On November 25, Ogden & Sullivan attorneys coached competing teams comprised of eighth graders from Academy Prep in a Mock Mediation. Tampa attorney Jack Townsend served as the mediator for this community mediation involving a fictional dispute between a group of teenagers and a clothing store which had recently implemented rules limiting the access of teenagers to the store. In the mediation hypothetical the fictional store restricted store access for teenagers less than sixteen years of age due to an increase in merchandise loss.
The mediation was the culmination of a four session training program conducted by Ogden & Sullivan lawyers which was designed to introduce the Academy Prep eighth graders to the mediation process as a form of dispute resolution. The program focused not only on the advocacy skills required in mediation, but also on the concepts of risk analysis, compromise and consensus building required for successful dispute resolution. The participating eighth grade students, who will be graduating from Academy Prep this Spring and attending college preparatory schools throughout Tampa and the country, prepared mediation position papers for the mediator, opening statements, demonstrative exhibits and researched on the internet as part of their preparation.
Matt Watts of The Presentation Group, a Central Florida litigation support company, participated during one of the training sessions. Mr. Watts spoke to the students regarding persuasion through the combination of verbal and visual presentations. His company then prepared exhibit boards designed by the students for use in their mediation opening statements.
Our participating attorneys, Jere Tolton, Jay Spengler, Melissa Daley, Richard Maselli, Dereck Capaz and Luis Viera were impressed with how the eighth graders used problem solving skills during the four session program. Mediator Townsend complimented the students on their creativity and strong advocacy skills.
The mediation program represents an ongoing volunteer commitment by Ogden & Sullivan to Academy Prep, a non-profit, fifth through eighth grade middle school which operates 11 hours a day, 6 days a week, nearly year round. To learn more about Academy Prep, you can visit their website at