January 28, 2016

March - Spring at a Glance

We are delighted to invite you to Seattle for the Section’s 17th Annual Spring Conference this April 16-18, 2015. We look forward to seeing old friends and colleagues, and making new connections as we gather as a community to learn and explore ideas. The Section is very grateful for the incredible support of the Pacific Northwest dispute resolution community and, in particular, to the enthusiastic organizers of the NW ADR Conference, who have agreed to work with us to create another “mega spring conference.” Their collaboration and partnership has helped us to create a bigger, better and more diverse conference.

The Conference Planning Committee have thoroughly enjoyed the daunting process of selecting diverse and relevant topics to create an action-paced event that will hopefully educate, challenge and inspire all of our attendees.  Whether you are an established international arbitrator seeking to advance your knowledge in conducting a more efficient process for disputants, new to the field of ADR seeking to bring conflict resolution processes in a community setting, or a part-time mediator curious how the latest neuroscience research can advance your understanding of decision making, this spring conference has opportunities for you.

We have two very different plenary speakers this year – Richard W. Pound, the founding chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency, who will offer an unique insight into sports doping disputes and the role of ADR in these sometimes high-profile cases, and Professor John Medina, the New York Times bestselling author of “Brain Rules,” who will give an entertaining and thought provoking summary of his research on stress, its impact on decision-making and its relevance to those of us interested in helping parties in distress resolve their disputes.  Our guest speakers will surely give the attendees a reason to get up early each morning of our conference – if the excellent coffee in this caffeine-obsessed city doesn’t do the trick!

As in every conference, we have sessions that will cover a dizzying array of topics that impact and interest our ADR community – mediation, arbitration, technology, ombuds, government and public policy, practice development.  There are programs for a variety of practice areas including labor and employment, family, and commercial disputes. We are offering the ever-popular Dine-Around events for those of you who enjoy a chance to network and discuss specific topics with others in a smaller, more intimate setting, as well as numerous networking and social events throughout the conference. Please check out the online Conference Program for more details.

For the first time the Symposium on ADR in the Courts will be on Thursday, incorporated into the main conference sessions.  This is a great opportunity for practitioners to attend one or more of the court sessions that are of interest. The Court Symposium programs have judges, lawyers, professors and mediators on their panels.  The sessions will address ethics, research, program quality, and the relationship between judges and mediators and ADR and the courts. 

The Legal Educators Colloquium has some terrific programming for professors, adjunct faculty, trainers and other experienced ADR practitioners and educators. Last year we had a very successful resource share for ADR educators on Friday evening, so we are continuing that tradition this year. On Saturday we have sessions on creating programs, teaching negotiation and arbitration, creating research out of anger and two shoptalk opportunities. Our morning shoptalk is about integrating international students into ADR clinics and courses and the afternoon shoptalk will have Oregon Dean Michael Moffitt leading a discussion on the realities and politics of integrating ADR into the curriculum. As usual these symposiums have separate ticketed luncheons where practitioners, judges and professors will gather to network and discuss the sessions.  

Finally, we hope those traveling to the conference will find some time to explore the vibrant city of Seattle with your family, friends and colleagues – whether it a combined visit to world-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly’s newly opened museum located next to the iconic Space Needle, a culinary walking tour through the vibrant Pike Place Market or the historic Pioneer Square, or a few hours enjoying a baseball game between the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers at the beautiful Safeco Field.  There are lots of ways to make memories on your trip to the Pacific Northwest.

Between the conference programs, the networking and social opportunities, the sights and sounds of the city (and the countless gourmet coffee houses), we predict your time in Seattle might indeed be sleepless! Please join us and be part of the ABA SDR Annual Conference, “Solutions in Seattle 2015”.

We would like to thank our inspiring and hard-working conference committee.  They have done an excellent job this year.  We look forward to seeing you in Seattle.

Serena Lee and Kelly Browe Olson

Co-Chairs, 2015 Spring Conference Committee

Seeking 2015-2016 ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Leadership Applications

The Section Council is seeking applicants from section members who are interested in taking on a leadership role with one of the section committees. Committee leadership in the Section of Dispute Resolution comes with substantial benefits.

As a leader, you can:
• Demonstrate your knowledge and reputation in a substantive area of dispute resolution
• Develop leadership skills with hands-on experience and through our quarterly committee chair meetings
• Work with a diverse group of professionals focused on improving the profession
• Establish lasting professional relationships
• Establish national (and international) credentials as a leader in the field

Members may apply to serve as committee chairs, vice-chairs and subcommittee chairs. The deadline to submit an application is May 17, 2015. For more information on committees and the online application, please click here.


The 2015 Representation in Mediation Competition National Round is being held in conjunction with the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Spring Conference next month in Seattle. The competition measures how well law students model appropriate preparation for and representation of a client in mediation. This is the 16th year for the 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. To volunteer for the regional competition please contact the regional contact listed individually below.

Volunteers for the national competition are offered a registration discount for the Section of Dispute Resolution Spring Conference. To volunteer for the national competition in Seattle please click here.

For more information please contact Matthew Conger at Matthew.Conger@americanbar.org


The James Boskey ADR Writing Competition is a project of the ADR in Law Schools Committee. The Boskey Writing Competition is chaired by Professor Andrea Kupfer Schneider, Director, Dispute Resolution Program Marquette University Law School. In memory of James B. Boskey, the aim of the Boskey writing competition is to create greater interest in the field of dispute resolution among law students, particularly the Law Student Division of the American Bar Association. Submissions may address any aspect of dispute resolution practice, theory or research that the contestant chooses. First prize is $1000. The 2015 entry deadline is June 12, 2015. Click here for the Competition Guidelines and Entry Form.


Technology and Ethics: A Guide for Neutrals

By Andrea L. Dooley

Most neutrals use email now, but it was less than a decade ago that most people believed that email was too informal, and was possibly inappropriate for communicating about even basic issues like setting a meeting or hearing date. Most people still faxed hard copies of these communications to one another, believing that the fax confirmation was the best record for showing that there was no ex parte communication or that every party had notice of the relevant information. With the rise of e-filing in state and federal courts and the acceptance of electronic service, most attorneys have shifted to the current mindset, where email is seen as the best and easiest way of ensuring that all parties are communicated with simultaneously, and the record is kept digitally, rather than on that old fading fax paper. Read More.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) mandates that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) conduct a study on the use of pre-dispute arbitration clauses in consumer financial markets. The CFPB looked at arbitration clauses in six different consumer finance markets: credit cards, checking accounts, prepaid cards, payday loans, private student loans, and mobile wireless contracts.  The Bureau analyzed consumer contracts and court data and studied arbitration clauses in finance markets that have the largest number of consumers. However, arbitrations involving investment advisors and brokers fall outside of the CFPB’s jurisdiction.

The study found that consumers filed roughly 600 arbitration cases and 1,200 individual federal lawsuits on average each year in the markets studied. The CFPB noted that it is uncommon for a company to try to force an individual lawsuit into arbitration but arbitration clauses are used regularly to block class actions. In addition, over 90 percent of the arbitration agreements the CFPB studied expressly prohibited class arbitrations.

The CFPB also surveyed credit card consumers and found that over three quarters of them acknowledged they did not know whether their credit card agreement contained an arbitration clause.

The CFPB indicated that they would review the results in order to determine their next steps regarding the use of pre-dispute arbitration clauses in the businesses covered by the CFPB's jurisdiction. Read the full CFPB Arbitration Study here.


This year the Symposium on ADR in the Courts will take place on Thursday of the conference. Court program administrators, researchers, neutrals and others who work with court dispute resolution programs have an array of programs to attend on Thursday. Attendees can review Symposium Programs by looking at the Agenda Summary, scrolling through the Thursday programs, or using the search feature to locate all Court Symposium programming.

The Winter 2015 issue of Dispute Resolution Magazine, “Arbitration" is now available. You can view the issue as a PDF or online.

Recruit New ABA Members for a Chance to Win! 

Recruit new ABA members by telling friends about the free trial ABA and Section membership. By helping recruit new members you can win Career Coaching Sessions and a $1,000 Shopping Spree! Visit www.ambar.org/ABAWorkLife  to learn more. ABA membership is more valuable than ever!

No purchase necessary to enter or win. Void where prohibited by law. Visit www.ambar.org/ABAWorkLife for full rules. And don’t forget to encourage your friends to choose the Section of Dispute Resolution when they sign up for the free trial membership.

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Do you have news to share?  We are very interested in learning about ADR happenings, practice area changes, new state and local legislation, or member news. 


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Copyright 2013© 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.