Law School Alumnae, Students, and Faculty Receive Awards for Promoting Justice, Outstanding Achievement, Negotiation Skills

Washington University School of Law women faculty, students, and alumnae recently received prestigious awards from various high-profile organizations.

Adrienne Davis, vice provost of the university and the William M. Van Cleve Professor of Law; JD/MSW student Annie Legomsky; and alumnae Elizabeth Blaich, JD ’81; Mary Karr, JD ’79; and Nina Balsam, JD ’76, received Missouri Lawyer’s Media Women’s Justice Awards.

The Women’s Justice Awards recognize women across Missouri who have “demonstrated leadership, integrity, service, sacrifice, and accomplishment in improving the quality of justice and furthering the highest ideals of the legal profession.” The awards are given to women from various segments of the state of Missouri, including the bar, the bench, public office, civil service, business, academia, nonprofits, and the state-at-large.

Davis received a Legal Scholar Award, which is given to law school faculty members or administrators who demonstrate excellence in “their own work with the justice system, through their research or scholarship, and/or through teaching and inspiring others.” Legomsky received a Leader of Tomorrow Award; Blaich, a Business Practitioner Award; Karr, an Enterprise Award; and Balsam, a Citizenship Award.

Recent graduate Carla Jordan-Detamore, JD ’13, received the Association of Women Faculty Graduate Student Award. Established at Washington University in 1995, the association promotes professional and social interactions among women faculty and advocates for the interests of women faculty at Washington University.

Jordan-Detamore was a member of the law school’s Diversity Committee and president of the Black Law Students Association. She also participated in the 2010–11 ABA Negotiation Competition, the 2011–12 AAJ Student Trial Advocacy Competition, and the 2012–13 National Trial Competition. She pursued public interest work in Africa through the law school’s Africa Public Interest Law Initiative, working for Legal Aid of South Africa. Jordan-Detamore is currently clerking for the Hon. Gerald Bruce Lee, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, in Alexandria, Virginia. Following her clerkship, she plans to join the law firm of Vinson & Elkins LLP in Washington, D.C., as an associate in fall 2014.

Karen Tokarz, the Charles Nagel Professor of Public Interest Law & Public Service, along with the Civil Rights, Community Justice & Mediation Clinic, received the 2013 Open Door Award from the Metropolitan Equal Housing & Opportunity Council of St. Louis for their contributions to drafting, passing, and defending home foreclosure mediation ordinances in St. Louis County and City.

Finally, the American Bar Association announced that law students Stephanie Kozikowski and Jung Eun Choi won the ABA’s 2012 Cyberweek Ethical Dilemma Contest. In the contest, entrants were asked to advise a mediator who is planning a “partially online mediation” between a divorcing husband and wife, who now live 400 miles apart. The husband claims to have moved because of his mother’s failing health, but the wife believes he moved to be with his girlfriend.

Under the scenario, the mediator, who lives in the same city as the wife, plans to conduct the mediation via Skype with the wife from her office. However, the wife is concerned that the husband will ask his mother and/or wife to observe the mediation, violating the couple’s agreement to mediate privately. Conversely, the husband fears that his wife’s physical proximity to the mediator will unfairly bias the mediator against him.

In their responses, Kozikowski and Choi both based their recommendations on the ABA’s Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators. Kozikowski suggested addressing the husband’s concerns about “impartiality” by scheduling the session for a time when he can be in the same city as the wife and the mediator; scheduling it at a neutral location between the two; or conducting the session by Skype with all parties. She suggested assuring the wife of confidentiality by promoting “understanding among the parties of the extent to which the parties will maintain confidentiality of information they obtain in a mediation.”

Choi suggested that the mediator first establish trust by demonstrating her understanding of Skype or willingness to seek expert help to show that she understands the technology’s strengths and weaknesses (such as failure to use the “mute” feature). She should then make sure that both parties understand the mediation process and “devise procedural ways” of demonstrating her impartiality, perhaps by keeping minutes of nonconfidential information from meetings and sharing them with both sides. Finally, “it is the mediator’s role and responsibility to promote the quality of the mediation process by encouraging honesty and candor between the parties,” she argued.

In association with the contest, Kozikowski and Choi will be freatured in Just Resolutions, the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution’s eNewsletter.

By Timothy J. Fox