September 30, 2019

September 2019 - Ombuds Committee

Message from the Co-Chairs

We are delighted that the Ombuds Committee is sponsoring the September 2019 edition of Just Resolutions. Many thanks to our authors Andrea Brown, Nicholas Diehl and Natalie Fleury as well as our marvelous Newsletter Chair, Shannon Lynn Burton for diligently writing, compiling and editing this month’s suite of articles for your review, information and enjoyment.  

 As many of you may know, the ombuds committee is composed of both experienced ombuds as well as those interested in, or new to, the field.  We serve all types of ombuds regardless of model or sector.  There are several initiatives and opportunities for engagement in 2019/2020 including: presentations, webinars, publishing articles, authoring books, planning and executing Ombuds Day events and more. If you have an interest in developing greater awareness and use of this powerful dispute resolution mechanism, we welcome you to join us! 

Finally, please join us in celebrating Ombuds Day on October 10, 2019. Ombuds Day takes place on the second Thursday of October and is an opportunity to raise awareness of the ombuds profession, promote a shared understanding of the various types of ombuds, highlight the value of ombuds and encourage greater use of programs, which adhere to accepted standards. If you are in the Chicago, DC or Boulder area, we hope you will attend our ABA DRS Ombuds Day events!  Visit the ABA Ombuds Day site for more information and the 2019 Ombuds Day Toolkit.

Warm regards,

Elizabeth Hill and Jon Lee, Co-chairs

Featured Articles

Making the invisible visible: Creating a safe space in the ombudsman practice to address systemic issues on race
By Andrea Brown

It is our responsibility as ombudsman to acknowledge difficult issues, push the envelope, and create tension for others and sometimes ourselves. As Ombudsman Emeritus at the National Institutes of Health Howard Gadlin said at the 2018 Coalition of Federal Ombudsman Annual Conference, “If we are not generating tension in our agency, then we are not doing our jobs.”  Read more

Beyond a Book Review: Dignity: Its Essential Role in Resolving Conflict
By Natalie Fleury

In the interest of saving time, the main point of this article is that anyone involved in conflict resolution work should read this book. If you have a few more minutes to spare, this article will summarize some of the key points. Read more

Increasing Ombuds Effectiveness and Accountability
By Nicholas Diehl

As the Organizational Ombudsman field continues to grow, it is important for practitioners to find ways to measure the effectiveness of the work. I frequently receive questions from people, both inside and outside of my organization, about what success looks like for an ombuds office.  Read more

Boskey Law Student Essay Competition Results

The ABA Section of Dispute Resolution is pleased to recognize Jon McClurg, a law student at Brigham Young University, J. Reuben Clark Law School, as the winner of the 2019 ABA Boskey Essay Competition.  His essay, Wampum, Buffalo, and Taliban: How embracing lessons on violence and negotiation from the American Indian Wars will help end the War in Afghanistan, was deemed by the James Boskey Judging Committee as the winning entry. 

Ariel Cox, a student at Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, received an Honorable Mention, for her essay, Serve & Protect, Honor & Respect: Restoring the Victims and Rebuilding Police and Community Ties After Racially Charged Civilian-Police Incidents.

The James Boskey ADR Writing Competition is named in memory of James B. Boskey, an intellectual, humanitarian, Seton Hall University law professor, and mediator. The purpose of the competition is to create greater interest in the field of dispute resolution among all law students of the nation, particularly the Law Student Division of the American Bar Association.

ABA Ombuds Day

On Thursday, October 10, 2019, the American Bar Association’s Section of Dispute Resolution Ombuds Committee invites you to participate in the second celebration of a profession that has existed for centuries yet remains relatively unknown and underutilized: the ombuds. This year’s theme is Ombuds: Unusual name. Important service.

Ombuds Day serves as an additional opportunity to educate and raise awareness among the public about the history and practices of the ombuds profession including the various ombuds models, the roles they play, the services they offer and the value provided.

The ABA Section of Dispute Resolution is helping sponsor three regional events in Boulder, Colorado, Chicago, Illinois, and Washington, D.C. visit the ABA Ombuds Day site for programming information and registration.

Resolutions Podcast

Resolutions: A Podcast About Dispute Resolution and Prevention

A conversation with Elizabeth Hill about the roles of an Ombuds and the upcoming ABA Ombuds Day events. Click on the links below to register for an event in the city nearest you.

Ombuds: Unusual Name. Important Service

Listen Now

Mediation Week

ABA Mediation Week will be held during the week of October 13 - 19, 2019. The theme for this year’s ABA Mediation Week is “The Importance of Using Diverse Neutrals”

Organizations and Institutions from around the world will hold events in recognition of ABA Mediation Week.

Learn more about ABA Mediation Week.

17th Annual Advanced Mediation and Advocacy Skills Institute

South Texas College of Law Houston
Houston, TX
November 15-16, 2019

This two-day interactive institute features rare opportunities to learn from some of the leading mediators and advocates in North America. Each plenary session panel features an expert mediator, in-house counsel, and a skilled outside attorney, discussing each phase of the mediation process. Small group discussions led by experts in the field follow the plenary session panels. The opportunity for mediators and advocates to interact in small facilitated groups provides a unique environment to enhance your skill, knowledge and understanding of the mediation process.

Read the Brochure

Arbitration Institute - Registration is now open!

March 9-10, 2020
Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Conner School of Law
Phoenix, AZ

Read the Brochure

New Orleans 2020

Save the Date for the Section of Dispute Resolution’s Spring Conference

New Orleans Sheraton
April 22 – 25, 2020

Join the Spring Conference Countdown community on ABA Connect. We will post conference updates to this community, including how to submit conference program proposals, as well as registration, program details, plenary presenter announcements, special events, and more. To receive updates from the Countdown Community you must join the Community.

Click on “Join Community” in the right-hand corner. on this page to join the Spring Conference Countdown Community.

2020 Spring Conference Sponsorship Opportunities

Ethical Guidance for Mediators

The ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Committee on Mediator Ethical Guidance provides advisory responses to requests for ethical guidance based on the American Bar Association/American Arbitration Association/Association for Conflict Resolution Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators (2005).  The scope of the Committee is limited to the consideration of ethical issues pertaining to mediation.

Submit an Ethics Inquiry to the Committee on Mediator Ethical Guidance

Read the Advisory Opinions Issued by the Committee in the Library of the Dispute Resolution Ethics “Open Forum” Connect Community. 

ABA Representation in Mediation Competition

Registration for the 2019-2020 Representation in Mediation Competition for law students will open in the fall. The ABA is currently recruiting law schools to serve as regional hosts for the competition. The regionals will take place in February and March 2020, and the national finals will be in New Orleans on April 22-23, 2020.

Visit the Representation in mediation competition web site

New this year: Join the ABA Representation in Mediation Competition Connect Community for updates about the competition schedule, rules, registration, and more. You do not need to be an ABA member to join the community, but you will need to create an ABA login.

View the ABA Connect Community for the Representation in Mediation Competition.

ABA Membership – Complimentary Group memberships

ABA members can now join the Law Practice, Solo, Small Firms, and the General Practice Divisions for free. Try out these ABA groups and access their exclusive content to advance your practice.  

Upcoming Webinars

A New Dawn for Worldwide International Mediation
October 23

Mediators around the world were thrilled to hear the recent news from Singapore! Join us for a discussion about the significance of this month?s signing of the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation - known as the Singapore Convention.

Could this be a pivotal moment for the growth of mediation as a method of dispute resolution internationally?

Danny McFadden, CEDR Asia Pacific
Ana M. Sambold, Sambold Law & ADR Services

Excellence in Mediation is not an Accident: Benefits of a Reflective Practice Group
October 30

The presenters will address three questions:

  • How do we learn from experience?
  • How does being in a reflective practice group improve competence?
  • How do I get started with a reflective practice group?

Michael D. Lang, Lang Mediation Services

Laurel Amaya, Law Office of Laurel Tuvim Amaya
Ava J. Abramowitz, The George Washington University

Dispute Resolution Events

Save the Date!
Northwest Dispute Resolution Conference
March 26 and 27, 2020
Seattle, Washington
Conference Information and RFP at

Weinstein JAMS Fellowship Program

The Weinstein JAMS International Fellowship Program constitutes the JAMS Foundation’s primary international initiative to support dispute resolution practitioners worldwide in the promotion and advancement of conflict resolution in their home countries and beyond.

The program is intended specifically for individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to dispute resolution and who wish to increase the availability of dispute resolution education and services in their home countries. 

Fellowship applicants who have experience as lawyers, law professors, court administrators, government officers, ADR practitioners, or judges are given strong preference in the application process. Founded in 2008, the Weinstein JAMS International Fellowship Program has produced over 100 Fellows from more than 70 countries internationally.

Applications for the 2020 Weinstein JAMS Fellowship program are due Nov. 15, 2019..