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Mediation Clinic News

Posted February 2013

UMSL’s Representation in Mediation Team Prepares for Regional Competition in California

The University of Montana School of Law’s Representation in Mediation Team will be heading to Regional Competition at the University of California at Berkeley this February. This year, Berkeley is playing host to Region 10’s competition, which includes law schools from states like Montana, California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. This will only be Montana’s second appearance at Regional Competition.

UMSL’s team members are Christine Brauer, a third year law student originally from Great Falls, Montana, and Wesley Parks, also a third year law student who moved to Missoula from Denver, CO in 2008. In addition to their Team participation, both Brauer and Parks are completing their third-year clinical requirement in UMSL’s Mediation Clinic as well. Both Brauer and Parks have heavily emphasized in Mediation and other Alternative Dispute Resolution areas during their time at UMSL, and agree that participation on the Mediation Team is both a fun and fulfilling way to practice their skills.

The team has been practicing under the guidance of Coach Professor Eduardo Capulong, who also directs UMSL’s Mediation Clinic. Team members began practices in mid-December and are looking forward to facing at least two preliminary rounds of opposing counsel on February 22, 2013.

Brauer said that one of the most rewarding aspects about being on the Team is the relationships she has built. “Participating on the Mediation Team is a unique experience,” said Brauer. “It has given us both the chance to hone our skills as mediators in unique fact scenarios, but it has also given us the opportunity to polish our interactions as teammates and partners.”

Parks believes the Mediation Team has been one of the most valuable experiences during his legal education.  “This experience has really expanded my knowledge and understanding of mediation and the persuasive role that an attorney as an advocate for their client plays in the mediation setting,” said Parks. “Prior to becoming a member of Team, I didn’t realize how important it is to develop these client advocacy skills.”   

UMSL Mediation Clinic Hosts Panel on Mediation and Domestic Violence

In connection with the 2012 Mediation Week, the theme of which was “Mediation in the Mainstream: From the Courthouse to the Conference Room,” the University of Montana’s School of Law Mediation Clinic joined with the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution to present a panel discussion entitled Mediation and Domestic Violence: An Event in Celebration of ABA Mediation Week on Wednesday, October 17, 2012. The event was hosted in UMSL’s Castles Center. Panelists included Jenny Daniel of the Crime Victim Advocates in Missoula , Diana Garrett of Montana Legal Services Association in Missoula, and Paul Ziel, a family mediator from Idaho. Professor Eduardo Capulong, director of UMSL’s Mediation Clinic, moderated.

The event was based on a recent decision handed down by Montana’s Supreme Court. In 2011, the Montana Supreme Court upheld an absolute bar to mediation in family law cases involving domestic violence. The decision (Hendershott v. Westphal, 2011 MT 73) raised more questions than it solved, primarily whether an absolute bar empowers women, predominantly the victims of serious domestic abuse. In other words, one must ponder whether an absolute bar helps women, or whether it deprives women of choice.

To confront these topics, the panel explored the implications of Hendershott, and mediation and domestic violence policies generally. The event was well attended by UMSL students, area attorneys, advocates, and interested community members. For more on this panel event, please see the video produced by UMSL and posted on this website.