Many courts now require parties to a lawsuit to participate in a mediation. Through this program, our students receive training to become a mediator, which gives them a better understanding of the mediation process. In collaboration with the Oklahoma Supreme Court Early Settlement Program, students qualify for certification by the Supreme Court as a volunteer mediator and conduct mediations in Cleveland County and Norman Municipal Courts.

Student comments:

“I learned very much through the mediation experience. The training helped us learn the skills we needed to conduct our own mediations. I found it especially helpful to shadow experienced mediators before conducting our own mediations. We were able to see, first hand, mediations and their possible problems and outcomes, and how to resolve the problems and achieve successful outcomes. Conducting mediations on my own helped me feel more comfortable speaking with strangers and being the "authority" in legal proceedings. I became more of a leader in the mediation room because I was the only one with authority to move mediations along and attempt to reach a settlement agreement. The outcome relied solely on my mediation skills, which caused me to always improve my mediation skills to achieve more successful mediations than unsuccessful ones. I also improved my listening and speaking skills through listening to both sides and rephrasing their statements in a beneficial way so the other side could effectively respond. I now know how to speak with clients and understand their wishes and rephrase them in a legally effective way. I also learned how an attorney acts during mediations. It was a great experience and I recommend it to everyone.”

“My experience with the OU/ Early Settlement Mediation Program has been top-notch from day one. The information provided during the basic mediation training and family and divorce mediation training has fully prepared me to conduct mediations in a variety of situations, covering a broad range of issues. The hands-on experience obtained during the training gave me the confidence to enter a room with unknown parties, at odds over an unknown issue, and not only guide the parties to an agreeable resolution, but also help the parties rebuild damaged relationships. As a practicing attorney, the skills and experiences I have learned through my involvement with the mediation program have proven absolutely invaluable. From my first day of practice, the skills I learned from the mediation program have enhanced my client interactions and representation at every step. From the initial intake interview to the final client counseling session, I am better prepared to communicate with my client. I am also much more adept at determining what the ‘real issue’ is from both my client's perspective as well as the perspective of the opposing party. My involvement with the mediation program - from my initial externship during law school to my continued volunteer work - has given me an advantage over my peers.”