Grande Lum, former Director of the Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution at UC Hastings College of the Law, was formally installed Dec. 3, 2012 by Attorney General Eric Holder as Director of the Community Relations Service of the U.S. Justice Department.
Lum was nominated by President Obama to the position and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. He began August 1, 2012.
“Grande was an important asset to UC Hastings as Director of the Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution. As alternative processes such as negotiation, mediation and arbitration are used more and more to settle matters that were previously adjudicated, the need for training in the theory and skills of these forms of dispute resolution increased,” said current Center head, Sheila Purcell. “Grande is bringing all his ADR skills into a very important and challenging arena and making yet another important public service contribution.”
The service functions as the Department of Justice’s “peacemaker” for community conflicts and tensions arising from differences of race, color and national origin. Created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Community Relations Service assists state and local governments, public and private organizations, schools and community groups to stem violent hate crimes based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or disability.
At its founding, the service worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders to address racial tensions. Today, the office uses trained impartial conflict resolution specialists and professional “conciliators” in 10 regional and four field offices to help parties resolve tensions or disagreements through conciliation, mediation, training, technical assistance and other tension-reduction techniques.
According to the service’s 2011 annual report, the service took action in 1,100 cases in 47 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Cases included campaigns to reduce bias-related bullying in schools, hate crimes prevention, police-community relations issues and those involving allegations of biased police practices. The office worked with African-American and African-Muslim residents in the Bronx over a series of robberies and assaults, and with residents in Minnesota after the murder of a transgender woman.
“It is such an honor to be working with the Community Relations Service with its rich legacy of success,” Lum said. “I feel fortunate to be leading an agency comprised of individuals who have passionately dedicated themselves to assisting communities in resolving their conflicts. CRS provides a unique peacemaking service and I will give my all in helping the organization do its very best.”
Lum’s appointment was approved by unanimous consent of the U.S. Senate June 29, 2012. He had previously served as Director of the Historically Underutilized Business Zones program at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) from 2010 to 2012.
In the corporate world, Lum consulted on complex transactions, and worked to equip individuals, teams and institutions with negotiation methodologies and skills. His work included mediation, coaching, and advising for clients in the health care, biotech, pharmaceutical, information technology, and financial services industries.
Lum facilitated internal and external negotiations; mediated labor-management disputes; and advised on partnering and alliances. He has developed an online learning module in negotiation, produced a video on multi-party negotiations, and published a number of articles on dispute resolution. He was also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post.