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James Boyd
Indiana University School of Law--Bloomington

Steve Hinnefeld
University Communications

Last modified: Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Taliaferro clinic dedication set for Friday

Oct. 1, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- As a judge on the Monroe Circuit Court, Viola J. Taliaferro was well-known for her dedication to protecting Monroe County's youth. She spent countless hours volunteering for Bloomington children, working with programs like Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and the Monroe County Youth Shelter.

Viola J. Taliaferro

For her work, Taliaferro will be honored Friday, Oct. 3, with the dedication of a clinic bearing her name at the Indiana University School of Law--Bloomington, where she received her law degree in 1977.

The Viola J. Taliaferro Family and Children Mediation Clinic will be dedicated at 4:15 p.m. in the Moot Court Room. The dedication will be part of Indiana Law's inaugural Alumni Summit, and both the public and the media are invited to attend.

"Judge Taliaferro's tireless advocacy for the families and children in this community is unmatched," dean Lauren Robel said. "We are honored to dedicate our Family and Children Mediation Clinic in her name, which I know will inspire the future generations of attorneys, judges and public servants who will follow in her footsteps."

While on the bench as a Monroe Circuit Court magistrate and judge, Taliaferro was often known to give reading assignments to juveniles who found themselves in her court. Whenever they came back, she would ask for the lessons they picked up from the book she'd assigned. Taliaferro had the compassion to empathize with those before her, but it never stopped her from making tough decisions.

With the clinic dedication, students at Indiana Law will now have the opportunity to learn the real-life skills that Taliaferro mastered as a teacher, attorney and judge. Clinic students get hands-on mediation experience, mediating disputes involving families with children, such as custody, parenting time, child support, and related disputes between parents in family law cases.

Professor Amy Applegate, who directs the Family and Children Mediation Clinic, said Taliaferro had the biggest impact on her career.

"Judge Taliaferro has been a tremendous role model and mentor for me," Applegate said. "Her brilliance, energy, hard work, compassion and commitment to children have been a source of inspiration to me and many others in the family law area."

It was Taliaferro who encouraged Applegate to begin training law students to become mediators to help families who couldn't otherwise afford private mediators.

"For the judge, every child is special, and my students and I have tried to carry her vision into the work we do at the mediation clinic," Applegate said. "We mediate with low-income and indigent parents in conflict, helping them to stay focused on their children's needs, while resolving their disputes. It is tremendously gratifying that the Family and Children Mediation Clinic will be named for Judge Taliaferro, a tireless advocate for the safety, well being and best interests of children."