This issue of the Dispute Resolution Magazine continues the theme of civility in public discourse, which is the theme for the Section of Dispute Resolution in this bar year. Who better than the Dispute Resolution Section and the dispute resolvers who are members of the Section to promote this principle?
As Richard Reuben expresses in his piece, promoting public discourse in all walks of life by dispute resolvers is an important area of growth for our Section leading to one of the most important benefits of being a member. Lisa Bingham’s thoughtful article emphasizes the American Bar Association’s “Call to Action” for lawyers to model civility. She maps out upstream and downstream processes that can be adopted providing concrete examples. Sandy Heierbacher introduces well-tested methods but terms new to many in the dispute resolution community such as “Conversation Cafès” and “World Cafès.” She demonstrates how creativity and initiative can transform discussions into collaborative action through technology.
The theme of civility in public discourse will be showcased during the Section’s Annual Spring Conference in April in Mark your calendar for April 18 to 21. Go to the Section’s website www.ambar.org/dr2012 and take advantage of our early bird registration rates. The Annual Spring Conference convenes the largest number of dispute resolvers worldwide under one tent. The course offerings span a wide range of topics sure to attract people new to the field as well as those with decades of experience. During the conference, we honor those who have made a difference in dispute resolution. The award honorees are inspirational and serve as models for what can be accomplished by others entering the field.
The Dispute Resolution Section is the 12th largest Section of the . A quarter of our members are newly admitted to the bar. About 34 percent of our members are over 60, and a quarter of our members are solo practitioners. For the last two years, the American Bar Association has promoted a “Member-get-a-member” program. Under the program, the ABA offers a free trial membership to people who are not current members. This is an opportunity to publicize the benefits of being a member of the Dispute Resolution and highlight the opportunity to associate with our many members who are committed to the dispute resolution field.
The opportunity to promote civility in public discourse is only one of the many benefits of being a member of the Section. The major benefit is the ability to make a difference, whether on a local or global basis. Join with me to recruit people to our Section to we can continue to make a difference with through collaboration and service.
Deborah Masucci is Chair of the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution and Vice President of the Office of Dispute Resolution at Chartis. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.