Friday, March 10, 2017

Former DOJ mediator describes ‘active’ neutrality, at HLS symposium

This article first appeared on Harvard Law Today
Credit: Martha Stewart “I went to law school with the idea of becoming a civil rights litigator, not a civil rights mediator,” said Grande Lum ’91 when discussing how his time at Harvard Law changed his perspective and career path. Lum, who gave the keynote at the 2017 Harvard Negotiation Law Review Symposium, held at HLS in February, served as director of the U.S. Justice Department’s Community Relations Service (CRS) from 2012 to 2016, and currently directs the Divided Community Project at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law.

Credit: Martha Stewart. “I went to law school with the idea of becoming a civil rights litigator, not a civil rights mediator,” said Grande Lum ’91 when discussing how his time at Harvard Law changed his perspective and career path. Lum, who gave the keynote at the 2017 Harvard Negotiation Law Review Symposium, held at HLS in February, served as director of the U.S. Justice Department’s Community Relations Service (CRS) from 2012 to 2016, and currently directs the Divided Community Project at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law.

Within minutes of the Aug. 10, 2014, fatal police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri of an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown, a civil rights group alerted the U.S. Justice Department’s Community Relations Service, or CRS.

Four days later, President Barack Obama ’91 publicly announced that CRS was on the ground in Ferguson, and two days after that Attorney General Eric Holder was meeting with Ferguson residents at a CRS-organized town hall. Ultimately, the DOJ entered into a consent decree agreement with the City of Ferguson after issuing a searing report documenting the city’s civil rights violations.

“We were likely the first federal group to deploy to Ferguson, and the first federal group to speak to a broad range of protesters,” said Grande Lum ’91, who directed CRS from 2012 to 2016. He now directs the Divided Community Project at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law.

Lum was on the Harvard Law campus Feb.17, 2017, to deliver the keynote address of the Harvard Negotiation Law Review’s 22nd Annual Symposium, “Reflections on the Intersection of Alternative Dispute Resolution and Activism.” Adriel Borshansky [Harvard Divinity School ’15], a clinical fellow with the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP), explained to the law professors, students, and ADR practitioners in attendance, “What makes today’s symposium new and significant is the push to explore how the field of ADR can learn from activists, and vice-versa.” The symposium also featured a conversation with civil rights activist DeRay McKesson as well as two panel discussions: “Theoretical Perspectives: Navigating Questions of Power and Neutrality,” moderated by Clinical Professor Robert C. Bordone ’97, director of HNMCP; and “Internal Dilemmas: Navigating Personal Convictions and the Work of Alternative Dispute Resolution,” moderated by Lecturer on Law and Clinical Instructor Rachel Viscomi ’01.

Read the full article on Harvard Law Today.