Anastasia Francisquini, senior political science major and president of Monmouth’s Pre-Law Club, was published by the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators (NJAPM) for her essay, “A Call for Cultural Competency in Mediation.” She is the first student-author to have her work approved for publication on the NJAPM website for review by mediators, attorneys, judges, and other professionals. The essay was submitted by Lawrence Jones, adjunct professor in the department of Political Science and Sociology.
“I’m really grateful to have been given this opportunity from Professor Jones,” said Francisquini. “To be published as an undergraduate is a great honor, especially in an area like law where the traditional model of research is different from the sciences or even social sciences.”
Jones, who taught the course, Law and Society, that Francisquini originally wrote the essay for, emphasizes to his students that they do not need to wait until graduation to begin contributing their works to the public in a constructive and meaningful fashion. “The NJAPM is one of the most recognized and respected professional organizations in the state for mediation and dispute resolution issues. As such, Anastasia’s accomplishment sets a very valuable example and precedent for other undergraduate students, graduate students, and law students in New Jersey on the ability of dedicated students to work hard and possibly have the fruits of their research and writing professionally published before graduation,” he said. “Put another way, hard work pays off.”
Francisquini’s essay discusses cultural competency—which encourages understanding and empathy towards people of different cultures and backgrounds—and its increasingly significant role in the practice of mediation, a method of conflict resolution in which both parties’ issues are heard and an impartial third party offers a fair solution. “Should parties be of a regional, linguistic, or other culture unfamiliar to counsel,” she argues, “the person overseeing their situation needs to be aware and understanding of possible cultural nuances in order to be fully capable of answering the issue at hand.”
“As a person looking to go into law, I believe mediation is a great alternative that more people need to know about to make help in legal matters more accessible,” Francisquini said, noting that she hopes mediators who read her work will embrace cultural competency. “The use of cultural competency in any field is essential to the proper diagnosis and care of clients. Applying it to the legal profession allows for more long-term sustainability of the resolution.”
Jones added, “In a world where diversity, inclusion, and belonging are so important, Anastasia’s writing sheds a very relevant light on this topic.”
Francisquini, who hopes to attend law school after graduation, feels that Monmouth prepared her for this next step through relevant coursework and opportunities to connect with faculty and working professionals. “Overall, Monmouth has helped to develop my confidence in my academic abilities by allowing me to put myself up for different opportunities,” she said.
Jones, who describes Francisquini as a top student with remarkable focus and analytical skills, thinks the sky is the limit for this Hawk. “There is no doubt that she has the abilities to be not only an outstanding attorney, but she likely can go even further as a public leader if she chooses to pursue such a path in life.”