Clinic students provide free or reduced-cost conflict management services to low- and moderate-income families, students, groups and individuals.
Students are in their final year of law school, and have limited licenses to practice law under the supervision an attorney. All students complete at least 40 hours of basic mediation training. Typically, students co-mediate with a faculty attorney.
Students gain experience in these conflict management services
- Mediation students provide a safe forum where the parties can meet to exchange information, discuss issues, brainstorm options and come to an agreement. Students mediate juvenile and civil cases including: landlord-tenant disputes, small claims, divorce, child custody, property division, guardianships, probate, personal injury cases, employment cases and contracts.
- Mediation students facilitate meetings for discussing and resolving issues among members of a group or the general public.
- Students and their supervisor conduct informal hearings and write findings of fact and conclusions of law.
Mediation Clinic students hone their skills in a variety of legal disputes.
Our goal in the Mediation Clinic is to give our students the opportunity to address a variety of disputes as mediators, advocates and hearing officers. The following quote best captures the experience from the student’s perspective.
“I was interested in the University of Idaho Mediation Clinic because it would allow me to gain experience working with real cases and real people. I felt that it would be important for me to have this real practical experience before I graduated.
The clinic provided me a great opportunity to experience working with clients to resolve their legal issues. Clinic provided me the opportunity to take on challenging cases in an environment that provided a safety net if I was in too far over my head. Working with the professors in the clinic gave me experience in a setting where I would have someone to turn to if I did not know how to proceed; but also, has tested me by doing legal work and dealing with clients on my own.
Specifically, handling family law mediation cases has presented me with many real world practical issues that I will surely come across again once I graduate and am practicing law. Family law mediations are particularly challenging due to the issues that they present; you get to help people at what is perhaps the worst time in their lives, when their family is being dismantled. Emotions are high, and the clinic has provided me an excellent opportunity to learn how to deal with clients in difficult cases.”
In 2018, we opened 57 new mediation cases. The majority of our mediation cases were domestic relations matters; we also mediated criminal, employment, contract, and estate planning disputes. Some of the students served as mediators for the Latah County Small Claims program. In addition to serving as mediators, some students served as advocates. We accepted a pro bono prisoner civil rights case in federal court. That case is now scheduled for a global settlement conference in early 2019.
The skills gained in the Mediation Clinic are transferable to all aspects of the students’ lives. As indicated by this quote,
“Participation in the mediation clinic, "real life" practice, has helped develop not only conflict resolution skills but also teamwork skills. Additionally, I can transfer my conflict resolution skills to my own life conflicts with a new perspective and attitude.”