Lawyer Monthly - October 2022

What drew you to add elder mediation to your practice? In 2016 when I completed my Healthcare Supervisory Management degree at Kinsale College, County Cork, I really wanted to get an insight of the managerial side of things, but one cannot have healthcare and management without touching upon the subject of the vulnerable elderly. I realised then that they represented a large category of the population that often struggles with far more issues that we could imagine. Personally, I have always had a soft spot regarding the elderly due to my strong relationship with my grandmother. I grasped an indescribable love that only a grandparent can feel and provide. But the elderly are not just the stereotypical image of a peaceful person rocking on a chair. They are not spared from troubles and conflicts – in fact, they might even have more problems and challenges that younger people could imagine. I realised then that mediation could be the most caring approach for an elderly person to solve any conflict they might face. I knew I could be good at it and that was my starting point. Professionally, throughout my legal career I gathered a fair knowledge of the litigation process with all of its advantages and disadvantages. As a mediator I learned the absolute advantages of the mediation process. I find mediation a more human, elegant and empowering way of resolving conflicts that gives people the opportunity to be empathetic during the process. What is that motivates you to achieve the best possible results for your clients? Mediation is my way of helping people to deal with conflict. Conflict is, unfortunately, an eminent part of life. We wish it was not, but we know it is. We cannot hide from conflict and it is sad that most people were never taught how to deal with it. Children rarely have a class in school about dealing with conflict, and sometimes parents or families may not present a good example of conflict management. Unmanaged conflicts affect people’s quality of life and even ruin one’s mental or physical health. To solve them requires a combination of counselling with an outside purpose. Further, I strongly believe that we are each born in this world with a set of innate given talents and abilities. We are each uniquely gifted, and that is a great thing, as all talents are needed in a healthy society. These gifts can be used to help us make a living, but also to the benefit of others. I find fulfilment in helping others, in realising that I can have an impact in changing lives for the better. Nothing beats the feeling of seeing people shaking hands and being able to look each other in the eye again after solving a conflict. I will continue to improve myself at helping people that way Can you share anything about your plans for the autumn of 2022 and beyond? Alan Lakein once said: “Planning is bringing the future into the present, so that you can do something about it now.” Sometimes we make plans, other times the plans come to us. One of the beneficial consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic (trying to keep a positive approach) was that people were encouraged and successfully adapted to the use of online communication and remote work, and mediation was no exception. Beginning in 2019 I was given the opportunity to travel to the US more often, and a few months ago I moved to South Carolina temporarily. While I am still working remotely with and for my Irish clients, one of my plans for the autumn of 2022 is to become certified as a mediator in South Carolina. It could be a lengthy process, but success is the result of small steps taken with purpose. At the moment I try to make myself familiar with the US culture and legal system in order to acquire the knowledge and skills required to successfully assist US clients through mediation. I recently became part of the Mediation and Meeting Center in Charleston that offers pro-bono mediation for clients within the low income category while launching my own mediation practice, Access Mediation Services in Myrtle Beach. As already mentioned, I will continue to serve my Irish clients and the Romanian community in Ireland through online mediation as one of my continual goals. As Albert Einstein said: “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal.” MY LEGAL LIFE 29 Lidia Casselman was born in Romania, graduating from the Alexandru Ioan Cuza Police Academy of Bucharest in 2000 with a major in Law. She would then move to Ireland in 2004, where she worked in business management in both Dublin and Cork for 12 years. In 2016 she began work as a legal executive in Cork, specialising in Irish immigration and, later, Probate. She soon became a member of the Teaching Council of Ireland as a qualified law teacher for third-level education. As a bilingual Romanian professional in Ireland, Lidia has often worked as an interpreter for Access Trnslation in the courts of law, the Irish police and other institutions. In 2017 she was appointed as a Commissioner for Oaths by the Supreme Court of Ireland and graduated Griffith College’s Professional Law Faculty with a Certificate in Mediation. In 2018 she became a full member of the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland with qualification in all areas, including family law. Since then she has been the only mediator in Ireland able to provide mediation services in both English and Romanian, a skill which she has used to serve the sizeable Romanian-speaking Irish community. About Lidia Casselman

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