M.R. Bauer Foundation and Kent Lawrence Invest in the Center on Negotiation and Mediation
Leonard Riskin, the Agnew Visiting Professor in the Center on Negotiation and Mediation; Lynn Cohn (JD '87), the Center's director; and Bauer Foundation executive director Kent Lawrence (JD '69)
A gift of $865,000 from the M.R. Bauer Foundation to the Bluhm Legal Clinic's Center on Negotiation and Mediation will expand teaching and research capacity by establishing the Harris H. Agnew Visiting Professor of Dispute Resolution and the M. R. Bauer Foundation Clinical Fellow in Dispute Resolution, and by providing continuing support for the Mediation Process and Advocacy Workshop.
"This gift demonstrates the Bauer Foundation's remarkable commitment to clinical legal education, and to the well-rounded lawyers this type of intensive, hands-on training creates," said Daniel B. Rodriguez, dean of Northwestern University School of Law. "We are deeply grateful for this commitment."
The Bauer Foundation, a private foundation, has invested in the Law School for over twenty-five years.
"Training in negotiation and mediation is a cornerstone of a comprehensive legal education," said executive director Kent Lawrence (JD '69). "The Center on Negotiation and Mediation not only helps students become better lawyers, it serves the community as well. The Bauer Foundation is committed to reform and improvement of the justice systems, and that starts with lawyers, and that in turn has its roots in their training and orientation."
As a student, Lawrence served on the editorial board of the Northwestern University Law Review. He earned his JD cum laude and was inducted into the Order of the Coif upon graduation. Now a partner at Lawrence, Kamin, Saunders & Uhlenhop, Lawrence has a mediation and arbitration practice dealing with disputes concerning general commercial and business matters, especially involving securities and commodities. He is a certified mediator for several Illinois circuit courts, and serves in advisory capacities for numerous institutions, including the National Futures Association and the Chicago chapter of the Association for Conflict Resolution.
His relationship with Northwestern Law dates back several generations. Several members of his family are Law School graduates—notably, his father, A. Charles Lawrence, who was a member of the Class of 1931.
Lawrence also taught the first arbitration and dispute resolution course the Law School offered as an adjunct professor from 1982–1993. He met Lynn P. Cohn (JD '87), now director of the Center on Negotiation and Mediation, in 1986 when she was a student in his seminar on commercial arbitration. His ongoing professional commitment to mediation and arbitration has resulted in a remarkable partnership with the Law School and Cohn over the years.
The enhanced capacity this gift affords will allow the Center on Negotiation and Mediation to develop expertise in new areas and give students more live client experience, Cohn explained. "We will have the chance to expand our teaching in both mediation advocacy and restorative justice, an area that is increasingly important in community-based conflict. This gift will give the Center a depth and breadth that sets it apart from other programs in the country."
The visiting professorship is named for Harris H. Agnew, a long-serving Chief Judge of the 17th Judicial Circuit in Rockford, Illinois, and one of the founders of Resolution Systems Institute. Leonard Riskin, a leading scholar in negotiation, mediation, and dispute resolution, was named to this professorship.
The M.R. Bauer Foundation clinical fellow will join the team in the fall of 2015, allowing the Center to increase the total number of students who can participate in its clinical offerings.
The gift also continues the Bauer Foundation's historical support for the Mediation Process and Advocacy Workshop, which provides professional mediation training for students through a semester-long course, with an option to pursue additional training and mediation certification.
Esther King (JD '13), an associate at Kirkland & Ellis, describes her experience as a student taking courses on negotiation and mediation as key to making her a well-rounded attorney.
"The classes I took as part of the Center on Negotiation and Mediation add the most value to who I am as a lawyer on a day-to-day basis," said King. "Yes, technical skills help me accomplish the tasks of being a lawyer, but it's the people skills I learned in negotiation and mediation classes that allow me to get the best results." —Kirston Fortune and Rekha Radhakrishnan