Intertwining Law, Mediation, and Empathy. Member Spotlight: Ronald Supancic

Ronald Supancic is an affirmed Family Law specialist, one of the first to be certified by the California Board of Legal Specialization, a prestigious judge, a successful writer, and an academic lecturer. His curriculum shines of brilliant achievements in the law field, and he has given back by transmitting his knowledge to new generations of lawyers. He has been a university professor teaching Family Law on four different campuses around California as well as organizing multiple workshops and presentations to professional associations.

From the Supreme Court to the Law Collaborative 

Since his call to the bar in 1970, Ronald’s career has traced remarkable steps. One of these was the admission to the Supreme Court of the United States in 1975. Afterward, Ronald has served as a volunteer judge (Pro Tempore) for the Los Angeles County Superior Court for 25 years. “In the law, you are taught from the very beginning that it is a service, a profession, and you should give it back, out of gratitude for what has been provided to you.”

Furthermore, Ronald founded The Law Collaborative, which focuses on consensual dispute resolution in divorce cases. This work is personal to him as he witnessed his parents go through a turbulent divorce when he was 9-years old. “I am a divorce lawyer with a very different perspective on divorce. Anything that anyone can do to try to ease the pain of a family in crisis is worth doing.” Ronald continues to prioritize helping families in such crucial moments, handling hundreds of cases around contested dissolutions, child custody cases, disputed post-marital proceedings, alimony cases, and prenuptial agreements.

Peace and Mediation: A Long-Standing Commitment 

Ronald’s passion for mediation gradually grew over time and among countless trainings and workshops. He consistently and continually leads trainings now, most recently to a group of young Rotarians on the significance of mediation and dialogue facilitation in their communities. Ronald says that “the work of mediators is so powerful and of a huge need worldwide,” and that he has witnessed that mediation action turns out to be more effective when there is no imposition from above. “MBBI acts only when people call us, when they are receptive and open to peace.” 

Ronald is a founding member of MBBI as a result of his relationship WITH Ken Cloke, Ronald’s “hero and mentor.” He attended the very first international congress in Colorado in a time when the organization only counted a handful of members. Ronald demonstrates great enthusiasm for the work of the Los Angeles MBBI Regional Group, which he has directed for few years: “Los Angeles is a very complex and diversified city, and when there are very different belief systems, conflict can easily occur. I believe we created a program which is a model for the US and around the world.” According to him, the secret ingredient stands in the extreme openness and receptiveness of the Group, which fosters participation and cooperation among members of the local community.

He is extremely enthusiastic about the fact that Rotary International, thanks to its solid fundraising, gives to mediators and peacemakers the possibility to actually implement peace projects all over the world, which would otherwise be majorly unfunded. “I encourage mediators throughout the world to join their local Rotary Club in order to get access to those funds necessary to implement projects which are so urgent.” He depicted the metaphor of a drop of water that, although initially insignificant, joining together with other million drops, gives origin to a stream, then to a river, which finally becomes an ocean: “As these drops of water, we need to be coordinated and work together!”

Empathy is the Key

“People should understand that we are all part of the complexity of the same equation, we are all one,”  is the secret recipe for Ronald. He first realized such important truth when he was sent as a young US-navy petty officer to Japan and found out that Japanese people, so vilified in the American popular imagination, had emotions, fears, and stories to narrate, just like him. “We are taught different things, but the essence of our humanity is deeply entwined, we have to work together.” 

Empathy. Such a powerful tool is the key for MBBI action and the essential requirement for any aspirant peacemaker, Ronald thinks, “you just need a heart and the will to share what you have. Peace starts in your heart.” When asked what brought him to join MBBI, “you can’t bring peace if you aren’t at peace.” And by bringing peace to his own heart, troubled by childhood familial issues, Ronald managed to expand it to external dimensions: his family, the law office and his global commitment with MBBI which he considers a natural outgrowth from the personal plan he had for his life.

Written by Matteo Piovacari: MBBI Writer