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April 03, 2019

ABA meeting in Minneapolis to focus on using ADR to resolve range of disagreements

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 3, 2019 — The American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution will convene its 21st Annual Spring Conference from April 10-13 in Minneapolis, with numerous programs emphasizing how to use alternative dispute resolution effectively both in the U.S. and globally.

21st Annual Spring Conference
Sponsored by ABA Section of Dispute Resolution

Wednesday – Saturday, April 10-13

Hyatt Regency Minneapolis
1300 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403

The theme of this year’s conference, “Shining the Light on the Parties in Dispute Resolution,” includes programs on using ADR in handling family matters and issues of diversity and racial bias. Also, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey will give welcoming remarks Friday morning at 9 a.m.

In addition, two Minnesotans will share personal stories in “Finding Common Ground: Strategies and Tactics in the Age of Diversity and Inclusion.” Sia Her, executive director of the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans, arrived in California at age 4 as part of the influx of Hmong refugees from Laos. In both her personal and professional life, she has sought ways to find common ground and inclusion for all. She will be joined by State Senator Carolyn Laine, the assistant senate minority leader who was instrumental to passing legislation to create the Minnesota Office of Collaboration and Dispute Resolution. They will speak Thursday at 4:30 p.m. in Northstar A, 2nd floor.

Michael L. Buenger of the National Center for State Courts in Williamsburg, Va., will open the program at 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday with an address, “Rethinking the Delivery of Justice in a Self-Service Society.” He has served in key roles in state courts in Ohio, South Dakota and Missouri. At the opening session Friday, Robert Grey, president of the Leadership Council for Legal Diversity and former ABA president (2004-05), will outline the rise of his nonprofit organization from a private meeting of like-minded individuals in 2009 to a powerful collaboration of nearly 300 corporate general counsel and law firm managing partners.

Two programs focus on the use of mediation to tackle family-related issues. “Family Feud? Use Elder Mediation & Eldercaring Coordination to Manage High-Conflict Probate Litigation” looks at how families in conflict turn to the court to make decisions and how elder mediation can be an effective option. The program will take place Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Nicollet D1, 1st floor. On Thursday, at 1:15 pm. in the same room, “It’s Not about Me???? Family Law Mediator Biases and Distractions as Barriers to Effective Party Participation,” will examine the role of the mediator in the context of family law disputes that typically raise issues of fairness, blame, fidelity and finances.

Several other programs examine issues of dispute resolution in conflicts involving diversity. These include:

“Best Practices for Mediating with LGBT Parties” — In this panel, LGBT mediators and litigators will discuss their experiences from all sides of the process working with gay and transgender parties to make sure they can fully participate in and benefit from the transformative possibilities of mediation. Subject areas to be discussed include employment, family law and estate planning.

Thursday, 1:30-2:45 p.m., Greenway I, 2nd floor

“Diversity Matters Make Meaningful Mediations: Lessons Learned at the EEOC” As the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enters its 20th year of providing mediation services for employment discrimination disputes, panelists will explore a myriad of “hot topics” that mediators face when resolving disputes involving racial discrimination, ADA accommodations and sexual harassment in the #MeToo Movement era and offer practical tips for how to prepare for these mediations.

Thursday, 3-4:15 p.m., Greenway A, 2nd floor

“Times Up for Increasing ADR Diversity: The Role of In-House and Outside Counsel in the Diversity Mosaic” — Panelists will examine the latest developments by ADR provider organizations and the ABA to help increase diversity in ADR. ABA Resolution 105, which passed the House of Delegates last year, urges ADR providers to diversify their rosters and encourage the selection of diverse neutrals. Data demonstrates that diversity in the dispute resolution field is significantly below that of the legal profession generally and shows that qualified diverse neutrals are less likely to be selected.

Friday, 2:45-4 p.m., Nicollet D1, 1st floor

Also at the conference, these awards will be presented:

John W. Cooley Lawyer as Problem Solver Award, which will be presented at 6:15 p.m. Thursday, honors those that use their problem-solving skills to forge creative solutions. The 2019 winner, Peter Salem, is executive director of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts in Madison, Wisc., which was founded in 1963 and has been a leader in the family law area. In recent years, the organization has identified difficult, divisive issues related to the resolution of family law-related disputes and has convened interdisciplinary think tanks — inviting participants with disparate views — to address and try to move these issues forward.

2019 Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work will be presented Saturday to Joseph B. “Josh” Stulberg, the Michael E. Moritz Chair in Alternative Dispute Resolution at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. The award honors individuals whose scholarship has contributed significantly to the field of dispute resolution and Stulberg, a prolific and influential scholar, has published more than 60 articles in professional journals on theoretical, policy and practice issues in dispute resolution. He has also co-authored multiple books on mediation.

The Section of Dispute Resolution is the world’s largest association of dispute resolution professionals, with 11,000 members. Its spring 2019 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 [email protected].

With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews