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March 01, 2017

February 2017 - Ombuds Committee

Perhaps it is not ironic that in these contentious times there is so much activity and innovation in the field of dispute resolution. The world of ombuds programs has been especially active and the ABA Dispute Resolution Section Ombuds Committee has provided a meeting ground for communication and action among all types of ombuds. The fall issue of Dispute Resolution Magazine included three excellent articles, one locating the ombuds in the context of the broader dispute resolution world and two describing exemplary programs, one in the corporate world (McKinsey and Company), and one in a federal agency (The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau). The four featured articles report on some recent developments in and thoughts about ombuds programs.

Readers will find especially useful Wendy Kamenshine’s overview and guide to reading the recently released report and recommendation from the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) on ombuds in the federal government titled A Reappraisal – The nature and Value of Ombudsmen in the Federal Agencies. Her article includes a summary of the recommendations and a description of the many different types of ombuds and their defining characteristics. Haavi Morreim’s article discusses the use of organizational ombuds in healthcare institutions – a relatively recent development that is poised for significant growth. Elizabeth Schwartz Hill gives us a window into outreach efforts in the ombuds world, also a recent development and another sign that the ombuds field is maturing. Finally, Paul Sotoudeh shares his thoughts on developing “smart” intake and case delegation processes that insures input form senior personnel in an ombuds program. 

Howard Gadlin
Ombuds Committee

Administrative Conference of the United States’ Recommendations and Report on the Federal Ombudsman: A Reader’s Guide
By Wendy Kamenshine

Over 26 years after its first study of the topic, the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) recently completed a new study on the federal ombudsman (ombuds) entitled “A Reappraisal—The Nature and Value of Ombudsmen in Federal Agencies.Read More

Organizational Ombuds in Healthcare Institutions
By Haavi Morreim

Conflict is abundantly familiar to lawyers, including those who work with healthcare clients. Conflict can roil up in contract discussions such as payor-provider remuneration, merger/acquisition negotiations, (non)compliance with regulations such as Medicare, criminal actions such as the False Claims Act, or litigation in response to alleged malpractice or breach of contract. Professional mediators and arbitrators are likewise eminently familiar with these kinds of dispute. Read More

Ombuds Outreach Efforts Promote Better Understanding and Awareness of Ombuds Programs
By Elizabeth Schwartz Hill

Ombudsman Programs – Classical, Organizational, Advocate, and others – provide significant benefits and advantages to individuals and organizations in managing conflict. Recognizing the important role of ombuds in promoting the effective resolution of disputes, the Dispute Resolution Section reestablished an Ombuds Committee in 2013, which includes representatives from classical, organizational, and advocate ombuds programs. The mission of the American Bar Association (ABA) Dispute Resolution’s Ombuds Committee is to promote a better understanding of and increased utilization of appropriately designed, supported, and implemented ombuds programs in organizations of all types. Read More

Systematic Process for the Higher-Volume Ombudsman
By Paul Sotoudeh

One year ago, in this very space, Miriam Nisbet and Alicia Booker collaborated on “FOIA and Dispute Resolution: Together at Last”. That piece, in part, described how an ombudsman, the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), adds value to FOIA processes government-wide. Read More

The ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Council held its Mid-Year Meeting at the JW Marriott Marquis in downtown Miami on February 4, 2017.

The Council had the opportunity to hear from a number of guests including Paul Moxley about the work of the Rule of Law Initiative and the role it plays in the overall ABA structure, William Weisenberg from Ohio and Nicole VanderDoes with the American Bar Association regarding Resolution 102 and issues surrounding access to justice and dispute resolution and the new directors of marketing and publications for the ABA and Jill Nuppeneau and Donna Gollmer to discuss the new publications models.

Additionally, the Council voted to support several resolutions including Resolution 102 mentioned above and Resolution 117A on the Uniform Arbitration in Family Law Act. A new co-sponsorship policy was adopted as was the report from the Committee on Committees as to the structure and number of the Dispute Resolution Section committees.

Chuck Howard presented a section on the proposed standards for Ombuds and the new A.C.U.S. report and there was considerable discussion about possible sponsorship options that generated a number of suggested potential sponsors. Several new initiatives and taskforces were approved including the proposal to hold a Practice Development Institute and ratifying the creation of an Elder Abuse Screening tool taskforce.

Develop your skills and learn from leading experts in the field. The conference agenda includes excellent programming on mediation, arbitration, negotiation, and specialty practice areas all geared toward making you a better Dispute Resolution professional.

Whether you are new to dispute resolution practice or have been practicing for decades, the 2017 ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Spring Conference has something for you.

Early Bird registration ends March 1, 2017

10th Annual Arbitration Training Institute
June 15-16, 2017
Chicago, Illinois

This two-day training will be presented by a panel of nationally recognized arbitrators and arbitration advocates. The experts will describe best practices, followed by small group discussion facilitated by leading arbitrators and advocates. This interactive program will provide you with a unique learning environment and valuable industry contacts.

Volunteers Needed for the Representation In Mediation Competition

The 2017 Representation in Mediation Competition National Round is being held on April 19-20 in conjunction with the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Spring Conference in San Francisco. The competition measures how well law students model appropriate preparation for and representation of a client in mediation. This is the 18th year for the national competition. UC Hastings is the local host 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].

Structured Negotiation Book Talk & Signing
March 29, 2017
5:30 PM -7:00PM
American Bar Association
1050 Connecticut Avenue, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036

Lainey Feingold will be presenting with Linda Dardarian, co-creator of Structured Negotiation. The event is sponsored by the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution, the ABA Disability Rights Commission, the American Council of the Blind and the American Foundation for the Blind.

CIArb Arbitrating Patent Disputes: Innovative Approaches and New Concerns

March 22, 2017
Live and Online

23rd Annual Northwest Dispute Resolution Conference

Seattle, WA
1:00PM - 5:15PM
Thursday, March 23, 2017
8:30AM - 5:15PM
Friday, March 24, 2017

The 23rd Annual Northwest Dispute Resolution Conference will be held on March 23 and 24, 2017, 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 communications, negotiations and other interpersonal skills applicable to work and personal life. Speakers include Ken Cloke, Nina Meierding, Kim Kovach, John Medina and Lee Jay Berman.

  • Florida International University College of Law
  • Fordham University School of Law
  • Stetson University College of Law
  • Thomas Jefferson School of Law
  • University of California, Hastings College of Law
  • University of Denver - Sturm College of Law
  • University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
  • University of Missouri School of Law.

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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.