Passing of Roger Wolf


From TFOIs Deborah Eisenberg and Toby Guerin:

Dear Colleagues:

Many of you knew Roger Wolf, the visionary founder of our Center for Dispute Resolution and the Mediation Clinic at Maryland Carey Law, and a true trail-blazer in the ADR field in Maryland and nationally.  He passed away last weekend.  Below is a beautiful tribute written by our Managing Director Toby Guerin, who worked closely with Roger during his time at Maryland Law.  We sorely miss him, and are grateful for the path he forged for us.  May his memory be a blessing.

I am writing to share the news that Roger Wolf, a professor and pioneer of ADR in Maryland, passed away on Saturday, December 30, 2017.  Roger died peacefully at his Pleasant Valley farm in Maryland surrounded by his family.  Roger was a true trailblazer and peacemaker believing that the resolution of conflict by the people involved in the conflict promotes justice.  Roger was an early adopter of ADR and established one of the first mediation clinics at a law school in 1986 (or 1984 he could never identify the exact year).  He was instrumental in the growth of ADR in Maryland and served as the first chair of the state bar ADR Section and the first recipient (after Chief Judge Bell) of the ADR Section’s Robert M. Bell Award for outstanding contributions to ADR in Maryland.

A teacher from the beginning, Roger transitioned his experience as a legal services attorney to director of the clinical program at Catholic University and eventually to the University of Maryland Carey School of Law where he remained a clinician for 30 years.  He consistently offered to teach the evening clinic, ensuring that evening students were afforded clinical opportunities.  His mediation experience ranged from child in need of assistance, to small claims, to medical malpractice, to discrimination disputes, and community conflicts.  He viewed the Mediation Clinic as not only an opportunity to effectively train and supervise new mediators, or for students to understand the role of lawyer as problem solvers, but also as a vessel for students to see the world through a different lens.  Even while teaching he continued to serve on a variety of circuit court and District Court rosters, volunteer for the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights and community mediation centers, and mediate for the United States Postal Service and the Maryland Department of Agriculture Programs.

Roger embraced the inclusiveness of mediation practice, pushing for quality mediation training and ethical practice over degree and other credentials.  He remained active in the field throughout his life dedicating countless hours to committees such as the Maryland ADR Commission, Mediator Excellence Council, and ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Ethical Guidance Committee as well as practitioner organizations such as the MSBA ADR Section and Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution.  In 2002 he founded the Center for Dispute Resolution at the University of Maryland School of Law.  Now in its 15th year the Center continues Roger’s vision by promoting the power of conflict resolution to build a more just society.

Often more comfortable behind the scenes, Roger adeptly used his collaboration and communication skills to further the profession through supporting language in court rules (now Title 17) and the expansion of confidentiality protections in the Maryland Mediation Confidentiality Act.  These efforts will benefit the field of dispute resolution and practitioners for years to come and helped propel Maryland as a national leader in dispute resolution.

Through all of his accomplishments, of which there are many more than can be listed, those who knew Roger most appreciated his accessibility.  He mentored many mediators, engaged in numerous phone calls discussing mediation issues, responded to countless emails sharing his perspective, and completed every survey put before him.  He often contacted peers to debrief a mediation or solicited feedback from his students.  When people did not come to him, he often went to them sending letters and emails to organizations and local and state officials offering his services or those of other ADR practitioners to resolve disputes.

Students have used the word “magic” to describe Roger’s skills in resolving disputes.  His response to these statements often involved some comment regarding years of practice and continued education.  Even if you did not know it, Roger was likely at a training, conference, or forum you attended.  He enjoyed learning the latest and greatest while at the same time reflecting, “We were talking about this 20 years ago.”

Roger would be the first to give credit to the other dispute resolution trailblazers who helped create the vibrant dispute resolution community that we can enjoy.  He will be missed by them and the numerous students, clients, and colleagues who benefited from his wisdom.  Many people, including myself, have had their lives change just by knowing Roger.

Roger is survived by his wife, Judy, and their four children and six grandchildren.  The family has asked that contributions in his memory may be made to his center, C-DRUM at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law online or by mail, sending a check made payable to UMBF,Inc/C-DRUM to 500 West Baltimore St, Baltimore MD 21201-1786

Warmest regards,

Deborah Eisenberg & Toby Guerin

John Lande
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