March 21, 2018

NYT columnist Thomas Friedman, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine highlight ABA dispute resolution meeting

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 21, 2018 — The American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution will convene its 20th Annual Spring Conference from April 4-7 in Washington with more than 80 different programs and two plenary addresses by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.

Annual Spring Conference
Sponsored by ABA Section of Dispute Resolution

April 4 - 7

Washington Hilton
1919 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

The conference, titled “Dispute Resolution in Complex Times,” will address the current changing environment for alternative dispute resolution, as well as offer programs in six additional areas: arbitration; mediation, negotiation; advocacy; communication, psychology and neuroscience; and ethics. There will also be several case studies of the effectiveness of mediation, covering local efforts in Detroit, Birmingham, Ala., and Ohio.

Friedman will deliver the Frank Sander Lecture, named for a Harvard law professor and pioneer in the field of alternative dispute resolution who died earlier this year. Friedman, a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, will speak at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, April 5. He will also receive the D’Alemberte-Raven Award, the section’s highest honor. Friedman is being honored for writings on foreign affairs and globalization that have generated reflection and discussion in an increasingly fast-paced interdependent world. The award is named after Robert D. Raven and Talbot D’Alemberte, both former ABA presidents and section chairs.

Kaine, a former civil rights lawyer and Democratic vice-presidential candidate in 2016, will speak at 9:30 a.m. Friday, April 6. Elected to the Senate in 2012 after serving as governor of Virginia, Kaine is regarded as a can-do optimist skilled in bringing people together across lines of party, race or region. In the Senate, he serves on the Armed Services; Budget; Foreign Relations; and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committees.

Other program highlights include:

“The Detroit Bankruptcy: The Power of Mediation” Detroit has emerged from the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history as a model of urban renewal and an example of the power of mediation. The city’s bankruptcy proceedings may also be a model for municipalities in current difficulty. Steve Rhodes and Jerry Rosen, both retired judges known for their roles in presiding over and mediating Detroit’s 2013 bankruptcy, will explore key issues in that case together with David Heiman, the city’s lead counsel, with a focus on how mediation played a key role in developments. Kevyn D. Orr, an attorney for Jones Day who served as Detroit’s emergency manager during that time, will moderate.

Thursday, 10 - 11 a.m., Columbia 3 (Terrace Level)

“Is Third-Party Funding the Elephant in the Room?” Whether for the benefit of plaintiffs, corporate defendants or contingency fee attorneys, third-party funding is on the rise and not without controversy. Traditionally, contingency fee attorneys have advanced litigation expenses, including their fees, but third-parties have added a new element, such as when entrepreneur Peter Thiel bankrolled Hulk Hogan's lawsuit against now closed media site Gawker. What effects do these practices have on decisions to settle, including mediation negotiations and agreements? Presenters will be Charles Agee of Westfleet Advisors, Jeanne M. Christensen of Wigdor LLP, and Deborah Masucci of Masucci Dispute Management and Resolution Services. Alida Camp will moderate.

Thursday, 10 – 11 a.m., Cardozo (Terrace Level)

“Re-framing Hate: Practice-Based Ideas for Dispute Resolution's Role Regarding Hate Incidents” — Nonprofits report a surge in hate incidents across the country and dispute resolution practitioners have the skill set and the opportunity to assist communities in how to respond to hate as well as develop planning in advance of a potential incident. Grounded by the real-world experience of panelists, the panel will illustrate how dispute resolution practitioners can support communities in the face of hate. Presenters will be Frank Dukes of the Institute for Environmental Negotiation at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, the site of the white supremacy rally in August 2017; law professor William Froehlich and former U.S. Department of Justice official Grande Lum, now both with the Divided Community Project at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law in Columbus, Ohio; and Becky L. Monroe of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Thursday, 4:45 – 5:45 p.m., Columbia 8 (Terrace Level)

Two additional awards will be presented at the conference:

·        John W. Cooley Lawyer as Problem Solver Award, which honors those that use their problem-solving skills to forge creative solutions. The 2018 winner is the Divided Community Project at OSU’s Moritz College of Law, which is headed by Lum and Froehlich. The project grew out of an April 2015 meeting of leaders and mediators from throughout the U.S. with experience dealing with civil unrest in communities. The OSU project helps communities transform divisive issues into broad-based, forward-thinking community action.

·        2018 Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work will be presented Saturday to Professor Charles Craver, the Freda H. Alverson Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. Craver teaches labor law, international negotiating, legal negotiating, alternative dispute resolution (ADR), and employment discrimination law. A prolific and influential writer, Craver has written seven alternative dispute resolution texts, including “Effective Legal Negotiation and Settlement,” first published in 1986 and now in its 8th edition, in addition to 30 ADR journal articles and 35 online ADR articles during his career.

The Section of Dispute Resolution is the world’s largest association of dispute resolution professionals, with 11,000 members. Its spring 2018 conference agenda can be found online.

Media wanting to cover any program of this event should register by contacting Bill Choyke
at 202-662-1864 or at

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