Thomas W. Porter, Jr.

J.D. Boston University
M.Div. Union Theological Seminary
B.A. Yale University

Thomas W. Porter, Jr. is a trial lawyer, mediator, teacher and minister. He teaches at Boston University School of Theology where he directs a concentration in Religion and Conflict Transformation. He is the Co-Executive Director of JUSTPEACE Center for Mediation and Conflict Transformation in The United Methodist Church. He recently edited the book, Conflict and Communion: Reconciliation and Restorative Justice at Christ’s Table. He has produced the first draft of a book entitled Engaging Conflict Well: the Soul and Art of Conflict Transformation, which will be a text for the course.

After graduating from Yale University, he received a M. Div. degree from Union Theological Seminary and a J.D. degree from Boston University Law School. He studied mediation at Harvard Law School and Eastern Mennonite University.

He was a founding partner of the trial firm of Melick & Porter LLP in 1983 and has been a trial lawyer since 1974, representing religious institutions, universities, hospitals, professionals, nonprofit organizations and others. He is a member of the board of the Journal of Law and Religion and was chair of the board from 1989 through 2001. He was a founder and the president of the Council of Religion and Law, a society of law professors, theologians, lawyers and ministers, from 1978 to 1985. He was a member of the board of Union Theological Seminary, chairing its educational policy committee, from 1992 to 2001.


TS 805–The Spirit and Art of Conflict Transformation, Creating a Culture of JustPeace
TS 877/JD 827–The Principles and Practices of Restorative Justice
TS 800—International Conflict and The Ministry of Reconciliation


“Justice Matters! Theology and a Relational Restorative Justice,” Healing God’s People; Pastoral Approaches and Practical Skills, Paulist Press, soon to be published.
“The Spirit and Art of Conflict Transformation: Creating a Culture of JustPeace” Formation for Life: Just Peacemaking and 21st Century Discipleship,” edited by Rodney Petersen, Glen Stassen and Timothy Norton, Wifp and Stock, anticipated by fall 2012
Review of The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander, and The Collapse of American Criminal Justice by William Stuntz, BTI Magazine, Number 11.2, Spring 2012
“The Journey of a Trial Lawyer,” UM Men: The Magazine of United Methodist Men, Vol. 15:1, Winter 2012.
Review of When Blood and Bones Cry Out: Journeys through the Soundscape of Healing and Reconciliation, by John Paul Lederach and Angela Jill Lederach, Christian Century, April 19, 2011.
The Journey: Forgiveness, Restorative Justice and Reconciliation, with Stephanie Hixon, Women’s Division, The General Board of Global Ministries, New York, 2010.
“The Importance of Forgiveness, UM Men Magazine, Fall, 2010.
The Spirit and Art of Conflict Transformation: A Video Resource on Creating a Culture of Justpeace, Washington, D.C., 2010
The Spirit and Art of Conflict Transformation, Creating a Culture of JustPeace, Upper Room Books, Nashville, 2010
Book Review with Rodney Petersen of Honest Patriots: Loving Your Country Enough to Remember its Misdeeds, by Don Shriver, Journal of Law and Religion, Vol. 23, No.2, 2008.
Conflict and Communion, Reconciliation and Restorative Justice at Christ’s Table, Discipleship Resources, Nashville, 2006 (I edited this book and contributed the introduction, two chapters and the conclusion.)
“Conflict and Holy Communion,” Circuit Rider, November/December 2005, 14-16.
Just Resolution and Restorative Justice Principles in the Complaint Procedure of the United Methodist Church, April, 2005.
“Circles of Conversations, One Trial Lawyer’s Journey Into Sacred Spaces,” Dispute Resolution Magazine, ABA, Spring 2004, pp. 7-8.
“Engage Conflict Well: A Model for Transforming Conflict in The United Methodist Church,” Positive Approaches to Peacebuilding, edited by Cynthia Sampson, Mohammed Abu-Nimer, Claudia Liebler, Diana Whitney, Pact Publications, Washington, DC, 2003.
“Conflict in the Church,” with Mark Mancao, Interpreter, January 2003, p. 15-16.
“Growing Through Conflict,” with Kathryn Croskery Jones, Response, November 2002, 18-19.
Engage Conflict Well, A Guide to Prepare Yourself and Engage Others in Conflict Transformation, JUSTPEACE Center for Mediation and Conflict Transformation, 2001.
“Restorative Justice: Justice as Peacebuilding,” Footpaths, Spring 1999, Vol. 1, No. 2, 4.
“The Spirit and the Law,” Fordham Urban Law Journal, Vol. XXVI, April 1999, No. 4, 1155.
“Douglas Sturm: A Tribute to a Friend and Mentor,” Journal of Law and Religion, Vol. XIII, No. 1, 1998, 1.
“Engaging the Law,” Can a Good Christian Be a Good Lawyer, edited by Thomas A. Baker and Timothy W. Floyd, University of Notre Dame Press, 1998.
“Mediation: Lessons from South Africa,” Cross Currents, Volume 2, Number 10, June 1, l998, 19.
“Engaging the Law,” Texas Tech Law Review, Vol. 27, Number 3, 1996, 1285
“One-in-the-Many: Doing Justice to Our Unity and Our Diversity,” Journal of Law and Religion, Vol. 9, 429.
Book Review of On Being a Christian and a Lawyer, by Thomas Shaffer, Journal of Law and Religion, Vol. 1, 241.
“Pastor-Workers and Minister-Workers,” The Christian Century, February 16, 1972, 198.