The founding director of the Integrative Law Institute is Pauline Tesler, a graduate of Harvard University, the Victoria University of Manchester (England), and the
University of Wisconsin Law School. After law school she joined the National Center for Youth Law in San Francisco, conducting class actions, major impact litigation and test case appeals on behalf of impoverished children and youth.
After federally funded law reform centers like the National Center for Youth Law were defunded in the late 1970's, Pauline became a partner in the first all-women law firm in Northern California, subsequently starting her own law practice. In addition to her practice as a certified family law specialist, she worked as a pioneering change agent within the legal profession for more than twenty-five years, teaching new ways of resolving interpersonal conflicts to lawyers in more than eleven nations, and writing books that remain indispensable conflict resolution classics, before founding the nonprofit Integrative Law Institute.
In recognition for that work, she received the first “Lawyer as Problem Solver” award from the American Bar Association in 2002. In 2008, Pauline began teaching lawyers a groundbreaking course she developed with psychiatrist Thomas B. Lewis, M.D. entitled “NeuroLiteracy 101: Law and the Human Brain for Lawyers, Mediators, and Judicial Officers.” This was the genesis of Pauline’s current work helping to build the broad change movement called Integrative Law.
Pauline wrote the first book for lawyers about Collaborative Divorce, published by the American Bar Association (which some collaborative lawyers refer to as their "bible"), and the first book for general readers about interdisciplinary team Collaborative Divorce with clinical psychologist Peggy Thompson, Ph.D. In addition to her many articles and book chapters that are widely read and cited by scholars, she produced the "Hal and Elaine" training video which is used by collaborative colleagues around the world.