National Cultural Competency Forum for Legal Profession to Take Place on Oct. 20, 2022

On Oct. 20, 2022, in honor of National Conflict Resolution Day, five non-profit organizations from California, New Jersey, New York and Florida are uniting to co-host the 2022 National Cultural Competency Forum 2022(NCCF). The online event is entitled EAST MEETS WEST: CULTURAL COMPETENCY/SENSITIVITY FORUM FOR MEDIATORS, JUDGES, LAWYERS AND OTHER LEGAL PROFESSIONALS and is co-hosted by Cultural Competency in Family Practice in California (CCFP), the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators (NJAPM), the New York City Bar's Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Florida Center for Cultural Competence, and the Iranian American Lawyers Association. 

Co-moderating the NCCF are Abbas Hadjian (California) Lawrence R. Jones, Joni Jones, Margarita Echevarria (New Jersey), James. A Lewis V (New York) and Gail Price-Wise (Florida). The program is sponsored by Our Family Wizard and features 26 speakers from throughout the country on issues addressing disputes between persons of different backgrounds and cultures. Honorary co-sponsors of the NCCF include Rutgers University Law School, University of West Los Angeles Law School, Monmouth University (President's Council on Diversity and Inclusion), Montclair University, Kean University (Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Diversity Council on Global Education and Citizenship), Autism Speaks, the National Disability Rights Network, and the Academy of Professional Mediators, and others. The program will be nationally released through the hosting organizations on Oct. 20, free of charge as a public service.

Lawrence R. Jones, Chair of the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators' Committee on Diversity, Inclusion, and Cultural Competency, stated: "NJAPM is extremely excited to be jointly collaborating with all of these energetic and socially conscious organizations from sister states to create this first-time national program on such a significant subject. The NCCF is open to all, and the material which each diverse panel is covering is comprehensive and valuable for both new and experienced professionals alike."

Abbas Hadjian, an Iranian American journalist and attorney who chairs California's annual Cultural Competency in Family Practice (CCFP) program and chairs the Iranian American Lawyers Association in California, began professional education and focus on the link of culture to Family Law practice 15 years ago. According to Hadjian, "It is important to focus on the ABCD principles of cultural competency. Principle A: The attorneys are Architects, like Michelangelo, Frank Gehry, and Steve Jobs. Principle B: We all carry an invisible backpack, anytime, all the time, everywhere, in or out of courtrooms. Principle C: As attorneys, we must be civil. Professions have expected characteristics. An attorney is expected to speak, and those in the legal profession must be civil, and act diplomatically. Principle D: Legal professionals are diverse but united."

James Lewis, former Executive Director for the NYC Bar Office of Diversity Equity Inclusion and Belonging, and Chief DEI Officer for the law firm of Cole Schotz, stated, "With a cross-section of judges, legal professionals, and practitioners, this program offers the unique opportunity for participants to learn from a highly successful diverse group of individuals who are deeply wedded to advancing cultural competence within the profession. This is a unique opportunity to learn best practices and receive thoughtful and inspiring insights from recognized thought leaders throughout the country."

Margarita Echevarria, Vice-President of NJAPM, commented: "The need to grow in cultural competence in all legal forums, but especially ADR environments, is related to increasing belief and trust in our judicial system. This program offers a number of lenses for participants through which this goal may be understood and realized."

Gail Price-Wise of the Florida Center for Cultural Competence added, "Biases are automatic thoughts and feelings that come into our heads whether or not we want them. In anti-bias training, it is essential to create a safe environment for people to do some honest reflection."

Matthew Havrevold of Our Family Wizard (OFW) summed up the spirit and intent of the program. "Our Family Wizard is honored to be a sponsor of this historic National Cultural Competency Forum. OFW's mission is to help families living separately thrive, and this includes all families from every type of background and way of life. Cultural competency is a core tenet of OFW's value to champion inclusion, for both our employees and our customers, and we could not be prouder to support this program and the amazing group of expert panelists behind it."

Attendees may seek continuing legal education credits in certain applicable jurisdictions for an administrative fee of $35. In New Jersey, the NCCF program has been pre-approved for five hours of ethics and diversity/inclusion credits.

For registration and more information, contact:

NEW JERSEY: (email:

CALIFORNIA:; (email:

NEW YORK: (email:

FLORIDA: (email:


Source: NJAPM