This Award was created by the Dispute Resolution Section and approved by the American Bar Association Board of Governors to recognize individuals and organizations that use their problem-solving skills to forge creative solutions. It is presented annually in conjunction with the Section’s Spring Conference.
The Award honors John W. Cooley, a renowned arbitrator, mediator, and professor of conflict resolution at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law and Kellogg Dispute Resolution Research Center. He wrote several alternative dispute resolution handbooks, including The Creative Problem Solver’s Handbook for Negotiators and Mediators, and was a frequent consultant in the design of dispute resolution systems.
Eligibility and Criteria
- Individual members of the legal profession and/or an institution who has exhibited extraordinary skill in either promoting the concept of the lawyer as problem-solver or resolving individual, institutional, community, state, national, or international problems. Award recipients will be acknowledged for their use or promotion of collaboration, negotiation, mediation, counseling, decision-making, and problem-solving skills to help parties resolve a problem in a creative and novel way.
- The nominees for this Award in both orientation and skills must demonstrate:
- The ability to analyze situations or to consider expert analysis from a multi-disciplinary perspective, taking into account the broad array of client or party interests and the multitude of factors and circumstances that impact the "problem" presented;
- The ability to translate positions into interests;
- The ability to generate and assess – and to help the client or parties involved generate and assess – both conventional and novel options to address the problem; and
- The ability to build consensus around an option which best addresses the goals and interests of a client or the involved participants.
The Chair or Co-Chairs of the John W. Cooley Lawyer as Problem Solver Award Selection Committee will be appointed each year by the Chair of the DR Section in consultation with the DR Section Chair-Elect both as of the DR Section’s Spring Conference. The Selection Committee may be comprised solely of the appointed Co-Chairs or the Co-Chairs may recruit three additional DR Section members to serve with them on the Selection Committee.