It is an honor to be following Debbie Masucci as chair of the Dispute Resolution Section of the American Bar Association. She has taken the section to the next level and left us with the challenge of maintaining high-quality section activities and benefits, including publications.
In that respect, we are pleased to announce an exciting transition with respect to the editorial board of this magazine. Professor Frank Sander, the wonderful longtime chair of the board, will remain as chair emeritus. In addition to Professor Sander’s inestimable contribution, we also want to acknowledge the many and long-term contributions of board members Wayne Brazil, Harry Mazadoorian, Jim McGuire, Richard Reuben and Margaret Shaw. Professor Reuben not only served on the editorial board but worked tirelessly as editor for many years. As a result of these individuals’ contributions, Dispute Resolution Magazine is now recognized as an independent voice and “thought leader” in our field, pushing all of us in new directions and requiring us to look back to see what we need to do to fulfill (or at least attempt to fulfill) our promises. As distinguished as these board members are in their own right, they collectively determined to make their last issue a tribute to their esteemed but characteristically humble chair, Frank, with Professor Reuben serving as guest editor.
The new board includes Professors Josh Stulberg and Nancy Welsh as co-chairs and new members Jim Coben, Michael Lewis, Bennett Picker, Donna Stienstra and Zena Zumeta. Chip Stewart is currently serving as editor but will be cycling off, and Gina Viola Brown will take his place as editor. Our thanks also go to Professor Stewart for his service. Section Chair-Elect Ruth Glick will be the new liaison from the section council. The same high quality of Dispute Resolution Magazine will remain and, no, we are not going paperless, at least in the near future, although all members have access to the magazine online.
I’m also happy to note that the Section of Dispute Resolution has completed and will be making available to section members a new booklet titled “Benefits of Arbitration for Commercial Disputes.” This easy-to-read booklet can be useful with clients and ADR professionals alike in identifying all the various benefits of using arbitration as the last resort of dispute resolution rather than entering into the court system. Now, for the first time under one cover, the advantages and attributes of arbitration are explained. Thanks to Edna Sussman, Barbara Reeves Neal and John Wilkinson for shepherding this project. Section members can go to the section web site (www.americanbar.org/dispute) to access this new benefit.
Thanks to a collaboration between the Section of Dispute Resolution and Suffolk Law School, our members have another benefit: access to videos for teaching and demonstration. The collection is now available for download and can be used in classrooms, bar association CLE programs and other teaching venues. The files can be downloaded directly to your computer, eliminating the need for DVDs or streaming, and you can scroll directly to the scenes you want without having to search or fast-forward. Perhaps most important, these new videos are free.
The topics include negotiation, styles of mediation, full-length mediations, mediation advocacy and med/arb combinations, and instructions for most of the role plays are available on the website. The section particularly appreciates the efforts of Dwight Golann, who led the project, and Inga Watkins, who assisted.
By the time you receive this, Mediation Week, the third week in October, will have passed. The ABA has recognized this week to educate lawyers, dispute resolution professionals, students and the public about mediation and related forms of collaborative problem solving. Throughout the country, in various ways, state and metropolitan bar associations celebrated Mediation Week, which was launched and supported through the efforts of Geetha Ravindra and Inga Watkins in their role as co-chairs of the section’s Mediation Committee.
Make your plans now to join other section members on October 31, 2013, at the Asia-Pacific Mediation Leadership Summit! Plans for a two-day conference at the new Hong Kong Law School, which is co-sponsoring the summit, are being finalized. This will be a high-level, interactive conference with keynote presentations as well as time for creative thinking and networking. Although international mediation is not as widespread as the domestic variety, the forces of globalization suggest that growth is inevitable, and those of us interested in mediation will benefit from understanding how other countries’ laws, civil litigation systems and cultures affect expectations about the process. Such knowledge may help us accommodate differing expectations and work together to design mediation processes that will achieve our goals. If you are interested in attending, please contact the section at (202) 662-1680.
I look forward to a productive and engaging year.
John R. Phillips is Chair of the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution and a partner at the law firm of Husch Blackwell LLP in Kansas City, Chicago & St. Louis. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.