The second- and third-year students who signed up for “Well-Being and the Practice of Law” at Duke University School of Law this fall may be getting more than they bargained for. Four weeks in, they’ve already tackled Aristotle (as part of a consideration of the philosophical roots of happiness) and renowned psychologist Albert Maslow, the founder of “humanistic” psychology (in a review of pre-World War II scientific research on happiness).

Also on the syllabus: G.W. Allport’s “Personality: A Psychological Interpretation,” first published in 1937, plus several studies that examine lawyers and job satisfaction. By the end of the semester, the class will have plowed through several works by University of Pennsylvania professor Martin Seligman, the guru of positive psychology, as well as sections devoted to law as a profession, the different career paths available within the field and how law firms are run as businesses.

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