WASHINGTON, April 18, 2022 — The Annual Spring Conference of the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution will be virtual from April 25-29, with an emphasis on alternative dispute resolution (ADR) of the future. The joint conference, featuring more than 40 programs and a talk by nationally known mediator Kenneth Feinberg, is in collaboration with the ABA Solo, Small Firm & General Practice Division (GPSolo).
“Where Do We Grow from Here? New Directions and Rejuvenation”
Joint Spring Conference, ABA Section of Dispute Resolution and GPSolo Division
Monday through Friday, April 25-29, 2022 (all times EDT)
The meeting, initially planned to be in-person in Los Angeles, was converted to online because of continuing COVID-19 concerns. ADR, which includes mediation and arbitration among other forms of resolving differences outside of a court setting, is transitioning into a new era as ADR adapts to opportunities presented by the pandemic during the past two years.
Feinberg, who has been appointed mediator and arbitrator in thousands of complex disputes over the past 35 years, served as special master of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, the Department of Justice U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund and the Boeing 737 Max Crash-Victim Beneficiaries Compensation Fund. He will deliver plenary remarks titled, “Unconventional Responses to Unique Catastrophes: Tailoring the Law to Meet the Challenges,” on Tuesday from 12:30-1:30 p.m.
In another plenary session, Jose A. Egurbide, a career prosecutor with 26 years of experience in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office, will discuss his work to establish in 2014 a Neighborhood Justice Program, his office’s first Restorative Justice based prosecutor-led pre-filing diversion program. In October 2020, Egurbide joined forces with the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute to deliver two mindfulness-based virtual trainings for criminal justice professionals. His talk will be Monday from 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Other programs look toward an emerging post-pandemic era of ADR. They include:
- “Strengthening Advocacy in Virtual and Hybrid Arbitrations” — Future arbitrations will likely combine in-person and virtual hearings and opportunities for improvements in effective advocacy. This program will examine how advocates and arbitrators can best take advantage of these changes.
Tuesday, 2-3 p.m.
- “Online Dispute Resolution: The ODR (R)evolution” — The pandemic made ODR a sudden necessity for ADR providers (including courts), practitioners and participants. Attendees of this interactive session will share and learn about the benefits and challenges the ODR (R)evolution and the post-pandemic prospects for ODR.
Tuesday, 2-3 p.m.
- “Off the Presses! Arbitration Experts Discuss the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act” — In mid-February, Congress passed the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act, the first amendment to the Federal Arbitration Act since 1990. The new law prohibits the enforceability of pre-dispute agreements to arbitrate claims of sexual assault and sexual harassment. This panel will consider questions arising from this legislation, including whether the act meets the needs of increased transparency for victims and other issues.
Tuesday, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Also, the Section of Dispute Resolution and GPSolo Division will present a total of five awards during the virtual event. This year’s awards and recipients are:
- The Frank E.A. Sander Award, which recognizes innovative methods and extraordinary achievements in the ADR field, will be given to Andrew Thomas, director of Community Relations & Neighborhood Engagement for the city of Sanford, Florida. The presentation will be Tuesday from 12:15-12:30 p.m.
- The JAMS Foundation Warren Knight Award, which honors the work of extraordinary individuals and organizations in promoting and advancing collaborative forms of dispute resolution, will be given to the Alliance for Peacebuilding. The group cultivates a network to strengthen and advance the peacebuilding field. The award will be presented on Wednesday from 3:30-3:45 p.m.
- The Award for Outstanding Scholarly Works will honor Stacie Strong, an associate professor at the University of Sydney Law School in Australia. She acts as an arbitrator, mediator and expert in commercial, IP and trust-related matters in both the domestic and international spheres. The presentation will be Friday from 12:15-12:30 p.m.
- The GPSolo Division’s Solo and Small Firm Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes solo and small firm attorneys who are widely accepted by their peers as having significant lifetime distinction, exceptional achievement and distinction in an exemplary way, will be presented to Melanie Bragg of Bragg Law PC in Houston from 5-6 p.m. Friday.
- The GPSolo Division’s Solo and Small Firm Trainer Award, which recognizes attorneys who have made significant contributions to educating lawyers or law students regarding the opportunities and challenges of a solo and small firm practice, will be presented to Mark E. Sullivan of the Law Offices of Mark E. Sullivan, P.A. in Raleigh, N.C., from 5-6 p.m. Friday.
The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers 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.