Law School Partners with Brazilian University to Expand the Teaching and Practice of Mediation

Gift from the Edson Queiroz Foundation Enables the Law School to Share its Mediation Expertise with Brazil
New York, October 23, 2013—Columbia Law School and the University of Fortaleza (UNIFOR) in Brazil have announced a partnership to expand the teaching and practice of mediation and conflict resolution in the United States and Brazil.
The Law School’s Mediation Clinic will be renamed the Edson Queiroz Foundation Mediation Program, and it will support research and a variety of student and scholarly exchanges between the two institutions, including opportunities for faculty to serve abroad. The program also will bring Brazilian judicial leaders to Columbia Law School to learn about how mediation is used in the U.S. to resolve disputes outside of the courtroom. These opportunities are made possible by a generous gift of $533,605 from Brazil’s Edson Queiroz Foundation.
Professor Alexandra Carter '03
“This visionary gift by the Edson Queiroz Foundation will enable Columbia Law School to serve as an international research, design, and practice center in the area of mediation,” said Clinical Professor of Law and Director of Clinical Programs Alexandra Carter ’03, who directs the Mediation Program and will oversee its expansion. “We are thrilled to partner with the University of Fortaleza at this pivotal time in Brazil’s development on mediation policy and practice.”
Participants in the Edson Queiroz Foundation Mediation Program will have the opportunity to consider the role of mediation in national and international legal systems; develop problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills essential to innovative lawyering; design mediation and conflict-resolution programs; and explore the role of the lawyer in mediation, either as mediator or as counsel to a client considering or participating in mediation. Carter plans to create an interactive website featuring the work of students and scholars from both institutions who participate in the program.
Shawn Watts ’12, most recently an associate at the law firm Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, will serve as assistant director of the Mediation Program. Watts and Carter co-teach a seminar on alternative dispute resolution among Native American tribes. While a student, Watts, who is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, was president of the National Native American Law Students Association and won the Jane Marks Murphy Prize for exceptional proficiency in clinical offerings.
Mediation has become an increasingly powerful and popular legal tool in recent years, as lawyers and clients have sought creative and flexible ways to resolve disputes. Through its Global Center in Brazil, Columbia University recently held a pilot mediation course at UNIFOR during which Carter spent a week training prosecutors, public defenders, and judges. Carter, an alumnus of Columbia Law School and its mediation clinic, subsequently led a simulation for the United Nations in which female delegates from 23 countries applied mediation techniques to peace negotiations between warring nations.
(left to right) Lilia Sales, vice president of post-graduate programs at the University of Fortaleza, and Professor Alexandra Carter '03, trained a delegation of Brazilian judges, lawyers, and mediators at the Law School .
The Law School’s mediation clinic was founded in 1992 by Clinical Professor of Law Carol B. Liebman and is now part of the Law School’s Alternative Dispute Resolution program.
The Edson Queiroz Foundation was founded in 1971 by the Edson Queiroz Group, a Brazilian conglomerate, to promote development in northeast Brazil through education and vocational training. The Foundation established the University of Fortaleza, which holds classes in English, in 1973.