williams College and Harvard Law School, where he was a member of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. In 2016, he earned a Master of Applied Positive Psychology degree from the University of Pennsylvania. At Suffolk Law School, he has convened a conference in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 titled Integrating Positive Psychology into Legal Education. Before joining the Suffolk Law faculty in 1973, he practiced with the Boston firm of Hill & Barlow, and argued public policy as a regular participant in the first season of the public television series, The Advocates. He is now in his fortieth year as an elected city councilor in Newton, Massachusetts, including six years as President of the city council.

Professional Information

Suffolk University Law School, Boston, MA;; City of Newton, MA
Job title
Professor of Law; Ward Councilor, Ward Seven, City of Newton
Primary Focus
Applying positive psychology to enable law students to develop greater capacity to take effective care of themselves; then extend that circle of effective care to their future clients and colleagues, as well as to the communities of which they will be a part.
Primary Focus Details
I wrote my capstone on designing a positive psychology course for lawyers, a process that is still ongoing as I work with students to make my varied courses helpful to their well-being as well as their professional development.
Professional Area
  • Law
Active Professional Interests
  • Government & Policy
  • Law
Fluent in Languages
  • English
Applied Positive Psychology through the Kripalu and the Whole Being Institute (2014)


Degrees Before MAPP
A.B. Williams College, 1964; LL.B. Harvard Law School, 1968

Speaking Experience

Interested in Speaking Referrals
Speaking Topics
Positive Psychology and Legal Education
Experience speaking to large audiences


Capstone title and abstract
Designing a Positive Psychology Course for Lawyers

Legal education is slowly beginning to change to include not only education in critical thinking and legal knowledge, but also education in complementary qualities of personal conduct and early professional formation. With its emphasis on evidenced based inquiry, the discipline of positive psychology can aid these additional educational objectives. This paper examines some of the ongoing pedagogical choices involved in creating a law school course in positive psychology oriented around experiential learning about a few key insights of the field, including resilience, character strengths, positive values and enhanced relationships with other people. While only an introduction, the course is designed to help the law students be well-enough grounded to continue their education after law school. Because the course is experimental, the hope is that it will lay the foundation for initiatives by other law professors to make such insights more broadly available to law students in general.

Contact data

MAPP Geography
  • USA - New England

MAPP Information

MAPP Graduation Year
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