This past summer, Ronna Jablow Fellows Grace Rudatsikira (first image) and Cate Wilkins (second image) worked with community mediation centers through a unique partnership between Maryland Carey Law and Community Mediation Maryland (CMM). Established six years ago in honor of attorney and mediator Ronna K. Jablow, the fellowship is designed to expose law students to the power of community-based dispute resolution to address a wide range of social issues.
The Jablow Fellows immerse themselves in the work of CMM, with opportunities to learn and practice community-based mediation. Grace, an alumna of the AmeriCorps Program, examined the organizational culture within CMM’s AmeriCorps Program, helping to ensure the program supported its overall goals and maintained inclusivity. Cate gained exposure and experience in all areas of the organization through researching topics relating to mediation and sharing input during regular meetings and programs.
A key component of the fellowship includes inclusive mediation training, which satisfies the Maryland Judiciary’s training requirements for mediators. After completing the training early in the summer, Grace and Cate observed several mediations and served as mediators. Cate, reflecting upon her experience as mediator, observed, “Like many going into the legal field are prone to do, I overestimated what my role would be. The reality is much more humbling and a far better experience.”
Grace, a member of the Maryland Carey Law ADR Team, sees a future for herself in the field of dispute resolution. “This experience was invaluable because I built upon the skills I had developed as a therapist in my former career. This training acted like a bridge from my former career to a career I am transitioning into as a mediator. “Although their summer fellowship has concluded, Grace and Cate continue their involvement with community mediation. Grace currently volunteers as a mediator for the Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County and Cate was recently elected as a board member with Community Mediation Maryland.
The Jablow Fellowship enhances the mission of the Center for Dispute Resolution at Maryland Carey Law to advance conflict resolution to transform relationships, institutions, and the world. “We are so grateful for this unique collaboration with Community Mediation Maryland, through the generosity of the Jablow family,” says Associate Dean and Professor Deborah Thompson Eisenberg. “The Jablow Fellows learn first-hand the important connection between communities and the law and the power of mediation to help people resolve their own conflicts, well before, during, and after those disputes reach the courts.”