Courtney Kay Hawkins

2015 | ?? MD

Tulane University | Political Science & Sociology

“Mediation has taught me how to manage people, convey offers, and negotiate more efficiently.”

Courtney Kay chose the Conflict Resolution clinic because she wanted to work with real people with real problems. “Hypotheticals and simulations can only take a person so far in their learning,” she said. “People with high emotions are unpredictable. and thus assisting them provides an invaluable learning experience you cannot get in a classroom.”

As a student of the Conflict Resolution Clinic, Courtney first took a 40-hour mediator training program at the beginning of the semester. Then she watched Professor Tarr mediate real cases. “Next, we co-mediated cases with her, and then eventually we co-mediated cases with other students while she observed. We always debrief our mediations with her and we have weekly meetings to discuss our progress, “she said. “I then went to the district courts in East Lansing, Lansing, Mason, and Charlotte and mediated court-referred small claims cases,” she said. “For cases that settled, I wrote mediation agreements, judgments, or adjournments. I also had to fill out default judgments on occasion.”

Courtney views the clinical experience as a small taste of life in the legal field after law school. “You collaborate with your Professor and other students to help people solve problems. You may even interact with other attorneys not involved with MSU,” she said. “The work environment changes weekly because we are constantly changing locations. Instead of working with a few clients the whole semester, we meet different parties each week to help them resolve their dispute that day.

Her most rewarding experience was when two parties told her they appreciated her efforts. They both thought that the mediation would be pointless, but in the end they came to an agreement and they left satisfied with the process because of her work. “Their relationship was mended and they were happy with the outcome,” she said.

 “Mediation has taught me how to manage people, convey offers, and negotiate more efficiently,” Courtney said. “My clinic has provided me concrete examples of my skills in negotiation and party management that I can speak to in an interview.”