Arbitration|Conflict Resolution|Courts|Europe|International|Mediation|Negotiation

ABA Dispute Resolution Meeting April 18-21

I remember attending the first meeting of the Dispute Resolution Section of the American Bar Association, in Boston, in 1999. I was on a panel discussing Y2K, and absolutely everybody I had ever met in ADR was in attendance. Y2K has since moved on, but the ABA Dispute Resolution Section has grown and grown. It meets this year in Washington DC and the schedule is so full it’s like a three-ring circus: You attend one thing, all the time kicking yourself because you’re missing two others.

On Wednesday April 18, there’s a full-day Symposium on ADR in the Courts, with panels on the Philadelphia and Maryland civil experiences as well as cutting-edge reports from criminal courts.

On Saturday September 21 there is a full-day Symposium on ADR in Legal Education and the speaker list is a roll call of the stars in the field: Scott Peppett, Andrea Schneider, Michael Moffitt, John Lande, Dwight Golann, Jim Coban, Charlie Craver, etc., etc.

Also on Saturday, the Section’s International Committee (led by Manon Schonewille and Jeremy Lack) has assembled a full-day International ADR Workshop, with more speakers, working groups, projects, case study exercises, cross-border topics and cutting-edge stuff than one could possibly imagine could be fit into a single day’s work.

Meanwhile, stuffed into Thursday, Friday and Saturday are scores of plenary sessions, concurrent sessions, and other events, notably the award recognition of that great husband-wife team Linda Singer and Michael Lewis – who trained me in my first mediation course, in 1998! 

Among all the rest of the promising and tantalizing fare is a panel that I will be moderating on Friday April 20 at 11:30.  Three of the best thinkers in the business — Lawrence Susskind, Margaret Shaw and Howard Bellman — will consider “The Leader as Negotiator: President Obama’s Negotiating Style.”  The audience and speakers will be asked to consider what lessons can be learned from negotiating efforts that initially sought to attain consensus, yet appear to have resulted over time in increased polarization, positioning, distrust, and erosion of respect among the negotiators.  The question is raised:  Can a president be a political facilitator while at the same time effectively advancing the interests of the political party he is elected to lead?

The absurdly rich list of offerings is posted by Program Track here.  I hope to see you in Washington!

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