After 26 years of leadership, Prof. Culbert to retire as Clinical Professor and Director of LCCR
A Message from Sara Campos, Acting Director and Associate Director of the Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution
Professor Mary B. Culbert is a mediator, trainer, educator, colleague and hero to the mediation community! We want to take this opportunity to offer her a sincere thank you for her decades-long years of dedication, commitment and service to LMU Loyola Law School and specifically to the Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution (LCCR).
After 26 years of leadership, Prof. Culbert is retiring as Clinical Professor and Director of LCCR. Mary’s passion, dedication and vision have made LCCR “the Cadillac” of Mediation Centers – a prominent and unrivaled mediation program. She began her career as a mediator by taking the basic mediation training offered by the Los Angeles County Bar Association in 1992, facilitated by none other than our own Professor Bill Hobbs. She went on to conduct court-connected and community mediations through the Los Angeles County Bar Associations’ Mediation Program and received the Rookie of the Year Award, the first of many recognitions for her outstanding commitment and contributions to the field of mediation.
In 1994, Mary returned to LLS (she is a 1984 graduate of the law school) as the Founding Director of the Loyola Law School Disability Mediation Center of the Western Law Center for Disability Rights (currently the Disability Rights Legal Center). In 1998, Bill Hobbs recruited her as a Senior Mediator, where she carried her own caseload, supervised and mentored students. During LCCR’s 25th Anniversary celebration, we learned from Bill’s daughter, Terry, that upon hiring Mary, Bill mentioned that, “He had hired his replacement.” Bill knew Mary was and is that good. In 2004, when Bill passed, Mary became an Associate Clinical Professor and Director of the LCCR. During her tenure, Mary grew the LCCR. She developed a new model and clinic for providing Collaborative Divorce Mediation Services in conjunction with the Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association - our Collaborative Divorce Mediation clinic, known as C-LAW to our areas of service. C-LAW offers a team approach to a divorcing couple (LCCR students work as both mediators and assist the attorney in helping the divorcing parties find solutions that are mutually acceptable. The third clinic Mary added to LCCR is the Dependency Mediation Assistance Clinic D-CMAC. Students provide mediation in a court-affiliated program helping reunite families. The students co-mediate with LCCR Staff, including Mary herself (you can’t get any better mentoring than that!) These mediations can sometimes take up the entire day to formalize a custody and visitation plan. These programs unlike any other, allows folks to sit down, talk to each other and build understanding and relationship. These programs are changing the world. The actual parties are changed, but so too are our students. The students, as advocates for change help the parties decide upon new behaviors, new attitudes and new goals that will make their future much better than their past. Mary often states, “The programs are here to serve and our job is to serve the people.” It is always about the people.
I’d like to highlight a few of her many accomplishments - She has acted as a resource to local, state and federal agencies regarding the design and implementation of mediation programs, serving on local and state boards. Notably, she served on the State Bar Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution as a member since its inception in 1996 until 2001, and thereafter as an advisor to that committee for a total of 20 years. She also worked with members of the Judicial Council Working Group to create Ethical Standards of Practice for Mediators in Court-Connected Mediation and served an appointment to the Judicial Council Civil and Small Claims Advisory Committee, ADR Subcommittee Working Group on Uniform Procedures for Addressing Complaints about Court-Program Mediators.
Highly recognized for her exemplary commitments and contributions to our field, Mary was the 2009 Recipient of the Ester Soriano Peacemaker of the Year Award from Los Angeles County DRP Program Mediators and the 2010 Recipient of the Ester Soriano Award for Excellence in Community Mediation from the California Dispute Resolution Council. Furthermore, she was the recipient of the 2013 DRP Case of the Year Award, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Award Recipient on behalf of The Center of the 2014 DRP Outstanding Program of the Year Award, Collaborative Mediation, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. 2017 Recipient of the L. Randolph Lowry Award from the Southern California Mediation Association for her passion and dedication to the field of mediation education.
Mary is a true inspiration to all who meet her. Ron Supancic once referred to her as our “Mediation Queen.” She is committed and a staunch advocate for our process. On a personal note, Mary is wickedly smart, generous and a devoted mother to her two sons, Charles and Spencer. Her phone number is one of a handful of telephone numbers I know by heart. What does that tell you? Lastly I want to tell you about how Mary took a personal interest in a high school student that came to Mary through one of the law school’s programs. Mary became a surrogate mother to this young girl. I saw firsthand how much time, money and love Mary poured into making a difference in this young lady’s life, both personally and professionally. And she did. This young lady who could have been another statistic beat the odds and is now an American success story. Thank you, Mary! We will miss you!