The Viola J. Taliaferro Family and Children Mediation Clinic is offered to second- and third-year law students. It offers hands-on mediation experience in a combined 6-credit course and clinical experience in which students mediate real-life disputes involving families with children, such as custody, parenting time, child support, and related disputes between parents in family law cases. This is an interdisciplinary clinical program in which the director, Amy Applegate, and her students collaborate in both research and training with faculty and students from IU's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences (Psychology Department). This collaboration is intended to improve the mediation process for families that mediate and to assist families in focusing on and reaching agreements that best meet their children's needs.
As trained mediators, the students assist low-income families and provide help in reducing court dockets. The mediation process offers a positive, respectful, collaborative course of action designed to reduce family conflict and help return decision-making about children to their parents. Although mediators are neutral, they have an ethical obligation to assist parents in focusing on their children’s best interests.
Students who work in this clinic will gain valuable and marketable legal skills. They will be fully trained and registered domestic relations mediators in Indiana, with experience mediating approximately five cases over the course of the semester. Most cases involve custody, parenting time, child support, and related disputes between families or guardians.
During the first three and one-half weeks of the semester, students meet each morning for a three-credit-hour skills course in family law mediation taught by Professor Amy Applegate, communications and mental health professionals, and experienced local mediators. Following the mandatory skills course, students will observe and mediate cases.
Starting the fourth week of classes, students attend two to three hours of class each week and devote an additional ten to twelve hours each week to prepare for, conduct, and finalize mediations involving indigent or low-income families with children in Monroe and Owen Counties. Enrollment in this clinic is limited to eight students each semester. Interested students must first contact Professor Amy Applegate to obtain approval to enroll. After participating in the combined course and clinic, some students may continue their involvement by mediating additional cases or serving as student mentors for the clinic students.
Clinic participants will be expected to:
Clinic Director: Amy Applegate
E-mail: aga [at] indiana [dot] edu
Phone: (812) 855-9229
Fax: (812) 855-5128
Room: Lewis Building 303