Chapman Law is pleased to announce the creation of the Juvenile Mediation Clinic, a new addition to the school’s wide array of Clinic options for students looking to gain practical experience outside of class.
The program arose out of the Mediation Clinic’s existing relationship with the Riverside Superior Court’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Director, Barrie Roberts. Professor David Dowling, who runs the Mediation Clinic, and Roberts had previously discussed expanding the Clinic’s scope to cover services for the Riverside Juvenile Hall population. The Juvenile Hall director was enthusiastic about welcoming Chapman students into the facility to provide mediation services to its juveniles. Utilizing training materials shared by faculty at other law schools, Melissa Bohl (3L) and Amanda Singer (3L) crafted the program while working with Professor Dowling.
This program provides an important resource for the male adolescents residing in Juvenile Hall, as they experience issues as impactful as race conflicts and gang rivalries, according to Bohl.
“Many of the minors have never been exposed to conflict resolution techniques outside of physical fighting, so providing information on how to communicate needs and interests is a new concept,” Bohl said.
According to Professor Dowling, the Juvenile Hall supervisors will refer young men who have been involved in altercations to the student mediators on a weekly basis. The Clinic now offers two different types of conflict resolution: dispute mediation and peer mediation training for the juveniles.
Before engaging in dispute mediation, the students in the Clinic will first undergo training so they understand how to create a comfortable environment for the participants in which they can engage in a dialogue about their problem, agree upon terms, and strategize ways to prevent future conflicts. The student mediator will then summarize the agreed-upon terms in a settlement agreement. The peer mediation gives the juveniles the chance to develop skills in mediating conflicts themselves while they reside in the facility and after they are back in their home environments, Professor Dowling said.
Professor Dowling hopes to offer this program during both fall and spring semesters. Bohl advised that students who want to sign up for the Clinic must be completing or have previously completed Mediation, Client Counseling or Negotiations.
The Juvenile Mediation program gives students the opportunity to take strategies for working with client conflicts and parlay those skills into a rewarding experience. “Seeing the growth and take-away that many of the participants get from the peer mediation training is incredible. Sometimes I will think that the minor is not listening to what I’m saying, but then when you ask them what they learned, they will not only tell you what you taught [them], but give insight and examples,” Bohl said.
To learn more about the new Juvenile Mediation Clinic, contact Professor David Dowling at firstname.lastname@example.org.