ABA Conference Sessions You Might Consider

I love the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution annual conferences. They always put on a wide array of wonderful sessions and it’s a great time to connect with friends, old and new.

In what has become an annual tradition, I am listing some sessions in this year’s conference that particularly intrigue me.  This reflects my idiosyncratic tastes and it would be a lot longer if I didn’t exercise more self-restraint.  Obviously, there will be a lot of great sessions that I don’t include.  I encourage you to add a comment highlighting sessions of interest to you (including ones that you are on).

“Trust the Process?” Understanding and Learning from Party Perceptions of Court-Connected ADR Programs – and –
Ignorance is Not Bliss: Improving Parties’ Awareness of ADR Options
I think it’s very important to understand how DR users perceive their options.

ODR: New Designs for Party-Driven Solutions
ODR is here now and will be increasingly important in the future.  So we need to understand its potential benefits, challenges, and risks.

No Risk, No Reward – How Creativity, Resourcefulness and Confidence Can Change the Face of Resolving Disputes
“A corporate executive and a federal district court judge have faced their own unique challenges and risks trying to resolve disputes outside the norm and with the long game in mind.”  Planning for the long game sounds intriguing to me.

First Impressions: Drafting Effective Pre-Mediation Statements
As a long-time believer in the importance of preparation, I think lawyers and mediators should arrange for the most effective possible pre-mediation statements.

Mediating Through Different Lenses: How Master Mediators Blend Law, Psychology and Business Perspectives
“This highly interactive workshop – a tribute to the movies Rashomon and Inside Out – will view and analyze a single fact pattern of a dispute from multiple perspectives.  Together we will explore how vastly different the same fact pattern can look when the mediator views the facts through a legal lens, a psychological lens, a business lens, and then finally a problem-solving lens.”

Playing with Fire – The Challenges of Mediating Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination Claims in the #Me Too and #Times Up Culture
Too timely, alas.

A New World for ADR: The ABA’s Guidelines on the Use of Special Masters in Civil Litigation
We don’t usually think of special masters as being part of ADR, but they are.

Can Dispute Resolution React? Perspective on Collaborative Initiatives to Address Community Division and Intervention in the Face of Social Crisis
Another timely session.

How to Manage Your Client Through the Various Stages of Resolving a Dispute
“Regardless of how parties ultimately resolve their dispute – negotiation, mediation, litigation – proper planning and implementation are crucial to achieving satisfactory results.  This experienced panel will discuss what approaches and techniques they use in managing clients through the process of resolving disputes, including the role of information gathering, strategic thinking, risk assessment, preparing clients, involving decision makers and interested parties, and effective and ongoing communications.”  Amen.

Improving Medical Malpractice Claim Outcomes and Patient Safety Through Early, Novel Resolution Processes
Another session focusing on planned early dispute resolution (featuring my co-author, Peter Benner):  “This session will introduce specific novel, consensual resolution processes and the ways in which these can be implemented in the healthcare system.  These processes include the participation of an impartial physician in early, structured resolution processes before the dispute has escalated and the parties are dug in.”

Moving Beyond Emotion: Fostering Logic and Reason in Mediation Practice
We’re all motivated by our emotions, which are important – and can lead to bad decisions.  This interactive session will focus on how to help people use reason more.

Designing Limited Scope Representation and Other Programs for Self-Represented Litigants and to Promote Access to Justice
An important potential benefit of ADR is increasing access to justice.  We should do what we can to provide more A2J.

Follow the Money: Ethical Practices for ADR Providers and Neutrals When a Participant is Receiving Third-Party Funding
Third-party funding creates risks we should pay attention to.

Community Conversations: A Case Study of Falcon Heights
Following the fatal police shooting of an African American male, the City Council created a kind of truth and reconciliation process by convening five community conversations.  This session will include a community member who participated in the process.

The Clients’ Perspective: Improving Mediation Practice and Results
“An interactive forum with general counsel and senior in-house counsel, experienced advocates and mediators will address prevailing mediation practices and identify areas for improvement from the outset of disputes through mediation preparation and the actual mediation session.”

ODR in the Courts: The Future is Now
This is what I was saying.

A Crisis on Campus: The Changing Landscape of Conflict Resolution in Higher Education
A tough problem for institutions that aren’t designed to manage disputes, especially really hard ones.

What Do In-House Counsel Truly Want from Mediators and Mediations?
I think that understanding parties’ perspectives is important, as you can tell.

Who are the Clients in Dispute System Design? – The Impact of Context and Culture
Usually, it’s not a problem to identify clients, but it can be a real challenge in DSD.

Access to Justice and ADR – Are We Reaching Rural America?
It’s a real challenge to provide ADR services to rural residents, who may feel that the world is passing them by as it globalizes.

Court ADR Resource Share
‘nuff said.

Legal Educators’ Resource Share

#MeToo: Exploring Dispute Resolution Angles
Ideas for handling these challenging workplace conflicts.

Criminal-Side ADR: Problems and Possibilities
We rarely focus on ADR in criminal matters even though our criminal justice system is desperately dependent on negotiation, and where the process and results often aren’t pretty.

Community Conversation: A Reflective Look at Mediation Teaching and Practice
“This facilitated discussion is a joint search for mismatches:  between the way we teach mediation and what our students may encounter or require in practice, and between what we teach and what clients may actually desire.”  This addresses a fundamental challenge for legal educators.

Raw and Real Simulations: Negotiating and Mediating through Offensiveness
Handling these issues can be really hard.  Teaching about them can be even harder.

Teaching Sensitive Topics in Dispute Resolution Courses


Here’s a list of sessions of particular interest to educators that Rishi Batra distributed (with Amy Schmitz’s revision).

One thought on “ABA Conference Sessions You Might Consider”

  1. At the end of the post, I added a list of sessions of particular interest to educators that Rishi Batra distributed.

    Also, at last, the website is open for registration. Note that there’s a discounted rate for academics as well as government employees, young lawyers (under 40), non-profit employees, solo practitioners, exhibitor staff, and mediation competition volunteers.

    THE EARLY BIRD RATE EXPIRES ON MARCH 8. So register now and save!

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