Virginia Joint ADR Committee

Jeanne F. Franklin, chair

The Joint Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee is a joint committee of the Virginia State Bar and The Virginia Bar Association. With a long history of activity that has contributed mightily to the growth of use of ADR in the commonwealth by members of the legal profession, it continues today with enthusiasm. Membership remains steady.

Following its fall 2013 day-long celebration and CLE program in recognition of the 20th Anniversary of Virginia’s ADR statutes, as described in the previous report by Chair Geetha Ravindra, the committee embarked upon a new year with interest in a number of innovative ideas. We recognize that design and use of ADR processes have been and continue to be evolving in response to changes in the marketplace, the economy, and scientific research that sheds light on how people solve problems and handle dispute and conflict. We also recognize that new generations of lawyers have come into the field and that it is important to make sure they are comfortable with leading their clients into ADR process as appropriate, and are included in consideration of and shaping what’s next in the field. Third, we have to recognize that despite extensive programs and publications, many members of the bar do not know about this committee and what it does much less what it might be able to do to serve the needs of lawyers and clients and the judicial system.

Accordingly, we are emphasizing outreach to different sectors of the bar to expand our visibility, invite membership and participation, communicate information, and obtain feedback about their perceived needs - what works and doesn’t work in their experience. We want to generate further dialogue about the wise usage of ADR on behalf of clients. For a start, outreach to young lawyers, civil litigators, labor and employment lawyers, corporate counsel, and law practice management is a work in progress.

While we are continuing a tradition of fine quality of committee publications and CLE/CME programming, we also are working on creation of a resource -- an online archive using our website -- to serve as a distinct member benefit.

Consistent with that, we are looking into how our communications tools might be a greater benefit and resource to today’s lawyers.

Third, we are also looking into a possible public service project drawing upon the skills of our members who are practicing neutrals.

Our first CLE was a January 2014 program on the power of apology. September 30 will be the date of a first-ever telephone CLE sponsored by the Joint ADR Committee and it will offer one hour of ethics credit.

We are also working on the idea of a January 2015 program that will focus on what civil litigators want from ADR process and how the needs of clients can be better met.

There is more than enough to be done to grow the future of ADR just as so much was done to birth it. Fortunately this committee is committed to engaging in that effort, and invites the membership of many more members of the bar to help inform and accomplish the task. 

Updated: Aug 07, 2014