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February 01, 2018

February 2018 - Ombuds Committee

Registration for the Spring Conference is open. Visit the conference web site for hotel and travel information, registration rates, a tentative schedule at a glance, and the online conference program book.

Make your reservations at the Washington Hilton soon; the deadline for making hotel reservations at our discounted ABA rate ends Monday, March 12, 2018 at 5 pm ET.

Volunteers Needed for the Representation In Mediation Competition

The 2018 Representation in Mediation Competition National Round is being held on April 4-5 in conjunction with the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Spring Conference at the Washington Hilton in Washington, DC. The competition measures how well law students model appropriate preparation for and representation of a client in mediation. This is the 19th year for the national competition.

The ABA Section of Dispute Resolution seeks experienced mediators and lawyers to volunteer for these competitions. We need lawyers experienced with interest-based negotiation to judge the students in the competition. We also need mediators (lawyers and non-lawyers) to serve as mock mediators.

Volunteers for the national competition are offered a registration discount for the Section of Dispute Resolution Spring Conference. Please fill out this quick form to indicate your interest in serving as a competition volunteer.

For more information please contact Linda Warren Seely at [email protected].

I Can Relate!
By Louise Phipps Senft

Did you see the ABA’s recent report from the Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being (LWB)? Sobering. The Report says we have a lot of unhappy lawyers in our profession. It also reports that lawyer unhappiness is resulting in staggering rates of depression, alcoholism, suicide and other mental and emotional ailments. Serious stuff. Read More

Are You a Relational or Transactional Practitioner?
By J. Kim Wright

Marketers divide the population of customers/clients into two groups: the transactional and the relational. This is a new use of the word “transactional” in law, but I think there are some important lessons for lawyers to consider whether they want to be purely transactional or relational. Read more

The Relational Practices Task Force of the ABA DR section is seeking proposals for speakers for our Telesummit to be scheduled September 10-14, 2018.

What’s a Telesummit?

A telesummit is like an online conference, with a series of speakers, workshops, and panels of experts organized around a specific theme. Our theme is I can relate! Skills, Ideas, and Models for Engaging Differences.

What is the format of the Telesummit?

Programs will be offered for about two hours a day for five consecutive days, around 20 programs over the course of the week. Each offering will be 6, 18, or 30 minutes long, offering a rich collection of topics and speakers.  Most will be presented by video. A few may be audio. Some are live. Others are pre-recorded. They may be interviews or talks, interactive or not.

What sort of content will be included?

The content will be a combination of CLE programs and informational programs. Material will appeal to a broad audience: attorneys, law students, ombuds, mediators, facilitators, doctors, business people, and peace builders in other industries.

Some programs will be pre-recorded while others will be live. During the week, participants may engage in scheduled live interactive sessions in real time. We will also create a Facebook group for on-going interactions.

We hope to create an agenda that is both informative and engaging.

Who are the Speakers?

Proposals will be selected on the basis of relevance to the theme, conference participants, and the mission of the Relational Task Force. All proposals should directly address the issue of how the topic is relevant to the theme. Quality of the proposal and experience of the presenter will also be considered. We encourage new voices and honor those who have been working in this field for a long time. A note:  We expect that proposals will shape the program theme. Some otherwise excellent programs may not be chosen if they do not fit with the character of other presentations.

What if I have more questions?

The Task Force has created a simple website and your questions may be answered there. Otherwise, send us an email at [email protected] and one of the committee members will get back to you.

Practice Development Institute
June 22-23
Chicago, IL

This two day program provides successful models for implementing strategies to build a profitable practice as both a mediator and as a peacemaking lawyer or other family professional.

Participants will learn new ways to help clients stay out of court and explore the personal and ethical dimensions of collaborative practice, solving unbundled legal services, and other cutting edge best practices.

Registration is now open!

May 17-18, 2018
Akerman LLP
Miami, FL

Presented by nationally recognized experts, this two-day training features sessions on every stage of the arbitral process examined from the vantage point of neutrals, advocates, administrators and in-house counsel. Small group discussions allow participants to interact in depth with the faculty and each other. Substantive sessions address particular areas of arbitral practice.

New Jersey Consumer Affairs Mediation Training Seminar
March 12-14, 2018
124 Halsey Street
Newark, New Jersey

This seminar is recognized by the New Jersey Administrative Office of the courts as satisfying it’s 18 hour mandatory training for court appointed mediators pursuant to Court Rule 1:40-12. The Unit, established in May of 1992, uses volunteer mediators and arbitrators to assist in resolving a variety of disputes referred from various State agencies.

For more information, please contact Delores Smith at [email protected]

On behalf of the Ombuds Committee, we are pleased to present the February 2018 issue of Just Resolutions eNewsletter. The Ombuds Committee seeks to promote a better understanding and increased utilization of appropriately designed, supported, and implemented ombuds programs in organizations of all types.

Demand for ombuds services is on the rise, whether to address inequities stemming from prejudices, or to help people navigate ethical decisions in increasingly complex bureaucracies. We see the critical role that ombuds serve in Lauren Marx’s and Carole Houk’s timely article, To Effectively Address Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, We Need to Lower the Cost of Speaking Up. In this #MeToo era, we hope that more organizations will consider offering ombuds programs to give voice to the unempowered.

This issue of Just Resolutions also highlights our Committee’s progress in ensuring that ombuds programs have the ability to operate in accordance with appropriate standards. Natalie Fleury’s article informs us about the ABA’s recent Ombuds Resolution, Resolution 103. Roy Baroff’s and Jon Lee’s article, Is It Time for a Model Organizational Ombuds Act? reveals the work being done an important project of the Ombuds Legislative Subcommittee. The Subcommittee will continue to work on this issue as well as monitor relevant pending legislation.

Finally, we broaden our horizons and take a step outside of the U.S. as Shirley Nakata shares a different perspective on conflict problem-solving, from Canada, but relevant to all conflict resolution professionals, in Fairness and the Ecology of Conflict. We would like to thank all of the authors for their work, as well as Elizabeth Hill and Randy Williams for editing and coordinating this effort.

Charles “Chuck” Howard and Caroline Adams
Ombuds Committee Co-chairs

Is It Time for a Model Organizational Ombuds Act?
By Roy Baroff and Jon Lee  

Let’s start from the beginning—what is an organizational ombuds? The simple answer is to think about what many people do when they have a concern, issue, or conflict. They usually talk it over with someone—the adage “two heads are better than one” comes to mind!  An ombuds can be that second person with whom to talk something over, be a sounding board, help develop options, and help navigate the situation through four unique features that set it apart from any other role in an organization. Read more

An Ombuds Resolution for the 21st Century: Resolution 103 Passes Without Opposition
By Natalie Fleury

On August 24, 2017, the most recent American Bar Association (ABA) Ombuds Resolution, Resolution 103, passed the ABA House of Delegates with the support of several other sections and without opposition. Read more

To Effectively Address Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, We Need to Lower the Cost of Speaking Up.
By Lauren Marx and Carole Houk

In the wake of several high profile news reports and a wave of allegations that highlighted widespread sexual harassment and retaliation in the workplace, the pressure is mounting to transform the workplace into an environment that is safe and respectful for all employees. But how? Read more

Fairness and the Ecology of Conflict
By Shirley R Nakata

In my first year as an ombudsperson, it was with great interest that I observed a difference between ombuds practice in Canada and the U.S. While attending my first U.S. ombuds conference, I was surprised by how little I heard about the concept of “fairness” in the discourse and in the central function of conflict management and resolution in ombuds work. Read more

24th Annual Northwest Dispute Resolution Conference
Thursday, March 22, and Friday, March 23, 2018

The 24th Annual Northwest Dispute Resolution Conference will be held on March 22 and 23, 2018, at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle. It features a wide variety of dispute resolution topics in more than 45 sessions covering communication and negotiation skill for neutrals and advocates. Speakers include Bruce Edwards, Randy Kiser, Ken Cloke, Rich Birke, and Nina Meierding.

The Ombuds Committee seeks to promote a better understanding and increased utilization of appropriately designed, supported, and implemented ombuds programs in organizations of all types, including law firms.

Thank you to the Ombuds Committee for producing the February issue of Just Resolutions!

Copyright 2018© by the American Bar Association. All rights reserved. This information or any or portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.

The materials contained herein represent the opinions of the authors and editors and should not be construed to be those of either the American Bar Association or Section of Dispute Resolution unless adopted pursuant to the bylaws of the Association. Nothing contained herein is to be considered as the rendering of legal advice for specific cases, and readers are responsible for obtaining such advice from their own legal counsel. These materials and any forms and agreements herein are intended for educational and informational purposes only.