I am delighted to begin my year as Chair of the Dispute Resolution Section with the mission of sustaining and enhancing the Section’s success in promoting excellence in the field of dispute resolution. To that end, I look forward to making our Section “Bigger, Better, and Stronger” by emphasizing and improving the professional programs we deliver, expanding our reach internationally, providing inclusivity and connection for our members, continuing our commitment to gender and diversity initiatives, and promoting civility in the law and beyond.
This issue of Dispute Resolution Magazine focuses on family. What could be more appropriate than this theme, which brings to mind Sister Sledge’s 1979 hit tune “We Are Family?” This refrain, which so many of us have danced to, reminds us of the connection we feel in our commitment to strive for excellence and resolve disputes intelligently and amicably. We are family in our relations to the greater ABA and its 20 other sections, many of which we collaborate with in education and other programming. We are family to the many international dispute resolvers who have found a home in our Section and travel great distances to attend our meetings. Above all, we are family to each other in our universal commitment to the importance of using appropriate methods of dispute resolution, whether we are practitioners, academics, court-connected staff, advocates, or students.
We have so much in common, yet we always learn from each other, and the coming months will offer new opportunities to do so. By the time you read this, we will have celebrated ABA Mediation Week, from October 13 through October 19, as part of a nationwide effort by state and local bar associations to set aside time to educate lawyers, litigants, members of the judiciary, public officials, and the general public about the value of mediation. Recognizing the importance of dispute resolvers, advocates, and policy makers in a time of increasing cultural diversity and complexity, this year’s theme was “Making a World of Difference: Bridging Difference in Positions, Perspectives, and People Through Mediation.”
Our 11th Annual Advanced Mediation and Advocacy Skills Institute, another highlight of the Section’s educational programs, will be held in Nashville on November 21 and November 22. This two-day conference is packed with instruction from prominent mediators, opportunities for role-plays, and break-out sessions to train mediators in sophisticated techniques of dispute resolution. Of course Nashville, a city with music and harmony all its own, is an additional reason to attend.
Please reserve April 2 through April 5, 2014, for our spring conference in Miami. We expect an exciting lineup of programs, speakers, and events to highlight our 21st year as a Section, so stay tuned for more information as plans get finalized. Other dates to add to your calendar are June 5 and June 6, 2014, when we will offer our popular Advanced Arbitration Institute in Washington, DC.
Dispute Resolution Magazine keeps our family informed about everything going on in our profession. Whether you have decades of experience in family law or know little about family dispute resolution practices, this issue has articles that will challenge and inspire you. Susan M. Yates and Peter Salem have written an article that explores the historical development of family dispute resolution. Sharon Press and Andrew Schepard offer an informative look at how family dispute resolution and other areas of practice have influenced each other, and Julie Macfarlane provides an inside look at her study of self-represented parties and why all of us practicing law and dispute resolution must be aware of the growing number of self-represented litigants. Susan D. Hartman and Susan J. Butterwick, innovators in elder dispute resolution, give us insight into this valuable and under-utilized application of ADR. Kelly Browe Olson’s article about intimate partner violence reminds us of the crucial importance of screening cases to ensure that collaborative processes are appropriate for the parties and that all participants (including attorneys and mediators) are safe and secure in the process.
This issue also includes regular features: book reviews of three recent ADR publications, an international dispatch covering arbitration and mediation of investment disputes, and ADR Cases.
As I start my year as Chair, I encourage you to become more involved in the Section, whether by increasing your participation in our committees, our annual meeting, and other education programs, writing, or working on projects that enhance the mission of our Section. I look forward to a strong kinship with you all.
Ruth V. Glick is Chair of the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution and a commercial and employment mediator and arbitrator in the San Francisco Bay area. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.