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February 14, 2024

Letter from the Chair

Ana Sambold

Happy New Year, Fellow Section Members!

As we step into 2024, I find myself energized by the excitement and dynamism that a new year brings—a moment for renewed commitments to our goals and resolutions.

First, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Ana Sambold, and I am honored to be your 2023-2024 Section Chair. As a California-based mediator and arbitrator, I provide neutral services throughout the U.S. and internationally. My practice largely focuses on commercial and civil litigation matters.  Additionally, I serve as a Negotiation Professor at the University of San Diego School of Law. I'm passionate about bringing people together, facilitating resolutions, educating, and advocating for dispute resolution.

Twelve years ago, when I became a full-time neutral, I decided to join the Section. That pivotal decision has proven to be one of the most significant and influential choices in my professional life. The abundance of resources and the invaluable network of friends and colleagues fostered within the Section have undeniably shaped the person I am today, and for that, I am forever grateful. This deep appreciation has fueled my commitment to supporting the Section, serving in different capacities through the years.

As Section Chair, I am committed to multiple priorities during my term, including providing our members with a premier membership experience, maintaining the Section’s financial health and strength, and developing cutting-edge education opportunities, all while transitioning our group into the future of dispute resolution.

I am especially focused on how the Section can enhance education efforts as modern technology and artificial intelligence impact the dispute resolution profession.

During the Section’s recent CLE webinar “Stepping into the Future: Ethical Implementations and Best Practices of ChatGPT in Mediation,” we provided a wealth of resources and information to incorporate innovative AI technology like OpenAI's ChatGPT into your practice—a topic that resonates deeply with the evolving landscape of our field. For those who may have missed this program, I strongly encourage you to watch the real-time recording available at your convenience in our on-demand library here. The program is a valuable resource shedding light on how we can navigate the intricate intersection of AI and dispute resolution.

Anticipating this technological shift and the opportunities it brings, I am delighted to share details about our upcoming Spring Conference in my hometown San Diego, set to take place from April 10-13, 2024. The theme for the conference is "Mastering the Future: Revolutionizing Dispute Resolution in a Dynamic World." This forward-thinking conference is a testament to our commitment to staying ahead of the curve. With over 50 high-impact sessions designed to immerse the audience in the next wave of dispute-resolution advancements, we aim to equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the evolving landscape.

Join us in San Diego for an event that promises not only to be a cornerstone in the evolution of dispute resolution but also a celebration of our collective journey into the future. With an anticipated attendance of around 500 individuals, this conference is not just an event; it is a communal endeavor to master the future together.

In addition, I'm excited to share that, for the first time, we are hosting a special pre-conference workshop on Wednesday, April 10, 2024, titled "From Vision to Reality: Launching and Elevating Your Dispute Resolution Practice.” The workshop is meticulously designed for both emerging and seasoned professionals in dispute resolution. It aims to provide hands-on practical guidance on building and expanding a successful dispute-resolution practice. This includes in-depth discussions on strategic business planning, financial management, brand building, client relations, and operational efficiency for sustainable growth.

I'm incredibly enthusiastic about the upcoming year and excited for all that we can accomplish together. In closing, and in the spirit of celebrating the new year, I leave you with one of my favorite poems by John Schaar:

 “The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created—created first in the mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination.”

Cheers to a year of innovation, collaboration, and unwavering commitment to dispute resolution!

I look forward to welcoming you to San Diego.

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