Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution: Changing of the Guard
After serving as the Saltman Center’s first graduate fellow for nearly a decade, Boyd Law alumna Jae Barrick has decided to step down. Stepping up: Friend, protégé, and fellow alum Michael Stannard
By Matt Jacob
When Jae Barrick decided to embark on a midlife career change—a change that would begin with her enrollment at the William S. Boyd School of Law at UNLV—there wasn’t much doubt that she would gravitate toward the world of alternative dispute resolution. After all, it was something that was ingrained in her while growing up in the mountains of West Virginia.
“My dad was a union arbitrator whose job was to argue with union guys in preparation for contract negotiations and other issues,” Barrick says. “So as children, we were pretty much forced by dinner conversation to always see two sides of every story.”
Barrick’s affinity for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) only grew from there. So it’s no surprise that as a law student in the school’s part-time program, she found her way to Boyd Law’s renowned Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution.
Also not a surprise: When the Saltman Center established a graduate fellowship in 2014, Barrick got the job. At the time, she was just a year removed from earning her law degree, had just begun working as a family law attorney, and already was working part-time at the law school.
During her eight-plus years as a graduate fellow, Barrick has worked alongside professor Lydia Nussbaum to further the mission of the Saltman Center and the school’s Mediation Clinic (both of which are directed by Nussbaum).
Among Barrick’s myriad fellowship duties: She has taught in both the Mediation Clinic and Family Mediation Practicum; served as coach and mentor to students participating in the American Bar Association’s client counseling and negotiation competitions; recruited Las Vegas-area lawyers (including Boyd Law alums) to judge those competitions; supervised the school’s parking arbitration program; and served as a law school and Mediation Clinic ambassador, particularly to family court judges and attorneys.
“I thought it would be something interesting to do,” Barrick says about her decision to accept the graduate fellowship. “At the time, I wasn’t sure how I was going to make a living at my law firm as a new attorney with no clients. So working at the school gave me some regular monthly [income]. But the more I did it, the more I loved it.
“I thought it would be a one-year—two-semester—gig. The truth is, I never left.”
Well, until now.
With an overflowing plate as both a practicing lawyer and the administrator for Nevada’s Statewide Juvenile Dependency Mediation Program, Barrick has decided to relinquish her role as the Saltman Center’s graduate fellow at the end of the fall 2022 semester.
Albeit with some reluctance.
“I have absolutely loved working with students and giving them a real-life view of what their career will be like as practicing attorneys,” Barrick says. “They’re all so smart—far smarter than I am—and so motivated. I’ll truly miss that interaction.”
As she departs, Barrick will hand the graduate fellowship baton to Michael Stannard, a longtime friend, colleague and fellow Boyd Law alum. Stannard arrived at the law school the same year Barrick began her fellowship, and the two connected during his second year when he began participating in client counseling competitions.
Like Barrick, Stannard is a Las Vegas-based family law practitioner whose passion for mediation and dispute resolution is as profound as it is for his mentor. Stannard says he’s excited about the chance to work with students and pass on the valuable ADR skills Barrick helped teach him during his three years on campus.
As for filling Barrick’s shoes?
“It’s impossible,” says Stannard, who earned his law degree in 2017 and has remained connected with the school in various ways, including as a competition judge. “What she brings to the table as a mediator, as a professor, as a person—she’s irreplaceable.”
His predecessor—and his new boss—have little doubt that Stannard is more than up to the task.
“He brings so much to the table,” Barrick says. “He’s an excellent mediator, he has incredible empathy, and he possesses the ability to communicate without judgment. He’s a rock star in my world.”
Adds Nussbaum: “Michael has a deep well of patience and understanding, both of which are essential attributes for any good mediator and teacher. He’s also remarkably kind and good natured and doesn’t have an ounce of pretentiousness. He’s the perfect choice to replace Jae.
“As for Jae, I can’t thank her enough for all that she has done for us. She has been a guide, an advisor, and a friend from whom I have learned a tremendous amount. I will miss her very much.”