About Our Teachers
Jim Lofton spent nearly 30 years as attorney in federal service trying and managing complex cases in federal court. Most recently, he was the Assistant Chief Counsel for Airports & Environmental Law at the FAA. As part of his duties at the FAA, Lofton directed the legal training program for the Office of Chief Counsel, providing legal training for approximately 200 FAA lawyers nationwide. Previously, Lofton spent 26 years at the U.S. Department of Justice trying and managing complex environmental cases. He continues to teach trial advocacy and public speaking at the Justice Department’s National Advocacy Center, and recently taught the first class that was offered online there.
Lofton’s teaching experience is varied. In addition to teaching at government agencies, Lofton has completed a number of assignments overseas, including a year as an Atlantic Fellow in Public Policy at Cambridge University, a semester teaching as a Fulbright Scholar in at Bilkent University School of Law in Ankara, Turkey, and a semester as a Legal Specialist with the ABA Rule of Law Initiative teaching trial advocacy at five law schools in Ukraine.
As a Fulbright Scholar in North Macedonia, he is slated to teach Rule of Law and trial advocacy at the State University of Tetova and South East European University beginning in January 2021.
As a Justice Department trial attorney, Lofton received numerous awards, including NOAA’s General Counsel Award, several EPA gold medals, and the Justice Department’s John Marshall Award, the department’s highest award for contributions and excellence in areas of legal performance. In 2015, he was named the Government Attorney of the Year by the American Bar Association Section on Environment, Energy and Resources.
Hugh Byrne, co-teacher for “Mindfulness & the Art of Public Speaking”
Hugh Byrne, PhD, is a senior teacher with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington DC. He has practiced meditation for 30 years and taught mindfulness meditation since 2000. He completed a four-year mediation teacher-training program with Jack Kornfield and other senior Insight Meditation teachers. He also trained in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Somatic Experiencing, a mind-body approach to healing trauma. Byrne holds a law degree from London University and a PhD from UCLA. Prior to becoming a full-time teacher of meditation, he spent decades working on behalf of human rights and social justice in Africa, Latin America and the United States. He is the author of The Here-and-Now Habit (2016), a book on how to use mindfulness to change unhealthy habits and nurture behaviors leading to greater health and happiness, and of Habit Swap: Mindfulness Skills to Change Habits for Good (2020), a deeper dive into ways to let go of unhealthy habits and develop more beneficial ones.