ADR Committee Meeting Minutes
February 4, 2004

Mr. Harwi, the co-chair convened the meeting, presented a few brief announcements (including mentioning the annual meeting of PCM, in Philadelphia on May 7 and 8) and asked his co-chair, Jim Rosenstein, to report on an initiative to resurrect the old  Delaware Valley Chapter of SPIDR as a Chapter of SPIDR�s successor - the Association for Conflict Resolution. He explained the indications of support received from the other counties and received the Committee�s approval for proceeding with the steps needed to formally organize such a Chapter, including recruiting volunteers for a Chapter Organizing Committee.  Anyone interested in joining this Committee is encouraged to contact Mr. Rosenstein at (215) 977-2210 or jrosenstein@earthlink.net.
 
Mr. Harwi then introduced the meeting�s speaker, Cheryl Cutrona, the Executive Director of Good Shepherd Mediation Program. Her topic was �Building Court - ADR Partnerships�.
 
She first identified the various court-annexed ADR programs in the southeastern Pennsylvania region, discussed their current status and the direction in which she sees court-annexed mediation moving. The bulk of her presentation focused on her �top ten ways to build partnerships between the courts and private ADR providers. They are:
  • Gain the respect of the Court for the capabilities of your organization and its members.
  • Find a champion for the use of ADR who is highly situated in the Court system, and is willing to actively advance that use by the Courts.
  • Stay the course! Tenacity and persistence are essential in order to prevail.
  • Pay your dues. Participate in Bar or Court-sponsored volunteer ADR programs to demonstrate your skills and commitment to ADR.
  • Whenever a window of opportunity closes, find another way into the room. Don�t be afraid to think outside the box, modeling what we encourage mediation parties themselves to do.
  • Be flexible. Adjust your services to what the market really needs rather than what you think it should need.
  • Be in the right place at the right time. There are various courts with different specialties (for example, landlord/tenant and small claims courts) where mediators with the appropriate subject matter expertise could be productively utilized.
  • Take advantage of Court transitions. Make it a point to meet the incoming judges and staff, and try to recruit them as ADR supporters.
  • Spread the word. Law schools and other schools that train people for the helping professions (such as Social Work, Psychology, etc.) should include more ADR courses, possibly even in the core curriculum.
  • Advocate for ADR-friendly laws, including for a State Office for Dispute Resolution.
Ms. Cutrona then answered questions and engaged in an open conversation with Judge Robert J. Matthews in support of his use of settlement conferences in the Family Court Division.
 
The meeting was then adjourned.