A Message from the Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution

A Message from the Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution

Sara Campos V2
Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution Director Sara Campos

John Lennon once said, “We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”

Loyola Law School Center For Conflict Resolution (LCCR) is Loyola’s oldest social justice law clinic. Founded in 1993 by Professor Bill Hobbs and associate director Marta Gallegos, the clinic opened its doors with the assistance of four student externs. Today eight staff members and twenty clinic students are “helping someone” in one of our three clinics: Conciliation and Mediation Assistance Clinic (C-MAC); Dependency Mediation Assistance Clinic (DC-MAC); and our Collaborative Law Clinic (C-LAW). LCCR offers bilingual (English/ Spanish) confidential mediation, conciliation and facilitation services, and we provide avenues to peacefully resolve disputes that arise throughout the county. Many of the individuals we serve are moderate to low income, monolingual Spanish-speakers who may not have access to the traditional justice system.

Social justice in the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) context is about giving disenfranchised communities opportunities to have a voice in how they resolve their legal and non-legal disputes. We provide our callers with information about legal rights and legal process so they can make an informed decision about how and/or whether to proceed in the mediation process.

2020 has been an especially difficult and challenging year. In March when the stay-at-home orders took effect, LCCR staff and students were able to seamlessly transition to remote services. LCCR continues to serve Los Angeles’ most disenfranchised communities. Many of those who we will help often have nowhere else to turn for assistance with their legal disputes.

Now, more than ever, our mediation assistance also serves the Courts to clear its dockets and to prevent disputes from ever reaching the litigation stage.

COVID-19 has not slowed us down. In 2020, alone LCCR:

  • conducted three 28-hour training sessions;
  • we’ve handled 245 cases;
  • we’ve resolved 250 disputes;
  • we’ve served almost 1,000 people;
  • and we have trained 49 Loyola Law students in mediation skills who have contributed over 4,500 hours of community service.

At the end of each training session, Bill concluded with the following story:

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean.

Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?”

The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”

“Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference!”

After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said…..“I made a difference for that one.”

Original Story by: Loren Eisley (1907 – 1977)

Most of us came to LLS to help create positive change, but if you’re like me, during this pandemic, you often wonder, “how much of a difference can I really make?” This is especially true when we are talking about addressing massive social problems like tackling systemic racism or COVID-19. Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution provides our students with an opportunity to make a difference. We might not be able to change the entire world, but at the very least, we can and do make a difference for that person who reached out to LCCR in their time of need.

LCCR will continue to make a difference in 2021.

Please lookout for information on our Inaugural Peace Walk and upcoming Community Training.

Wishing you a healthy and happy holiday season!

- Sara Campos