Thursday, May 5, 2016

Celebrating 35 Years of the Harvard Mediation Program

Karen F. Green and Frank Sander

Karen Green and Frank Sander

On a sun-filled Saturday on April 30, 2016, the Harvard Mediation Program (HMP) celebrated its 35th anniversary with approximately 80 members and supporters in attendance. The event provided an opportunity for current HMP members—law school students and community members alike—to connect with previous generations of HMP.

Those in attendance included co-founder Karen F. Green ’81; founding member Bruce Patton ’84; Prof. Emeritus Frank Sander ’52, who is often recognized as one of the founders of dispute resolution in the U.S.; David Hoffman ’84, who teaches the “Mediation” course previously taught by Prof. Sander; and Prof. Bob Bordone ’97, Director of the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program. Assistant Clerk Magistrate Bruce Glaser and Clerk Deb Belmonte of the Chelsea District Court staff were also present. Chelsea District Court is one of six Massachusetts Courts where HMP provides mediation services.

Michael Moffit

Michael Moffit

Despite the end of classes and exams looming, the mood was light and celebratory inside the Millstein East Conference Room in Wasserstein Hall. The afternoon provided an opportunity for HMP student members to take a long lunch break from their studies as well as for old friends to re-connect and show support for the program. All in attendance were treated to remarks by Dean Michael Moffitt ’92, Dean of the University of Oregon School of Law, who served as the president of HMP as a student and then later as the Clinical Supervisor. Dean Moffitt, who spoke about the future of mediation, asked the audience to be curious during his presentation when he posed five questions at the outset. They included: Who consumes mediator services? What do these consumers think they’re buying? What does that mean about who is mediating? What are the implications for law schools? What are the implications for HMP? Dean Moffitt’s presentation amplified those of his mentor Prof. Frank Sander’s well-known paper with Stephen Goldberg, “Fitting the Forum to the Fuss:” A User Friendly Guide to Selecting an ADR Procedure,” 10 Negotiation Journal 49 (1994).


Prill Ellis (second from left) and her mediators

Dean Moffitt’s lively and often humorous presentation was followed by a tribute to HMP’s current Clinical Supervisor Prill Ellis, who joined HMP as a community member in 1994 and became Dean Moffitt’s successor in 1999. At one point during his remarks Dean Moffitt quipped that Prill was often referred to as the “new Michael” when she stepped into the role of Clinical Supervisor but that quickly changed as he became known as the “old Prill.” HMP President Lisa Fitzgerald ’16 recognized Prill for her meaningful contributions to HMP and offered up “The Principles of Prill—patience, respect, integrity, love, and levity.