Virginia Joint ADR Committee

Donita M. King, Chair

The Virginia Bar and Bar Association Joint Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) Committee is a long standing, active, and highly relevant committee whose function is to:

  1. Educate and promote awareness of our members and the public about alternative dispute resolution processes and the various benefits to both the legal community and the public;
  2. Bring the changing and expanding developments in the field of ADR to the attention of our members and the public;
  3. Promote and provide opportunities for the growth and development of the skills for effective use by lawyer advocates and ADR professionals; and
  4. Explore opportunities, geographical and otherwise, where ADR is needed and wanted.

In order to accomplish these functions and our practical objectives along these lines, we have reviewed our own processes for communication with the Bar, committee members, and the public; have made inquiries amongst our peers and the public to determine where our attention is needed, and updated our own methods and tools for communication with the members and the public. To accomplish our purposes, it is a goal to increase membership in our committee and  demonstrate that ADR is really not a separate legal area, but a tool that can be of benefit to the public and Bar members regardless of the legal area in which they practice.  This has resulted in a few focused projects, as set out below.

Members of our council participated in two Solo and Small Firm practitioners programs – In Richmond and Williamsburg, wherein we presented some basic and developmental information on ADR. Both presentations were very well received and resulted in numerous requests for additional information on ADR processes and opportunities – for advocates and ADR professionals. A web based education program, most likely in the area of Ethics and ADR, is currently being developed for the Fall. The first one we did in 2014 was well received.

We are working with the Better Business Bureau (“BBB”) to provide needed volunteers in their arbitration program, and which would also provide our Bar members and ADR professionals   with opportunities for additional ADR experience. We are also exploring the possibility of a similar BBB mediation volunteer and experience program as well.

We have made progress in our archive project to capture for future use and access some of the ADR articles, programs, and other information that have been of interest to our members and public in the past, and might be of interest to our members in the future.

A project we have just launched and of which we are excited is our blog! ADR tips, updates, developments, topics, etc., are now available, in addition to our very informative newsletters. We are proud to have launched an easy and contemporary way to get information to our members in a readily accessible from using today’s technology.

There is still much to do and areas where we hope to increase accessibility to ADR process, opportunities, and information, and we are dedicated to doing so. To that end, we are also planning another educational offering for the Virginia Bar Association Annual Meeting in 2016, following the informative, enthusiastically received, and successful John Lande presentation on early negotiation at the Virginia Bar Association Annual Conference in January of this year (2015). We plan to examine some of the things discussed in the Lande presentation as we view ADR in present and future legal, economic, social, and political issues affecting our practices today.

Updated: Jul 06, 2015