“Mediation,” explains Deborah Thompson Eisenberg, assistant professor of law and director of C-DRUM, “is a unique process that empowers the disputants to resolve their problems.” With the help of a neutral mediator, people involved in a dispute come to an understanding and create solutions.
The Mediation Clinic receives referrals from several sources: the alternative dispute resolution coordinator in Baltimore City District Court, judges, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Maryland Home Improvement Commission, clinic students who walk the halls of District Court to advise litigants about mediation as an alternative, Baltimore City Public Schools, and clients who contact C-DRUM and request mediation services. The clinic’s cases are just as varied: landlord/tenant disputes, breaches of contract, tort claims, small claims, employment, truancy, family issues, and more.
The clinic also supports schools throughout Maryland by mediating to resolve truancy issues and by creating conflict resolution programs, which include educating parents on conflict resolution, serving as character models and mentors for students with behavior issues, and training elementary, middle, and high school students as peer mediators.
Peer mediators help fellow students resolve disputes between friends, romantic breakups, and many other small and large interpersonal disagreements. They also assist students returning to school after a disciplinary suspension. The student mediators use their skills in all arenas of life: one young woman who had previously been arrested for fighting believes that mediation skills have rebuilt her future. Rather than approaching every disagreement as a battle, she now resolves conflicts, and intends to graduate and serve her community as a police officer.
C-DRUM’s Truancy Mediation Project is in its fifth year. Clinic students work with C-DRUM’s staff to mediate with schools and families to improve student attendance. Mediation seeks to resolve truancy’s underlying issues, which may include bullying, the difficulties of scheduling for working parents, communication, or even simple record-keeping. Mediation allows the family and school to build a relationship and form an agreement to meet the student’s need. The numbers demonstrate mediation’s effectiveness: more than three-quarters of students who had a mediation improved their attendance.
To inquire about mediation services, please call 410-706-3836 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.