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Intentional Conversations about Restorative Justice, Mediation, and the Practice of Law

Coben, James
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) Special issue, “Fall 2003 Dispute Resolution Institute Symposium”, Hamline Journal of Public Law & Policy. 25(2): 235-334.

In November 2003 the Dispute Resolution Institute at Hamline University School of Law hosted the third, bi-annual Symposium on Advanced Issues in Dispute Resolution entitled: “Intentional Conversations about Restorative Justice, Mediation and the Practice of Law.â€? The purpose of the Symposium series is to bring together a range of scholars and professionals to engage in purposeful conversation around critical issues in the field of conflict studies and dispute resolution. To this end, the format of the Symposium gatherings is different from more typical academic conferences. No papers are presented. Certain individuals (termed “theme leadersâ€?) are invited to frame, open up, and promote the dialogue. However, the active participation of all attendees is encouraged by the use of intimate in-the-round seating. The choice of the November 2003 Symposium theme was the result of a number of factors. First, restorative justice programs are springing up across the country and restorative justice approaches are increasingly representing the cutting edge of the dispute resolution field both nationally and internationally. Second, there is a growing concern across professional disciplines with the notion of social healing and the desire, particularly, to explore how lawyers and dispute resolution practitioners can learn to regard themselves as social healers. Third, there is a disquieting sense among some mediators and dispute resolution academics that the mediation field has lost its footing and that, perhaps, the interaction between those interested in mediation and restorative justice practitioners might re-kindle something of the original vision behind the practice of mediation. Scholars and practitioners from each of the three fields of restorative justice, mediation, and law were chosen as the individuals to lead the conversation over two days. (excerpt)


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