Barbara Kazen – From Advocate to Mediator

I became an attorney at a young, impressionable age, during the height of the War on Poverty and the Civil Rights Movement. As an attorney with the Washington, D.C. Neighborhood Legal Services and thereafter as a Clinical Education professor at the UT law school, my passion for justice was manifested by bringing Federal cases on behalf of the oppressed. In time my focus shifted to Family Law, where I enthusiastically embraced the jury system as the mode to best determine the parent who should have primary custody of the child in a divorce procedure.
It wasn’t until a particularly painful custody case, which began in 1996, where because of the notoriety of my client I spent hours alone with him, sharing his pain as he went through several years of agonizing hearings, depositions and trial, that I came to the realization that the only way to bring peace to a family, a community, a nation, and our planet, was to sit at a table together to resolve issues through mediation. It is the most powerful weapon for peace, and has transformed my view of life, relationships and honoring different perspectives.