Join Us for Our Full-Day Conference on June 5, 2018, jointly hosted by International Social Service-USAMK Family LawGeorge Washington University School of Law, and Leslie Ellen Shear, Attorney at Law


The George Washington University School of Law

2000 H Street, NW

Jacob Burns Moot Court Room

Washington, DC

*Parking and other location information can be found here.



Tuesday, June 5, 2018 from 8:30am-5:00pm 


Join us for our day-long conference, Cross-Border Family Mediation: Dispute Resolution for International Families In Your Community on June 5, 2018 in Washington, D.C., co-hosted by International Social Service-USA (ISS-USA), MK Family LawThe George Washington University School of Law, and Leslie Ellen Shear, Attorney and Counselor at Law. This event will bring together leading experts to discuss mediation as a key process to help cross-border families with their complex situations. Scheduled one day prior to the annual AFCC Conference in D.C., conference attendees will have a wealth of resources and excellent networking opportunities at their finger-tips. A full agenda can be found below.

Lunch and coffee breaks are included in your registration. Registration numbers are limited, so we suggest registering as soon as possible. Sponsorship opportunities are available. If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, please contact Marie Blum, Fund Development and Communications Coordinator at ISS-USA.



Conference Agenda:


8:30 to 9:00 am         Registration

9:00 am to 9:30am   Introduction: Julie Rosicky, Melissa Kucinski, Leslie Ellen Shear

9:30 to 10:45 am       Challenges for Cross-Border Families: Mediation as a Key Tool

Cross-border families face unique challenges, and require creative solutions.  With conflicts in judicial systems, laws, cultures, and courts, these families can often not rely on the legal system alone to resolve their problems.  This panel will address the complexities inherent in international family cases, and provide a context in which mediation and other services can be applied in addition to or in some cases instead of legal remedies.  It will explore the use of mediation as an important process that will serve these families when other processes and systems are unavailable or simply do not work.


Ms. Kelly Powers, Miles & Stockbridge, P.C. (Washington, D.C.)


1)            Ms. Leslie Ellen Shear, Law Offices of Leslie Ellen Shear (Encino, California)

2)            Mr. Jeremy Morley, Law Offices of Jeremy D. Morley (New York, New York)

10:45 to 11:15 am    Health Break

11:15 to 12:30 pm    Case Assessment: Identifying Families for Mediation and Educating them about The Process

Many organizations, courts, employers, lawyers, and other stakeholders will encounter cross-border families who are in conflict. These stakeholders have a vested interest in referring these families to appropriate resources.  It is important that referring sources understand whether a mediation referral is prudent.  Equally as important, the referring source should understand the mediation process to educate the family about its benefits and features. The definition of mediation is often conflated with other dispute resolution processes, like arbitration, facilitation, or evaluation.  Mediation looks different in different cultures, legal systems, and countries.  These families are, therefore, not learning about mediation as an option in the first instance, sometimes catapulting the family into expensive litigation in multiple countries, in court systems that are not tailored to address these family’s complex issues.


Professor Ann Estin, University of Iowa College of Law (Iowa City, Iowa)


1)    Ms. Melissa Kucinski, MK Family Law, PLLC (Washington, D.C.)

2)    Ms. Jeannie Adams, Multi-Door Dispute Resolution Division, D.C. Superior Court (Washington, D.C.)

3)    Mr. Hadrian Hatfield, Shulman Rogers, Gandal Pordy Ecker (Potomac, Maryland)

12:30 to 1:30 pm       Lunch (Kelly Student Lounge)

1:30 to  2:45 pm        Existing Global and Regional Mediation Programs, Projects

This panel will explore existing mediation programs and projects on a global, regional and local level. Panelists will give attendees a sense of the diversity of programs to serve cross-border families, and initiate a discussion on what resources are still necessary to ensure mediation is a prominent option for families at the early stage of their family conflict.


Ambassador Susan Jacobs (Washington, D.C.)


1)    Ms. Cilgia Caratsch, International Social Service (Geneva, Switzerland)

2)    Ms. Nuria Gonzalez-Martin (Mexico City, Mexico/Palo Alto, California)

3)    Ms. Lyane McDonagh (Montreal, Canada)

2:45 to 3:15 pm         Health Break

3:15 to 4:30 pm         What next?: How to ensure mediation is available in the U.S. for families involved in cross border conflicts

This panel will explore options for the U.S. and Americas to establish resources, programs, panels, and systems for families who need mediation. 

Moderator: Ms. Stacy D. Heard, The Law Office of Stacy D. Heard, PLLC (Seattle, WA)


1)    Ms. Elaine Tumonis, State of California, Office of the Attorney General (Los Angeles, California)

2)    Hon. Hiram Puig-Lugo, D.C. Superior Court, International Hague Network of Judges (Washington, D.C.)

3)    Mr. Colin Rule, Tyler Technologies (San Jose, California)


Our Conference is Sponsored by:



 If you have any questions or your organization is interested in sponsoring this event, please contact Marie Blum, Fund Development and Communications Coordinator.   


Suggested Hotels in the area (there is no reserved room block for this event. Hotel reservations must be made by attendees): 

Courtyard Marriott - 515 20th Street, NW 

Hampton Inn - 1729 H Street, NW 

Residence Inn Foggy Bottom - 801 New Hampshire Avenue, NW

Hotel Hive - 2224 F Street, NW

State Plaza Hotel - 2117 E Street, NW 

Hotel Lombardy - 2019 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW 

One Washington Circle Hotel - 1 Washington Circle, NW 

Watergate Hotel - 2650 Virginia Avenue, NW