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So, where do I begin? It was a dark and stormy night … So, basically I went to law school, I had a very traditional law school background, education. I went to UC Berkeley. I came out, and I clerked for a judge for a year. Sat in court every day, right? At a little table, beneath the judge.

So I saw a lot of cases. I saw a lot of things going on in court, and I thought, “Ah, maybe I don’t want to be a litigator.” It was kind of shocking to me, because that … When I was 21, 22, just got out of law school.

And people were kind of making it up a little bit. They were telling stories about what happened, and you couldn’t really tell what happened. I saw both the civil and criminal side. And so I thought, “I don’t know if this is really about truth, but it’s very interesting.” You know, because there’s the truth, and there’s how a case gets positioned for trial.

And so, I thought, “You know these stories are interesting“, and I thought, “But where’s the emotional component of this? It’s all about the law and the evidence.” So that’s what we’re trained to do, and the judge says to the jury …

How many people have been served on a jury? Just Anybody? Just one person? How’d you all get out of it? You have a secret?

You’ve never been summoned?


Knock on formica. So, well, if you ever serve on a jury, they’ll tell you, you know, you have to pay attention to the law, and the evidence. Do not be swayed by sympathy, right?

So now, we’re … This is nursing school, right?


So, you know, obviously there’s a lot about empathy and compassion, and care-giving, and sensitivity to people. And so, you know, none of that was part of my training. It was like … Even back to law school, like, “This disaster happened.

It was a horrible disaster, you know, a plane blows up, and it’s like your basic action movie. And so one person’s from Minnesota, and somebody else died, and they’re in Ohio, and the plane was over the Atlantic. And a lawsuit is brought in California, and the lawyers are in New York. Which state has jurisdiction over this accident? I mean, it was all about the issues.

So, you know, that’s what we do as lawyers. It’s a great skill. We can use our rational minds, and find out the issues, and then apply and analyze, and figure out hopefully a just conclusion.

But when I was the law clerk, and I was fresh out, I thought, “Yeah, but what about the other component of this?” You know it’s all very cut and dried, and there’s truth and there’s the justice system. So, I don’t know if this is everybody’s message. If I was running for President, I’d probably give you a different message. Truth, justice and the American way.

But I thought, “There’s something missing here.” So I went off, and I studied creative writing. I started writing stories about my clerkship, and the stories were more interesting than the legal nuggets of every case. So I ended up doing a program in creative writing.

And, basically, while I was there, I started meditating, and I was up at like four in the morning, getting all creative, and writing my stories. So I was in a totally different world than back in law school. So I got very interested in the mind, and the unconscious, and hypnotherapy. And then I got interested in healing, energy healing.

So, clearly I was on a very unconventional path for a lawyer who went to UC Berkeley law school, that’s clerking for a judge, and was bound for a corporate, Wall Street law firm.

So I had these two sides kind of engaged. And I was trying to figure out how to put everything together. And over many years, my work evolved. I ended up going to Wall Street. I did corporate law, securities, mergers and acquisitions, lots of zeros at the end of the deal.

And meanwhile, I was studying all these other things, and having dreams, reading and just having this whole inner exploration.

So eventually, I got very interested in holistic healing, and what we were then calling “alternative medicine“. So things like acupuncture, chiropractic message, homeopathy. You know, the definition back then was, “Anything that’s not taught in medical school.” Right? ‘Cause they’re very doctor-centric, all the definitions. Anything that’s not used in a hospital.

Well, a lot of that’s changed, ’cause you can go to a hospital these days, and you might find an acupuncturist, or your doctor might talk to you about, “What supplements are you taking?” But my work became to bridge these different things.

And so, out of that, emerged my first book. I only brought one book, but I’m happy to pass it around. But it’s this book here. It’s called, “Complimentary and Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives.

And what’s great about this was when I wrote this book, other law professors, they laughed at this stuff. They was like, “What is this weird stuff you’re writing about? Why don’t you write about something really laywer-y, like the death penalty or something?

And so I got into this area, and the person … The people that published this book is Johns Hopkins University Press, so I get a lot of legitimacy for this. And they ended up doing a sort of like, quasi-scientific, quasi-yen yang looking logo. So I got like the spiritual and scientific merged.

And you know, eventually alternative medicine became complimentary medicine, became integrated medicine. So are people sort of aware of those, sort of, cultural movements? And you know, now everybody talks about it, and I ended up teaching law, and then getting recruited to teach on the faculty of Harvard Medical School.

So I became a lawyer, who was an assistant professor of medicine, teaching about the law of alternative medicine. So everything that I struggled to put together in my own being, became my professional work, which got legitimized, and now it’s what I do as a lawyer.

That’s my story, in a nutshell, and I’m sticking to it. I’m happy to answer questions about that after, but I’ll just pass this around to … I’ll start with you.

Dude, this guy ran me over in a car.

Okay. Indestructible. So great. Cool. So the video probably goes every ten minutes, and then you want to just stop it, and …

You’re good. You’re at six.

Okay, good. That’s only six minutes? Wow, I did a lot of talking. I need to slow down. These are pictures of me in Riyadh, so just a little sort of introductory visual. This is me with my host, and he gave me a bunch of stuff about Saudi Arabia, and …

With the delegates, and then the traditional sword dance. They look worried about me with the sword, like, you know, “Don’t poke yourself with it.” They actually wanted to hold it, but I said, “I’m gonna do it“. And, that’s the riding of a horse.

So that was fun. So I was there in November, and they are really interesting, because they have a lot of Islamic medicine. And they have traditional religious medicine, and they they have a scientific tradition. And what happens if they don’t agree? You know, which one should rule? And they said, “You, the American lawyer, tell us.”

So, I gave two talks about that. I mean, I couldn’t really tell them, but I could tell them what we do in this country. Just a little humor, kind of warm things up, and … You can read it. But clearly, this is not the funniest cartoon I’ve ever shared.

But, I guess the point is to say that … Well, I don’t know. There’s a lot of subtext. What is the point of this cartoon? Help me out here.

I’m not 100% sure. I’m still working on it.

We’re still working on that one.

They’re both GMO’s.

They’re both GMO’s. Okay, I like that one. Don’t eat either of these, if they talk to you. Right.

There’s some other issues?

If your fruit’s talking to you.

Yeah, if your fruit’s talking to you …

That’s where my expertise ends, and yours begins. So I thought I would start with this because when I was at Harvard, they were talking about bio-psycho-social. Because you know, holistic was like from the 70’s, and alternative just sounds alternative too.

So bio-psycho-social is in the literature. Have you guys heard about this?

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Yes? Jackie’s shaking her head, so she knows.


And so, just the idea that we go from the body … You know, we also have a mind. And we also … Most of us, right? Unless you watch too much TV, right? Well, even then, you can still … I don’t know. Depends what you watch.

So body, emotions, and social cultural environment. So, just the idea we have a holistic model of care, right? So we’re not just the body.


  • I would definitely recommend. I needed direction regarding the FDA and how the rules would affect my business. Responsive, accessible, and knowledgeable.

    Richard Freedland
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  • Impressive credentials are only overshadowed by their clear awareness of practical strategies to help Physicians navigate modern healthcare and achieve successful outcomes.

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    James Riviezzo Practice On Your Terms

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