ADR experts offer students practical advice on becoming mediators

Law Center hosts panel discussion as part of American Bar Association Mediation Week

Panelists Cindy Palmer, Tasha Willis, Debra Berman and Niki Roberts participate in a discussion on mediation opportunities at the University of Houston Law Center.

Panelists Cindy Palmer, Tasha Willis, Debra Berman and Niki Roberts participate in a discussion on mediation opportunities at the University of Houston Law Center.

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Oct. 19, 2012 – Four local Alternative Dispute Resolution experts, including University of Houston Law Center Professor Tasha Willis, urged law students to take advantage of mediation opportunities available to them at the Law Center and in the Houston area. Yesterday’s panel discussion was part of the American Bar Association Mediation Week.

“Being a mediator is rewarding and allows for a deeper understanding of people and their needs,” said Willis, Alternative Dispute Resolution director at the Law Center. “The Law Center offers numerous resources for those interested in becoming certified mediators including basic 40-hour mediation training and advanced family mediation training. These trainings are invaluable and are offered at little cost to Law Center students.”

Debra Barman, director of the Frank Evans Center for Conflict Resolution at the South Texas College of Law, spoke about the challenges of entering the mediation profession.

“Developing a mediation practice requires a major time-commitment and is not a reliable source of full-time income at first,” Barman said. “The best way to begin is to take a basic mediation course, volunteer as a mediator, and network with lawyers. The idea is to start small and then grow your practice.”

Additional panelists included Niki Roberts, president of the ADR Organization at UHLC; and Cindy Palmer, Community Programs & Training coordinator of the Harris County Dispute Resolution Center. The event was moderated by Cara Johnson, 3L, of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution.

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