Laurel Kaufer is a Social Entrepreneur, Attorney, Mediator and Law Professor in Los Angeles, CA, who was named 2012 California Lawyer Attorney of the Year for Pro Bono Services.
As co-founder of Prison of Peace, Kaufer has taken on the profound task of transforming incarcerated men and women into Peacemakers. In response to a request from an inmate to teach mediation to a group of lifers and long-termers, in order to reduce the violence in prison, she created a program which provides communication, peacemaking and mediation skills to inmates and then prepares them to train others. In the process of learning, using and sharing these skills with others in the prison environment, these women shift from Serving Life to Living a Life of Service.
Following Hurricane Katrina, Kaufer founded the Mississippi Mediation Project to train members of hard-hit, underserved communities in communication skills and conflict resolution, strengthening their physical, cultural and economic renewal. Kaufer has been a persistent consumer advocate with regard to health insurance issues. In addition, she works tirelessly to promote the use of appropriate conflict resolution systems in diplomatic and public policy arenas.
Kaufer is a past chair of the California State Bar Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution, a Diplomat of the California and National Academies of Distinguished Neutrals and a regular instructor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is also a legal consultant on television, film and theater projects.