The Domestic Relations Mediation Clinic, offered in the winter term, enables students to participate in a full Michigan Supreme Court Administrative Office-approved 48-hour training in the facilitative mediation of domestic-relations disputes. After completing training in early February, students begin mediating actual cases, which involve custody, visitation, and move-away disputes through the Washtenaw County Circuit Court, Family Division. Students spend at least a half day each week mediating, and their work is supported through supervision and in-class debriefing. The clinic is helpful both for students who wish to mediate in their careers and those who will focus on representing parties in conflict. Learning to mediate will vastly improve any lawyer's critical skills in interviewing, counseling, advocacy, and negotiation.
The clinic's partnership with the Family Court in Washtenaw County provides students with opportunities to not only mediate cases, but also to observe and assist with mediations in the court's Friend of the Court office. Students also gain exposure to the internal processes of a busy family court by meeting with judges and judicial attorneys. From initial intake to finalizing written mediation agreements, students learn every step of mediation practice and get crucial experience in this increasingly popular area of alternative dispute resolution.
Prof. Nicole Appleberry
Prof. Josh Kay
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