ABA offers variety of online Mediation Week programs


The American Bar Association’s Section of Dispute Resolution is sponsoring the ABA Mediation Week with various programs this week.

Titled “Mapping the Future So Conflict Doesn’t Disrupt It,” ABA Mediation Week is an annual event that celebrates the growth of mediation as a dispute resolution process.  The online event features a week of virtual programming emphasizing how mediation can help with options to better resolve future conflicts and minimize, if not avoid, lengthy legal disputes.

Advocates of mediation say the process saves time and money and is less of a drain on emotional resources compared to litigation. With courtroom access still curtailed in some U.S. areas and delays continuing in civil cases because of the COVID-19 pandemic, mediation has emerged as an important tool in providing access to justice for various parties.

Altogether nearly two dozen programs will be offered during the week. Some of the highlights include:

• “Talent: The Value Non-Lawyers Bring to the ADR Table” — Panelists will discuss the future of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), what the conflict resolution landscape looks like and the benefit non-attorneys bring to the ADR process. Arbitration panel members in the construction industry, for example, have found that a technical, non-lawyer arbitrator adds needed depth and subject matter expertise to the otherwise fact-intensive nature of construction disputes, which are normally driven by myriad factors unique to construction and design. Issues that arise in the insurance industry are another example.—Tuesday, Oct. 19, noon to 1 p.m.

• “Diversity and the New Mediator Pipeline” — A lack of diversity in mediation continues to present challenges, resulting in social consequences and untapped mediation talent. A panel of emerging mediators from diverse backgrounds will discuss barriers to entry for new practitioners, particularly for underrepresented groups, as well as strategies for building a mediation practice and creating a supportive and inclusive ADR community.—Wednesday, Oct. 20, 3 to 4 p.m.

• “Saving People’s Homes: The Creation, Implementation and Results of Connecticut’s Foreclosure Mediation Program, Connecticut’s Housing Mediation Program and Philadelphia’s Eviction Diversion Program” — Mediation provides an opportunity for parties to discuss concerns, understand each other’s perspectives, learn how to better communicate when future issues arise and work together toward a resolution. When parties participate in good faith, a mutually beneficial agreement is reached about 85% of the time. This program explores three successful programs in dealing with the housing crisis.—Thursday, Oct. 21, noon to 1 p.m.

• “Managing Cultural Differences in Mediation” — The pandemic has brought to the surface underlying racism in the U.S. against minorities such as Blacks, Asians, and Jews. The #MeToo movement also spotlighted discrimination against women. This program brings together Black, Asian and Jewish mediators to discuss the challenges that they and their disputants face in mediation and during the pandemic, and how these challenges can be overcome so that conflict will not disrupt the future.—Thursday, Oct. 21, 1:15 to 2:15 p.m.

• “How to Overcome Your Implicit Bias and Develop Cultural Competency” — Low tolerance, biases and lack of cultural sensitivity are frequently the source of conflict.
Addressing these issues is particularly important with hate crimes on the rise. This program will provide insights into how best to manage biases, overcome the challenges presented in multicultural communication and enhance cultural competency skills.—Thursday, Oct. 21, 3 to 4 p.m.

To register, visit, www.americanbar.org/groups/dispute_resolution

For additional information, contact Jennifer Michel at Jennifer.Michel@americanbar.org or 202-662-1680.

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