Briefing Room

Community Unrest Panel


On September 22, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law hosted Community Unrest and Community Leadership Panel. The panel discussed: What should local leaders do in the midst of community unrest? What plans should they make during more tranquil times? What special contributions can lawyer-leaders make in both situations? In addition, they examined the unique challenges faced by communities given the current controversies, and share best practices of what local and lawyer-leaders are doing to meet them. Special focus was placed on forging collaboration amongst a multitude of stakeholders. The discussion was moderated by Nancy H. Rogers, Director, Program on Law and Leadership, Professor Emeritus. Panelists included:

  • Grande Lum, Former Director, U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service; Director, Divided Community Project, OSU Moritz College of Law, led the federal mediation that intervened in Ferguson, MO, Baltimore, Sanford, Florida, and elsewhere
  • Barbara Langhenry, director of the Cleveland Law Department, which had a critical role in planning for the anticipated demonstrations during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this past summer.
  • Carl Smallwood, Partner, Vorys Sater Seymour & Pease LLP; past president, National Conference of Bar Presidents, chairs a local Columbus effort to take advantage of tranquil times to plan ahead, and to enhance trust among communities within the larger community.

Co-sponsors: The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law’s: Program on Law and Leadership; Divided Community Project; Program on Dispute Resolution; Ohio State University Democracy Studies; as well as the Truancy Mediation Project, and Dispute Resolution & Youth.


Listen to the podcast here.


145 Characters or Less

“Our country and communities are facing very serious conversations. Sadly, this event could not be more timely.”-Alan Michaels

“A question cities need to ask is: do we have forums for citizens to express their views? We rely on those when crisis crop up.” -Langhenry

“It is important to cut through the political noise and see if we can plan for civil unrest.”-Smallwood

“All lawyers will have their professional life, but many of us will also find ways to be involved in our communities.”-Smallwood

“All lawyers will have their professional life, but many of us will also find ways to be involved in our communities.”-Smallwood

“Our job is not to prevent civil unrest-it is causing change in this country. Our job is safety.”-Lum

“Our goal is to help protestors have their voice heard. Lawyers can play so many roles in making that happen.”-Lum

“We have to be concerned with parts of this community that are being treated unjustly and are not being heard.”-Smallwood

“We need to create trust at a time when there is not a crisis.”-Smallwood

“People really need to be open to different perspectives. It seems intuitive, but people get entrenched and really do not do it.”-Langhenry

“If police are being less militaristic and more community oriented, they are more likely to partner with citizens.”-Lum

“Not everything can be reduced to a hashtag. Take the time to look at the full breadth b/c many issues are very complicated.”-Langhenry

“Once people get in their corners, they are all about defending their position instead of understanding it.”-Langhenry