On November 13, Ogden & Sullivan attorneys coached competing teams comprised of eighth graders from Academy Prep Center of Tampa in a Mock Mediation. Tampa attorney Mary Lau and Ogden & Sullivan partner Randy Ogden served as mediators.
The mock civil mediation centered upon a fictional personal injury dispute between a fast food restaurant, meat manufacturer and injured Plaintiff. In the mediation hypothetical, the fictional Plaintiff, Johnny Fontaine bit into a hamburger containing a metal bolt, resulting in injuries necessitating jaw surgery. Claims were lodged against the fictional fast food restaurant as the preparer of the burger, and the meat manufacturer as the creator of the burger.
The mediation was the culmination of a 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 conducted extensive research 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 demonstrative aids designed by the students for use in their mediation opening statements.
Our participating attorneys, Tim Sullivan, Richard Maselli, Jere Tolton, Melissa Daley, Luis Viera, David Harvey, Kristen Chittenden and Jessica Goodwin enjoyed working with the students to develop creative persuasive arguments for use during the opening statements and in caucus. Mediator Mary Lau was impressed with the students' creativity, approach to problem solving and strong advocacy skills throughout the mock mediation.
The mediation program represents part of the 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: http://academyprep.org/tampa/