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April 24, 2024

Letter from the Chair: A Spring Celebration of Our Section's Achievements

Ana Sambold

As springtime unfolds with its vibrant hues and warmer days, it awakens a joyful sense of transformation and hopeful anticipation. Inspired by this flourishing season, I am delighted to share with you some of our Section's latest accomplishments and collective achievements. 

On February 5, 2024, during the ABA Mid-Year Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, the House of Delegates (HOD) unanimously approved two Resolutions that we have tirelessly advocated for, culminating years of dedicated effort and steadfast work.

The first, Resolution 500, is a landmark advocacy for Early Dispute Resolution (EDR). This Resolution “urges lawyers and all interested parties to increase the informed and voluntary use of EDR: party-directed, non-adjudicative approaches to resolving disputes in a time-efficient and cost-effective manner, including, but not limited to, direct negotiation, mediation, and ombuds.”

Our Section was the primary author of Resolution 500, a testament to the collective efforts and dedication of our current EDR Committee Co-Chairs, Ellie Vilendrer and Felicia Harris Hoss, our former EDR Committee Co-Chair and current Council member Mary Cullen and Ombuds Committee Co-Chair Megan Willoughby. Additionally, we are grateful for all the support and invaluable guidance provided by former Section Chairs and current delegates David Larson and James Alfini, our Section Director Jennifer Michel, former Section Chair Myra Selby, and Merril Hirsh.

United in our efforts and through countless hours of collaboration with other Sections, we turned our vision into reality. Resolution 500 and its accompanying Report can be found on the ABA website.

The second Resolution to receive the HOD’s blessing was Resolution 703. With this Resolution, “the American Bar Association approves the Uniform Collaborative Law Rules and Uniform Collaborative Law Act, promulgated by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 2010, as appropriate Rules or an appropriate Act for those states desiring to adopt the specific substantive law suggested therein.”

Our Section took an active and pivotal role in presenting this resolution to the HOD in partnership with the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL). The principal drafters of the report were Professor Kristen Blankley, the former chair of our Section’s Ethics Committee, and Kevin Scudder, who was the chair of our Collaborative Committee and whom we sadly lost around this time last year. This resolution honors Kevin’s memory and pays tribute to his legacy and passion for Collaborative Law.

We also wish to express our deep appreciation for our current Section’s Collaborative Law Co-Chairs, Robert Merlin and Dr. Anita Dorczak for their unwavering support. Resolution 703 and its accompanying Report can be found here.

Third, I am excited to announce the establishment of the Civil Discourse Task Force. Our goal with this initiative is to effectively implement Resolution 501, which was approved by the HOD at the 2023 ABA Annual Meeting in Denver.  The Resolution asks the HOD to reaffirm Resolution 11A108 promoting the principle of civility as a foundation for democracy and the rule of law and urging “all lawyers, ABA member entities, and other bar associations to take meaningful steps to enhance the constructive role of lawyers in promoting a more civil and deliberative public discourse.” Resolution 501 can be found here.

This Civil Discourse Task Force is Chaired by Hon. Bruce Meyerson, and with the expertise of Grande Lum, Nancy Welsh, Jim Alfini, and Terry Amsler, we are starting with a comprehensive study of how civil and deliberative public discourse is integrated across law school curricula beyond the confines of dispute resolution.

These outstanding achievements for our Section demonstrate that together, we can be a mighty force for change. In closing and in the spirit of this flourishing season, I leave you with an Irish well-wish:

"May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life’s passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!"

Have a great spring, and thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Section Chair.

Yours in service,

Ana Sambold

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