Alexandria Skinner, J.D.
Alexandria Skinner is an attorney licensed in the state of South Carolina, an IACP certified collaborative professional, and a skilled mediator who has trained under nationally recognized mediators such as Zena Zumeta and Susan Butterwick (Elder Mediation), Carl Schneider (divorce mediation), and Richard Blackburn (conflict transformation for church congregations). An unabashed “red letter Christian,” Skinner considers herself to be a full time peacemaker, bringing peace to individuals, families and church congregations through creative problem solving and client coaching, through mediation for couples, families, and church congregations, and through use of an integrative approach to law in which the entire situation is considered and cross disciplinary professionals are consulted when appropriate. This difference in attitude also influences Skinner’s approach to mediation.
There are many different types of mediation. Most parties to a lawsuit experience mediators who take an approach called “facilitative” or “evaluative” mediation. Mediators using this model are focused primarily on settlement of a lawsuit. Skinner is certified as a mediator by the S.C. Supreme Court to mediate cases that are in litigation, utilizing this approach. However, Skinner’s toolkit goes beyond this to encompass, as well, the styles of mediation called “transformative” and “narrative” mediation. These approaches empower parties literally to rewrite the story of their conflict, choosing for themselves how to address the issues, and even to achieve authentic reconciliation under certain circumstances. If parties desire, exploration of the deeper dimensions of conflict can offer opportunity for true transformation of understanding and of relationships.
It is not necessary for clients to understand the deeper principles of conflict transformation which drives Skinner’s practice in order to reap the benefits of her large toolkit of skills in family and organizational conflict. The key benefit to Skinner’s clients is the experience of peace and wholeness that comes from a better way of approaching and resolving legal issues and conflict. Besides this focus on authentic resolution and not merely “settlement” of a “legal case,” another aspect of Skinner’s practice which sets it apart from other mediation practices is the specific training and attention given to the healing within the system of relationships within the entire family or organization, with capacity to design mediation processes that include an entire extended family or church congregation. Skinner’s practice is deeply informed by the relational principles explored in organizational and family systems theory. In cases where complex, technical issues are involved, Skinner’s training as a collaborative professional also equips her to incorporate outside experts (when needed) so as to ensure more comprehensive and workable solutions.
Skinner earned her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1983. A legal practitioner with many years of experience, Skinner’s resume’ includes past work as an attorney with the S.C. Court of Appeals (Law Clerk to the Hon. Randall T. Bell and Staff Attorney), S.C. Attorney General’s Office (Assistant Attorney General), S.C. State Budget and Control Board (Associate General Counsel) and S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (Hearing Advisor). She additionally has studied medical ethics at the graduate level, earning 21 graduate level semester hours in philosophy at the University of South Carolina between 1997 – 1999, and during that time also working as a graduate research assistant for theologian and medical ethicist George Khushf at the USC Center for Bioethics.
Mark Buchan, M.A.
Mark, an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, first experienced the healing power of mediation as a participant in a mediation for a church congregation. This experience was so overwhelmingly positive for him and for the congregation he was leading that he decided to pursue training to be a mediator for church congregations.
Like Alexandria Skinner, Mark is also a graduate of the Mediation Skills Training Institute of the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center and received his certification in 2003. Since then he has served as a faith-based mediator for churches on the congregational level, in situations calling for conflict transformation between individuals, and in multi-party disputes.
Mark Buchan is a graduate of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Since his ordination in 1994, Mark has served parishes in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and South Carolina, both as a called pastor and an interim pastor.
Since 2001 Mark has been a participant in the Advanced Clergy Clinic in Family Emotional Process, a seminar which applies Bowen Systems Theory to the management of conflict in communal settings such as congregations, businesses and families. In 2003 he became a consultant and began offering training and workshops in conflict transformation and the dynamics of emotional systems for church leaders and congregations.
Mark currently serves as a stated supply pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Johnston, SC and a volunteer at the Community Mediation Center in Columbia, SC. He lives in Columbia, with his spouse, Nancy, and their two children, Ross and Emi.
Beth Padgett, M.A.
Like Skinner and Buchan, Beth Padgett is also a graduate of the Mediation Skills Training Institute of the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center . Prior to this specific training in mediation for church congregattions, Beth had many years of experience as a professional civil and family mediator. Beth served for many years as Executive Director of the Community Mediation Center in Columbia, which serves families and community agencies on a sliding fee scale. At the present time, she works as Assistant Director for the Lawyers Helping Lawyers program of the S.C. Bar Association and mediates in her off-hours.
Beth earned two degrees from the University of South Carolina: a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Masters of Education. She also earned a Master of Arts in Human Behavior and Conflict Management from Columbia College. Beth has a background in education, mental health and addiction treatment services, domestic violence counseling, as well as curriculum and program development in these disciplines.
Other mediators may be engaged by Just Mediation, LLC, in particular cases, with care to match up client needs with particular skills and personalities of the mediators. Every mediator associated with Just Mediation, LLC, will have the skill and training to mediate your case effectively and efficiently. With the exception of interns who may be working under supervision, each has an advanced degree related to his or her field of expertise as well as at least 100 hours of training in mediation and significant experience mediating cases. Additionally, mediators bring other skills to the table. We will put together whatever team is needed to make a mediation successful, including translators or mediators or experts with significant subject matter expertise when needed.
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