The Wisconsin Special Education Mediation System helps parents and schools work together to resolve disputes about special education.
We do not provide legal advice or advocacy for either parents or districts, and we do not mediate 504 plan disputes.

Jill Hamill Sopha, Pewaukee, WI

Jill Hamill Sopha

Name: Jill Hamill Sopha

Location: Pewaukee, WI – available statewide

Education:

  • University of Wisconsin Law School, Law Degree (J.D.), 1996
  • University of Wisconsin Business School, Bachelors of Business Administration degree (BBA),1993

Recent Mediation Trainings:

  • Wisconsin Special Education Mediation System Training (5 days); Milwaukee – September 2017
  • Mediating the Litigated Case (6 days); Strauss Institute at the Pepperdine School of Law, Malibu CA – August 2016
  • Center for Conflict Resolution’s 40-Hour Performance-Based Mediation Skills Training – April/May 2016

I am a full-time mediator of employment disputes. So, much of my private mediation practice involves very difficult and often highly emotional situations where there has been a breakdown of a relationship. Often the parties have hired lawyers, and the matter may be in or quickly heading toward court. I am very experienced in dealing with individuals (and their lawyers) in highly emotional disputes where a close working relationship has been broken.

As a mediator for the WSEMS, I aim to provide the parties with a comfortable process where they are able express their concerns. I help the parties identify the key issues that need to be resolved, and then work with them to identify possible solutions. The goal of the mediation has 2 parts: (1) to reach a voluntary agreement that is acceptable to both sides, and (2) to help the parties communicate in a way that will help them to successfully work together going forward.

I have spent my entire career (20+ years) helping parties both avoid and successfully engage difficult disputes. Before I opened my mediation practice, I spent 15 years working for Harley-Davidson as the lead in-house employment attorney. During that time, I was a participant in many mediations. I also used mediation and negotiation skills on a daily basis to avoid and resolve hundreds of workplace disputes. These situations included claims of disability discrimination, requests for disability accommodations as well as disability and family leave issues.

In addition to my mediation practice, I am an Adjunct Professor at Marquette Law School, where I teach law students how to best represent their clients in mediations. I am also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee’s School of Continuing Education.

I have a strong personal interest in special education. In college and law school, I was a volunteer coach for the Special Olympics. Like many others, I have friends and family with various disabilities. I have obtained my education through public schools, and my two children both attend public school.