Bar News - March 18, 2005
Russian Judges Take Part in Mediation Seminar
By: Beverly Rorick
The Vologda/New Hampshire Rule of Law Partnership recently held a mediation seminar at the Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord as part of its exchange program. Three judges from Vologda attended the sessions, which covered the general principles of mediation, the role of the mediator, the structure of a mediation, the gathering of information and how to break an impasse, among other topics. The judges were then given real cases to consider.
Peter Wolfe, mediation coordinator for the Superior Court Rule 170 alternative dispute program and Sullivan County Superior Court Clerk, acted as facilitator, with occasional input from Superior Court Associate Justice Kathleen McGuire, who chairs the RAROLC (Russian/American Rule of Law Consortium Partnership). Wolfe tried to give many examples and in one session told a story he thought would emphasize the importance of looking beneath the surface for the less obvious during a mediation session. Perplexed, the three judges talked together for a few moments and then consulted their translator. After conversing with them briefly, she turned to Peter with a smile. "You canít use an example in which a bartender points a gun at a customer," she said. "A bartender would not have a gun in Russia!" The judges had not been able to make the application.
Humor was evident in several of the exchanges as both sides struggled with nuances of language, but most of the time there was a level of communication surprising in its ease and commonality, as the New Hampshire hosts spent time with their Russian guests in various settings throughout the week.
Charles Szypszak, an attorney with Orr & Reno in Concord and an active participant in the exchange program, coordinated the visit, which took place from Feb. 26 to March 6 and included several dinners at the homes of volunteers and sessions spent at various court and legal venues, with an emphasis on the introduction of mediation concepts.
The judges attending the program were:
- Vera Alexeyevna Bogatyreva, a judge for the Vologda Arbitrage court; she is senior chairperson of five judges who try administrative cases. She has had 24 years experience as a lawyer and 12 as a judge. She parcels out the cases among the judges and sets deadlines.
- Svetlana Vadimovna Kozlova is also an Arbitrage Court judge and she is chairperson of the bankruptcy division. She monitors case flow and deadlines and has been a judge for eight years.
- Lidiya Boriskovna Petrovskaya has been at the civil division of the City Court for four years and worked at the Regional Court for ten years. She is also a member of the Regional Court Presidium, composed of three civil judges, three criminal judges and the chief justice. They meet weekly to consider appeals against appellate decisions.
Assisting the judges were Luidmila Mikhailova Nakleyshchikova, a senior lecturer in the English philology department at the Vologna University, and two US-based translators, Inna Vozlinski Lehman and Sofya Patenotte.
The RAROLC Program is supported by the voluntary efforts of a number of NH judges and lawyers and their counterparts in Vologda, and is funded by federal grants from a variety of sources, including the U.S. AID program. A delegation from NH will continue work on mediation training with a visit to Russia later this year.