The LSU Law Center Family Mediation Clinic hosted the 2nd Annual Association of Family and Conciliation Courts – Louisiana Chapter Conference on January 27 and 28, 2012 at the Law Center. The conference was entitled “Technology, Trauma, and Transformation: Current Issues in Family Court” and was attended by over 50 judges, lawyers, domestic mediators, mental health professionals, and parenting coordinators.
The students in the Family Mediation Clinic attended the conference which was the capstone to the intensive domestic mediation training they have been doing every weekend since the start of the Spring 2012 semester. Professor Robert Lancaster, who teaches the Family Mediation Clinic, said, “By hosting the conference at LSU we can insert our students into training designed for professional mediators. Students meet mediation professionals statewide and learn new skills and techniques that enhance their effectiveness in mediation.”
Kim Wiley from the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence spoke on “Family Court Implications of Internet, SmartPhones, Social Media, and Cyberstalking.” Dr. Charles Zeanah from the Tulane Medical School spoke on “Brain Science, Child Development, and the Legal System: Why Early Experiences Matter,” and Zena Zumeta, a nationally known family mediation specialist from Ann Arbor, Michigan, spoke about “Skills Training in Facilitative Mediation.”
Students in the Family Mediation Clinic learn the skills necessary to be effective mediators in family law disputes. Once trained, students are offered the opportunity to mediate for families in actual cases and assist the parties in resolving their conflict. Although the substantive focus is on family mediation, the skills learned in the clinic will make students more effective as lawyers by improving their general mediation, negotiation, and communication skills.