About the Production Team
Melinda J. Branscomb       Sue Ann Allen  •  Andrew Kidde  
Dispute Resolution Center of King County      Seattle University School of Law

Co-producer

Melinda J. Branscomb
is a tenured professor at the Seattle University School of Law, teaching courses in mediation, arbitration, collaborative law, negotiation, client counseling, torts, and labor and employment law. First trained as a mediator in 1989, she serves as a Special Education Mediator for the Washington public schools. In that capacity, she mediates disputes between school districts and parents of children with disabilities. She has mediated disputes for the Dispute Resolution Centers of King County, Thurston County, and Pierce County, and has served as a mentor-mediator in two mediator training programs. Prof. Branscomb helped teach Collaborative Problem Solving and Negotiation to the Guatemalan Human Rights Ombudsman's Office, and she taught Conflict Resolution and Community Development in Brazil.  She has regularly coached the Seattle University law school teams in the ABA-sponsored competitions in Mediation Advocacy, Client Counseling, and Negotiation, leading to Seattle University’s winning top honors repeatedly at both the Regional and National levels. 

Professor Branscomb received her B.A. at Vanderbilt University, cum laude, in 1972, after which she served as Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Vanderbilt University and as Assistante à la Direction de Vanderbilt-en-France. She received her J.D. from the University of Tennessee School of Law in 1980 (Coif, first in class) where she was honored by the law faculty with a rare "Chancellor's Citation for Extraordinary Academic Achievement."  Prior to entering law teaching in 1989, she clerked for the Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court, served as Assistant Attorney General for the State of Tennessee, and practiced labor and employment law. She is a frequent speaker on the topics of dispute resolution and labor and employment law.

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 Co-producer

Sue Ann Allen has twenty years experience as the Training Director for the Dispute Resolution Center of King County. In that capacity, she developed volunteer training and oversees the training of the Center volunteer court and community mediators. She designs courses for the public and tailors courses in conflict resolution skills and mediation for specific clients, as well as providing training to the Dispute Resolution Center roster of mediators and trainers. She has been a mediator since 1984, taking basic and advanced mediation training through Antioch University, Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program, Snohomish County Dispute Resolution Center, Catholic Community Services, and San Francisco Community Boards. She has served as a mediator for a wide variety of disputes in the work place, special education, faith-based groups, and the community. Ms. Allen’s extensive background in intercultural conflict resolution has led to a focus in that area. She has lived and worked in Europe, Asia, and Africa, as well as in diverse communities in the U.S. In addition to presenting at numerous regional and national conferences on conflict resolution, she has been honored to be selected as one of five trainers for a national collaborative effort to develop and conduct training through the National Association for Community Mediation. She is one of a small cadre of trainers and mediators for a national conflict resolution team for a faith-based, peacemaking initiative of the Community of Christ. Ms. Allen holds an undergraduate degree in secondary education from Central Michigan University and a graduate degree in community development from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

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Mediator

Andrew Kidde has 14 years of experience as a family law attorney and private mediator. He is the co-Manager for the Bellevue Neighborhood Mediation Program, where he trains and supervises volunteer mediators and conciliators who work on neighborhood disputes and other conflicts. He also conducts facilitations and public involvement workshops for the City of Bellevue Planning Department. Mr. Kidde is a certified mediator and former Board member of the Washington Mediation Association, and he has served as a mentor-mediator with the Dispute Resolution Center of King County. Mr. Kidde has extensive experience as a dispute resolution trainer in the Seattle area. He holds a master’s degree in planning from Cornell University, 1988, and a J.D., cum laude, 1992, from Seattle University School of Law.

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Dispute Resolution Center of King County (website) (DRC) is largest of the 20 community dispute resolution centers in Washington State, providing training and services to the community for over 22 years. Dispute resolution centers have a unique structure that provides conflict resolution service to the community using highly-trained volunteer mediators as the primary services providers. The DRC offers an in-depth, rigorous mediation training program that includes a 2-year mentored practicum which produces highly-skilled mediators from all walks of life.

The DRC in King County uses a facilitative, interest-based style of mediation that helps clients resolve disagreements with the help and facilitation of a neutral mediator. This style of mediation is especially useful for disputes involving long-term relationships, such as: neighbors, siblings, co-workers, or former spouses. Facilitative mediation is confidential and enforceable, yet allows for creative solutions. The safety and structure of the facilitative style can improve communication, promote understanding and strengthen relationships.

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Seattle University School of Law (website), the largest and most diverse law school in the Pacific Northwest, is dedicated to the twin goals of academic excellence and education for justice.  The School of Law is home to leading academic programs, including the top-ranked Legal Writing Program in the country, the Ronald A. Peterson Law Clinic, and distinguished institutes such as the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law & Equality, the Center for Indian Law and Policy, the Access to Justice Institute, the Center for Global Justice, and the Center on Corporations, Law & Society. These programs and a superb faculty support the law school’s mission to educate outstanding lawyers to be leaders for a just and humane world.    The dispute resolution curriculum includes courses in general dispute resolution, client interviewing and counseling, negotiation, mediation, mediation advocacy, arbitration, collaborative law, and a law clinic in which students serve as mediators in employment discrimination cases filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). 

The school enrolls more than 1,000 students representing more than 250 undergraduate schools, drawn from the top third of the national law school applicant pool. The diversity of the student body encompasses age, life experience, and cultural heritage. The law school also is recognized nationally for its diverse faculty and welcoming environment. It is the only Washington law school with a part-time program geared to meet the needs of working professionals. The law school is accredited by the ABA and holds membership in the AALS. Students may pursue a J.D. or one of many joint
degrees.

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