CSDR-LL.M. E-newsletter Archives


May 15, 2001

The Summer 2001 issue of the MU Law School alumni magazine, The Transcript, will include a feature on our first class of alumni from the LL.M. Program. The following article was written by J. Brian Brady, a second-year student. Due to space limitations in The Transcript, the version of this article that will appear in The Transcript will be condensed from the following article.

From San Juan to Seattle, from Birmingham to Boone County, the recent LL.M. graduates from the School of Law are spreading their newfound knowledge and know-how across the United States and its territories. In spring 2000, six graduates of the program were awarded their LL.M. degrees. Where are they now? Transcript talked with each of them to hear about their progress.

Art Hinshaw, of Columbia, Mo., is currently director of the Campus Mediation Service, a mediation program that handles faculty and staff complaints on campus. He is also the training coordinator for the Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution, working on CLE and other educational programs.

After graduating from the MU School of Law in 1993, Hinshaw practiced in Kansas City with Watson & Marshall, Armstrong-Teasdale and Husch & Eppenberger. Being an MU Law School alum, Hinshaw was aware that the LL.M. program was in the works. "I talked with Bob Bailey to get some information about the program and he encouraged me to apply. My original plan was to get the LL.M., move back to Kansas City and start a mediation business." His teaching experience changed his mind. "When I taught legal research and writing I loved it so I started to get involved in other opportunities with students." One of those opportunities came as a coach for the MU School of Law team that won the 2000 National Championship in the ABA law school mediation advocacy competition. After graduating from the LL.M. program Hinshaw along with former Prof. Bobbi McAdoo, began converting his master's thesis into a report for the Missouri Supreme Court ADR Committee about the affect of Rule 17 on litigation in Missouri. "I was lucky that Prof. McAdoo needed help on the project. Itís been a wonderful learning opportunity, and as a result of the project, Iíve been able to meet some of the ADR leaders across the state and across the country. In fact, I think the project helped me get my first ADR job, mediator at the Missouri Division of Workersí Compensation." While working for the state in Jefferson City, Hinshaw maintained contacts with the law school by teaching in the LR&W program and by acting as a co-trainer in two mediation trainings sponsored by the Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution.

"After my work with the mediation advocacy team, Professors Riskin and Levin had enough confidence in me to let me be a co-trainer for a mediation training. That went well, and they asked me to do another one, and that went well too. When the Mediation Service position opened, they asked it Iíd be interested in teaching the training position as well, and I jumped at the chance."

Donna L. Pavlick, of Columbia, Mo., is the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs in Admissions and Career Services at the MU School of Law. Prior to earning her LL.M., she was statewide director for two major private medical service providers and also served as an adjunct faculty member at the MU School of Health Related Professions. In addition to her LL.M., Pavlick earned a bachelorís degree in physical therapy in 1974 and a juris doctorate in 1985 from the University of Pittsburgh, and a masterís degree in psychology, specializing in guidance and counseling, in 1979 from the University of Northern Colorado. Pavlickís primary legal interests include ADR and healthcare issues. Her most recent research article on apology and mediation is being revised for publication.

As a captain in the U.S. Naval Reserve with numerous personal awards and decorations, Pavlick became interested in dispute resolution while working with the judge advocate general for the U.S. Naval Forces Europe commander in chief, when she was mobilized for Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. "Being involved in the medical and logistical planning of a real war makes one realize just how important it is to find alternative means of resolving disputes," she said.

Her interest in alternative dispute resolution crystallized when she was selected for two years to be the commanding officer of one of the Navyís four Fleet Reserve Hospitals. "Being in charge of 1,000 people and knowing that at any moment you could be called upon to deploy to anywhere in the world brings with it the need to find effective methods of resolving the interpersonal disputes that might interfere with mission effectiveness."

When the LL.M. in Dispute Resolution at MU was first announced, she jumped at the chance to enroll in the inaugural class. "The program was exactly what I was looking for," she said. "It combined my interests, education and background into something that I knew I could and would use in all aspects of my life. It is an outstanding program."

A licensed physical therapist, Pavlick has practiced in California, Pennsylvania and Missouri. Her legal career includes private practice in Pennsylvania, clerking for an administrative law judge, an internship on the 3rd Circuit, and working for the Hyatt & Rhodes law firm in Washington, D.C.

A longtime advocate for persons with disabilities, she was appointed by the late Gov. Mel Carnahan to a four-year term on the Governorís Head Injury Advisory Council. Pavlick currently serves on the City of Columbiaís Disabilities Commission.

Gerardo Pico, of San Juan, Puerto Rico, has accepted a position with the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce to provide legal and legislative counseling. He will also direct its new Center for Dispute Resolution. In addition, Pico is involved in teaching mediation skills at the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico School of Law. The universityís Institute for Dispute Resolution trains anyone interested in serving in the courts of Puerto Rico as a mediator. Gerardo taught mediation and negotiation at the Inter-American University when he graduated last spring with his LL.M. Then before accepting his current position, Gerardo trained mediators for the Department of Consumer Affairs of Puerto Rico.

Before he came to MU, Gerardo had worked for the Department of Consumer Affairs of Puerto Rico from 1992 to 1999. He worked his way up from an administrative law judge to the secretary of legal affairs in charge of the entire legal division. Then he became the under secretary of the Department of Consumer Affairs, a position he held for a year before starting the LL.M. program at MU.

Gerardo was born in Puerto Rico, received his accounting degree from the University of Puerto Rico and his juris doctorate from the Inter-American University School of Puerto Rico School of Law. He learned about MUís Dispute Resolution Program in the newsletter of the Puerto Rico Bar Association. He had wanted to come to the United States to further his education ever since high school, and this program was the perfect fit. Gerardo said that although he was the only Spanish speaker and the only person from a U.S. territory, he felt at home with the family environment among the faculty and other LL.M. candidates. "Everyone is so interested in helping you, trying to make the most out of your educational experience. His wife and family also enjoyed the experience in Columbia and Gerardo says he looks forward to someday coming back to Columbia. In the meantime, he told Transcript that another fellow Puerto Rican native, Angel Pagan, has been accepted to begin the LL.M. program in fall 2001.

Mary Ellen Reimund, of Seattle, is currently an assistant professor of law and justice at Central Washington University. In addition to teaching, she is the director of CWUís Law and Justice Program at SeaTac Center just south of Seattle. Her primary research interest is mediation in criminal justice with an emphasis on restorative justice. Reimund has also been making presentations at national conferences and conducting statewide training on those research topics.

Prior to entering the LL.M. program Reimund was involved in various aspects of the criminal justice field including a position as a prosecutor. She also held a teaching position. She says she left to enhance her knowledge in mediation, immerse herself in research and make herself more marketable for a tenure-track teaching position in law and justice at the undergraduate level. She chose MU because she wanted to work with some of the best and brightest researchers in the dispute resolution field. She says the LL.M. program gave her lifelong friends, mentors and a wonderful educational experience.

Stephen J. Stark, of Jefferson City, Mo., recently started a new job as mediator for the State Division of Workersí Compensation. He is mediating disputes that typically concern medical treatment and disability issues. The program is set up by the state government in order to assist employees, employers and their insurance companies in arriving at satisfactory agreements without the necessity of litigation. Stark said this position allows him to put to use the practical application of his mediation training gained through the LL.M. program.

Stark also serves as a hearing officer for the Local Government Employees Retirement System whenever a retiree or employee has a dispute with the retirement system concerning the administration of retirement or disability benefits. Over the past seven months, he was employed as a hearing officer for the Missouri Department of Social Services. He handled contested cases and issued decisions involving child support issues. The stateís Division of Child Support Enforcement assists parents in establishing and modifying child support orders, and in collecting payments due under those orders. Starkís role is taking evidence through documents and testimony during a formal hearing. He then made rulings upon admissibility and credibility, made findings of fact, conclusions of law and issued a decision binding upon the parties, save for judicial review. Stark said serving as an administrative hearing officer with these two entities has given him the quasi-judicial experience that relates to his interest in the arbitration field.

Immediately after graduation with his LL.M., Stark had the opportunity to study the Spanish language and the Mexican culture in Guadalajara, Mexico. During the summer 2000, he lived with a Mexican family and attended language classes 20 hours a week. He wanted to further develop his language skills for future use in an international practice in dispute resolution.

Stark said he chose MUís LL.M. program because of the reputation of the faculty and because he wanted to be a part of a new exciting venture in advanced education in the area of dispute resolution.

Lewanda VanPelt, of Birmingham, Ala., has been presenting negotiation seminars to public officials, teaching them negotiation skills in dealing with the public. Since graduation she has presented at seminars for the Missouri City Managers Association, the Alabama Association of City and County Managers and in September she will help train a group of city managers from across the nation at an annual conference in Salt Lake City. The International City and County Managers Association, based in Washington, D.C., will sponsor that conference.

"A lot of times the administrators have to go to their citizens to resolve issues that might impact the property rights of individuals. It is hard for them to get their points across, so I try to teach them to recognize their own negotiating style and the different styles in others," VanPelt said.

One issue that VanPelt said keeps popping up is how managers deal with people from different cultures, that is people who move into their areas from other states or other regions of the United States. "My international dispute resolution class is really helping me in that regard, since I am talking about cultural differences and their effect on negotiation. Sometimes when you deal with people you need to take those cultural differences into consideration because it may make your negotiation with them run more smoothly," VanPelt said.

VanPelt is currently seeking a position that will get her back into the labor and employment arena. She was a labor relations specialist before attending law school. "I saw in the federal sector how alternative dispute resolution resolved a lot of our disputes. I went to law school with an eye toward getting into some form of administrative law at most, and perhaps getting into dispute resolution at least."

Originally from Arkansas, VanPelt graduated from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Alabama. While in her third year, she heard about the LL.M. program at MU. "I had been offered a job as an attorney with the federal government," she said. "It was in general legal services with the IRS. During the interview I explained that if the slot at the LL.M. program were to present itself, I was leaning toward going there." She is pleased with her decision. "The (LL.M.) program just helped to reinforce what I already knew to be true about dispute resolution: itís the wave of the futureÖand the present." What does the future hold for VanPelt? This fall she is considering teaching some adjunct courses in negotiation at Cumberland.