Indiana Tech’s adjunct professor offers sound advice to those pursuing law career
By Madeline Marcelia Garvin
A graduate of South Side High School, a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Elmhurst College in Illinois, and a graduate of the University of Michigan’s Law School, an advisor, an attorney, a counselor, a lecturer, a mediator, a mentor, a scholar, a teacher and a professor, essentially, a master of many trades. That describes Janet E. Mitchell Esq., the new adjunct professor at Indiana Technology’s Law School embryonic mediation clinic—a clinic with many ideas being orchestrated by the progressive, innovative, creative Mitchell.
With the commencement of most things involving academics in August at colleges and universities, last week I was fortunate to be given a tour of Indiana Tech’s new, impressive Mediation Clinic by Mitchell. This is the second year of operation for Indiana Technology’s newly established law school, and now they will open an impressive mediation clinic. The clinic, of course, not only has conference and mediation rooms; but, it also has three observation video rooms, along with a reception and study/workroom area. Aside from this, that which is most advantageous for aspiring law students is that after their first semester of studies, they can be fully certified mediators upon completion of this program. No other law school in Indiana aside from Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law in Bloomington can boast of having an ongoing mediation program; thus, Indiana Technology’s Law School is becoming one of Indiana’s cutting edge law schools.
Currently, this semester’s class consists of 16 students and one faculty member. Atty. Mitchell indicated she wants all of those enrolled to obtain a Mediation Certificate and fully comprehend the principles of mediation. More than likely this goal will be accomplished because not only is Mitchell a trained attorney and mediator; she is one who also has degrees in psychology and political science, and has mediated over 1,200 cases.
As far as the proposed mediation program’s goals, Mitchell has perceived several primary objectives to assist with Indiana Tech’s becoming a leading ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) Law School. In her power point presentation Mitchell outlines her goals and objectives in areas that will address the needs of the students, faculty and staff, community, courts, other law schools, attorneys, the Bar Association, and the university as a whole. Though the program is student-centered, (as it should be) where students will learn the principles of negotiation and mediation, experience the resolution of conflict after taking fully abbreviated mediation training, write Law Review articles on ADR, and become fully registered mediators with the Indiana Supreme Court, the proposed program is essentially all encompassing.
According to Atty. Mitchell, statistics support the success rates of mediation programs, for when one mediates victim/offender cases for juveniles committing first time vandalism offenses, offenders who have met with the victims seldom repeat such crimes because the offenders have the repercussions of vandalism explained to them. In addition, the victims can pose questions to the offenders, who, in turn, can apologize, and the offender can ask the victim what will make them as whole as possible. Thus, such a program helps both parties to heal. According to Mitchell, 95% of the offenders after interacting with the victims in mediation do not repeat the offense.
As Mitchell says, that which she has proposed is her vision for how students and faculty at the law school can work together collaboratively for the betterment and improvement of the community, society and university.
Finally, according to Atty. Mitchell, “It’s the duty of a lawyer to always consider mediation before filing in court.” Thus, it is for this reason that Mitchell said she wants students to register for ADR courses, to have clinical experiences, to write articles on ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) and to be fully certified Supreme Court Mediators upon completion of their first semester of the program.