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From the Courthouse to the Conference Room: The ABA’s Mediation Week Celebrates the Power of Resolution

Editor's Note: In an effort to continue the conversation started by our fabulous She Negotiates panel at She Leads, Ms. JD is happy to spread the word about Mediation Week, brought to you on behalf of the American Bar Association Communications and Media Relations Division. 

Families, communities, corporations and governments increasingly use mediation as a successful avenue to resolving conflict. The American Bar Association’s Mediation Week Oct. 14 – 20 is a national effort to increase awareness of this effective method to settle disputes beyond the courtroom.

“When parties engage in mediation, thorny disagreements are easier to resolve,” says ABA President Laurel G. Bellows, a certified mediator. “Mediation is a successful and widely used alternative means of settling a broad range of disputes and an important tool for avoiding expensive litigation.”

More than 40 events highlighting mediation are scheduled in at least 20 states and five countries. The events include forums introducing dispute resolution concepts to high school teachers and law students, seminars and online panel discussions for lawyers, and programs promoting strategies to resolve conflict outside of the courtroom for the general public. For the third straight year, this week-long celebration and education effort is organized by the ABA’s Section of Dispute Resolution.

“Mediation improves the chances of settlement and promotes effective communication,” said Bellows, who adds that mediation can be less costly and more timely than traditional court processes and can reduce the caseload of our overburdened courts.  

John Bickerman, an internationally recognized mediator and arbitrator; Amy Wind, chief circuit mediator, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; Joanna Jacobs, director and senior counsel for the Office of Dispute Resolution, U.S. Department of Justice; and Grande Lum, director for the Community Relations Service, U.S. Department of Justice will participate in a panel discussion about the growth of the field of mediation at the 2012 ABA Mediation Week luncheon Oct. 18 from noon to 2 p.m. at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

During Mediation Week, Kenneth R. Feinberg, a leading authority on mediation, will speak at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law about his role in administering the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund and the alternative dispute resolution program that helped settle insurance claims from victims of Hurricane Katrina. JAMS, one of the largest private alternative dispute resolution providers in the world, will host a program in Atlanta about the race and gender diversity of participants involved in the mediation process. Information about these and other Mediation Week events taking place around the country is available here: www.ambar.org\mediationweek.

The Mediation Week panel discussion and luncheon in Washington, D.C., is the culmination of several activities planned around the country to focus attention on the week’s theme, “Mediation in the Mainstream: From the Courthouse to the Conference Room.” A toolkit of resources about mediation is available here: http://www.americanbar.org/groups/dispute_resolution/resources/mediation_week_toolkit.html

The ABA Section of Dispute Resolution and JAMS launched the public service announcement “Play Nice” to shine the spotlight on mediation’s benefits. View the PSA here: http://www.abanow.org/2012/10/play-nice-psa-touts-benefits-of-mediation/. A broadcast-quality version of the PSA is available upon request.

For media credentialing for the Washington, D.C., panel discussion and luncheon, please contact Betsy Adeboyejo at Betsy.Adeboyejo@americanbar.org or 202-662-1039. This event is free and open to members of the press.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the world’s largest voluntary professional membership organization.  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.

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