ADR Committee Meeting Minutes
Sept. 4, 2003

Co-chair David Harwi opened the meeting by reporting on plans for the November and December meeting of the Committee.
  • We currently plan to devote the Nov. 6 meeting to a conference call consultation with our colleagues in the Allegheny County Bar Association�s ADR Committee, for the purpose of discussing the principal concerns and issues of each committee and exploring ways that we can work together in the future to advance our shared agenda. Our committee members are encouraged to submit to the co-chairs their thoughts about items to include on the agenda of the meeting.
  • At the Dec. 4 meeting, Tricia Jones, a professor at Temple�s School of Law, will be addressing out committee eon the topic of how mediators can effectively address emotional issues in mediations. Because of the importance of this presentation, the program will be open to all local ADR practitioners, whether or not members of our committee.
Mr. Harwi then explained that, effective July 1, 2003, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of PA adopted Local Rule of Civil Procedure 53.3 (titled �Alternative Dispute Resolution�) and a �Court-Annexed Mediation Protocol Under Local Civil Rule 53.3.� They are materially the same as the drafts that had been previously circulated for comment, without incorporating most of the rather extensive feedback that had been provided by this committee and others.
 
Several members of the PA Supreme Court�s Committee, chaired by Justice William Lamb, to develop a proposal for mediation of medical malpractice cases in the state courts were present and were asked to provide a status report on this work. It appears that little has happened since our last meeting, but they anticipate a push to formalize a proposal before Justice Lamb�s term expires later this year. Also, an article in the Sept. 2 issue The Legal Intelligencer stated that the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas has, apparently on its own, just re-instituted a private settlement conference process for medical malpractice cases, using �experienced, seasoned medial malpractice lawyers� as volunteer judges pro tem. It remains to be seen whether this will have any impact upon the statewide initiative.
 
At previous committee meetings, we had discussed the need for �marketing� to the members of the Substantive Sections and Committees of the Bar Association the value added that ADR brings to the practice of law. Mr. Harwi explained that, for this purpose, the committee�s co-chairs had made a presentation to the Section Chairs early in the summer and have been following up with those Section Chairs who expressed interest in the educating their members about ADR (specifically the Chairs of the Probate Section and the Business Law Section). However, to date, nothing further has come of this initiative.
 
Mr. Harwi also reminded the committee members of the opportunity to increase their visibility by writing articles on ADR topics that would appear in one of the Bar Association publications. To date, one such article has been submitted, but has not yet been published.
 
Mr. Rosenstein then reported on recent developments at the national level to promulgate a comprehensive mediator �quality assurance� program. Four groups are proceeding simultaneously on more or less parallel tracks.
  • The Joint Committee on Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators is considering revision to the currently effective standards of conduct jointly promulgated in 1994 by AAA, the ABA�s Section of Dispute Resolution and the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution (one of the predecessors of the Association for Conflict Resolution).
  • A Committee of ACR is endeavoring to structure a process for reviewing and resolving alleged complaints of ethical violations or unfair practices by ACR members only.
  • An ACR Task Force is developing a voluntary nation-wide process for credentialing mediation practitioners (regardless of whether they are ACR members).
  • Finally, ACR�s Advanced Practitioner Workgroup is proposing a voluntary process that would enable ACR members to be designated as �Advanced (fill in the substantive area, such as Family or Workplace) Mediation Practitioners.�
Mr. Rosenstein provided a brief written overview and a few concerns about these proposals and explained that some of the draft reports have been published on ACR�s Web site, www.acresolution.org. He encouraged committee members to submit their comments on the proposals in accordance with instructions on this site as soon as possible in order to be taken into consideration when some of the groups next meet.
 
The meeting was then adjourned.