Michael A. Zeytoonian is director of Zeytoonian Center for
Dispute Resolution LLC and a partner at Hutchings, Barsamian,
Mandelcorn & Zeytoonian LLP, both in Wellesley. He chairs the
MBA's ADR Committee and a member and past board president of the
Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council. He writes, blogs and
lectures on ADR and collaborative law.
The Massachusetts Bar Association's Alternative Dispute
Resolution Committee has embarked on a multi-dimensional approach
of outreach to three components of the legal community this year --
the judiciary, ADR practitioners and law students.
This March offered a snapshot of the several initiatives the ADR
Committee has undertaken. First, the ADR Committee released and
began to distribute its newly designed ADR brochure, to be used to
help promote the ADR Committee's mission of educating the members
of the MBA, the judiciary, the Legislature, the bar and the general
public about the benefits of ADR and the many ways to utilize ADR
processes. These ADR processes include mediation, arbitration,
collaborative law, conciliation and case evaluation.
The ADR Committee has been developing a relationship with the
judiciary, through the Judicial Administration Section Council of
the MBA, as well as with the Administration Offices of the Trial
Court Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution and its chairman,
Judge Mark Mason. Judge Mason and Acting Administration Offices of
Trial Court Director and Staff Liaison to the Standing Committee on
Dispute Resolution Tim Linnehan met with the ADR Committee in
January and gave an enlightening presentation on the extent of the
court's ADR programming.
One new initiative of the ADR Committee this year is to give ADR
practitioners, as well as bar advocates who often represent parties
in ADR processes, a forum for the exchange of best practices and
discussions about challenges that come up in ADR practice. In
January, John Fieldsteel and Brian Jerome presented to the
committee on several issues that often arise in mediation.
In March, the ADR Committee opened up this best practices
discussion held during each meeting by inviting other practitioners
to attend its March 14 meeting. The Hon. Judith Dein presented on a
couple of areas and issues that often arise in mediation. The two
points she brought to the table for discussion were 1. addressing
the strained attorney/client relationship and 2. determining
whether the right people are attending the mediation.
Outside ADR practitioners and litigators attended and were
engaged in the presentation and discussion. The ADR Committee also
extended an invitation to its March open meeting to students from
the ADR Society of New England Law | Boston (NELB). Ten law
students and one faculty member from NELB joined in the discussion
opened by Judge Dein.
The invitation of law students to attend the ADR Committee's
best practices open meetings is just one of several efforts to
reach out to area law students and develop a relationship between
them and the MBA. On March 22, the ADR Committee manned a booth at
NELB's Career Day. There, NELB alumnus Brian Jerome engaged in
discussions with many law students interested in learning more
about the growing area of ADR practice. In the fall of 2012, the
ADR Committee will join NELB at one of its "brown bag" lunch
meetings and offer a presentation on an aspect of ADR.
The ADR Committee's next "Best Practices" open meeting will be
held on Wednesday, May 23, at 5:30 p.m. at the MBA's Boston office
at 20 West St. ADR Committee member Mark Irvings will present on
two problems -- one involving the mediator's confidentiality
obligation and one related to the use of a panel of three
arbitrators -- and facilitate the discussion that will follow his
presentation. Those interested in attending should contact
Elizabeth O'Neil, director of Public and Community Services, at
[e-mail eoneil] or (617) 338-0560.