On March 17, 2022, the UC Law SF Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution (CNDR) and the Career Development office (CDO) held a career panel for students entitled “Beyond Mediation: Careers in Dispute Resolution.”
This panel highlighted a couple lesser well-known dispute resolution professions, giving students the opportunity to learn about paths where they can apply ADR skills and legal knowledge to pursue peacemaking and justice in unique ways.
The panel featured Lauren Bloom, Director of the Ombuds Office at UC Davis, and Dr. Julie Shackford-Bradley, Director of the Restorative Justice Center at UC Berkeley. Learn more about the panelists below.
An ombuds (also “ombudsman” or “ombudsperson”) is a designated neutral or impartial conflict resolution practitioner who provides confidential and informal assistance to visitors on a variety of issues and concerns. Director Bloom shared how the role of an ombuds is more than just mediating cases or conflict coaching individuals who are experiencing issues, because they also provide an invaluable service to the larger organization by identifying trends and making recommendations that can better improve policies as a whole.
Restorative Justice (RJ) brings people together to address harm through community-based circle processes. When harm or conflict arises, a trauma-informed, circle practitioner engages participants in multi-step transformational processes that address the needs of all who are affected. These processes emphasize accountability, humanity and community. Dr. Shackford-Bradley talked about how we can use RJ practices in a variety of settings and areas of law to address harms and build community. RJ has had great success in schools with youth, and is being increasingly used in the criminal law context to help divert individuals from the traditional criminal justice system and lower recidivism rates.
Thank you to Director Bloom and Dr. Shackford-Bradley for sharing their expertise and insights!
Lauren Bloom, MA, MSSW serves as the Director of the Ombuds Office at UC Davis. She is a Certified Organizational Ombuds Practitioner and has previously been the Associate Ombudsperson at UC Berkeley’s Staff Ombuds Office and served as the Ombudsperson/ Director at The University of Texas at Austin and at the Texas State Lottery Commission. Lauren holds a Master of Arts in Sociology with a portfolio in Dispute Resolution and a Master of Science in Social Work from The University of Texas at Austin. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Dr. Julie Shackford-Bradley is the co-founder and Director of the Restorative Justice Center at UC Berkeley. She has 15 years experience teaching in Global Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies, with a research focus on traditional and community-based justice, and intersections of RJ, human rights and social change. Currently she is teaching a course on Restorative Justice in Legal Studies, which links students with Community Partnerships with Bay Area RJ organizations and a course on Truth and Reconciliation that invites students to research historical harms of the Berkeley campus and Bay Area and envision TRC-style responses. In her work with the RJ Center, she designs and facilitates services, programs and trainings in RJ and Restorative Practices and related areas, such as racial healing and conflict transformation, and collaborates with partners to create policies that offer Restorative Responses to workplace harms, conduct violations, and sexual harm.