MBA celebrates Conflict Resolution Week

Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019
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Top: The MBA's DR Section honored the work of the court-approved conciliation/mediation programs in the Southeastern Massachusetts area on Oct. 15. Judge David G, Sacks (pictured left), chair of the Trial Court Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution, presents a certificate to Chief Hosing Specialist Michael Neville (pictured right) of Metro South Housing Court, with Rep. Claire Cronin (D-11th Plymouth).

Second from Top (from left): Assistant Clerk Magistrate Thomas Brophy of Brockton District Court, Rep. Claire Cronin and Clerk-Magistrate Kevin P. Creedon of Brockton District Court at the Oct. 15 Southeastern Mass. Court-Connected Dispute Resolution Program. Timothy Linnehan, ADR coordinator for the Trial Court, and MBA Dispute Resolution Section Chair Sarah Worley at the Oct. 15 event.

Third from Top: On Oct. 16, panelists discussed how prejudice, cultural bias and individual experience play a part in negotiation, dispute resolution and restorative justice. Panelists (from left): Cynthia T. Runge, Esq. (program co-chair), The Law Office of Cynthia T. Runge; Chandra Banks, Cambridge Public School Department; Darren Kew, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Boston; and Julie R. Bryan, Esq. (program co-chair), Casner & Edwards LLP.

Second from Bottom (from left): The MBA's DR Section hosted a Conflict Resolution Day reception on Oct. 17. At the reception, the MBA honored the memory and legacy of Frank Sander, a luminary in the field of conflict resolution, by presenting its MBA Professor Frank E.A. Sander Award in Dispute Resolution to Christine W. Yurgelun, manager of administrative services for the Probate and Family Court Department (pictured with MBA DR Chair Sarah Worley). Special guest Douglas C. Reynolds, Esq., of The New Law Center, provided a keynote on restorative justice.

Bottom (from left): Judge David G. Sacks, chair of the Trial Court Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution; MBA Professor Frank E.A. Sander Award Honoree Christine W. Yurgelun and Judge John Cratsley (ret.), former chair of the Trial Court Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's proclamation declaring Oct. 17, 2019 as "Dispute Resolution Day" in Massachusetts.

The MBA thanks Dispute Resolution Section members, especially Timothy M. Linnehan, Esq., for sharing event photos.

The Massachusetts Bar Association’s Dispute Resolution Section marked Conflict Resolution Week (Oct. 14-18) with a series of free programs designed to highlight the many benefits that dispute resolution processes bring to the legal community and the public.

CR Week kicked off on Oct. 15 at Brockton Trial Court, where DR professionals gathered to acknowledge the success of the court-approved mediation/conciliation programs in the Southeastern Massachusetts area. State Rep. Claire Cronin (D-11th Plymouth), House Judiciary chair, and Judge David G. Sacks, chair of the Trial Court Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution, served as featured speakers at the event.

At the MBA on Oct. 16, a four-member panel discussed how to recognize and overcome personal bias in negotiation, dispute resolution and restorative justice. Panelists included Julie R. Bryan of Casner & Edwards LLP, Cynthia T. Runge of The Law Office of Cynthia T. Runge, Chandra Banks of the Cambridge Public School Department and Darren Kew, Ph.D., of UMass Boston. 

Conflict Resolution Day Reception

The MBA celebrated Conflict Resolution Day 2019 and honored the second recipient of its Professor Frank E.A. Sander Award in Dispute Resolution during a reception on Oct. 17 at the MBA in Boston. 

Christine W. Yurgelun, manager of administrative services for the Probate and Family Court Department, accepted the annual award from the MBA’s DR Section as part of the culminating event in CR Week. Given in memory of Harvard Law School Professor and DR pioneer Frank Sander, the award recognized Yurgelun’s decades-long commitment to supporting and promoting DR programs in the commonwealth. 

Sacks introduced Yurgelun as a 20-year employee of the court's Administrative Office and a trusted resource for DR referral coordinators, litigants and court staff in all 14 divisions statewide. Sacks went on to note that Yurgelun has served for two decades on the Trial Court Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution, and that he relied heavily on her expertise while chairing the court’s Performance and Accountability and ADR steering committees. Yurgelun, Sacks said, helped launch the Trial Court’s only mandatory mediation pilot in Hampden County, as well as a new program allowing litigants in custody cases to receive on-site mediation services on the same day as their child support hearings. 

“The Probate and Family Court has an acknowledged, robust dispute resolution program, and Christine Yurgelun is the clear reason for that,” Sacks said.

Standing before many of her friends and colleagues, Yurgelun said she was grateful to be selected for an award named in honor of Frank Sander, with whom she served on the DR Standing Committee. Yurgelun also discussed how she spent the early days of her career, first as a mediator and then a law student, and how both experiences illustrated the lack of emphasis on dispute resolution within the legal field. Since then, Yurgelun said, dispute resolution has gained increasing acceptance in law schools, the court system and the profession at large. 

“The MBA Dispute Resolution Section and the fact that it exists as a section is a clear reflection of the growth and the evolution [of the field],” Yurgelun said.

The event also featured a keynote address by Douglas C. Reynolds of The New Law Center, who spoke about his work in restorative justice and, specifically, the use of Circle Practice to resolve disputes. Additional speakers included Alison Sander, daughter of Frank Sander; Hon. John C. Cratsley (ret.), former chair of the DR Standing Committee; and Brian R. Jerome, past chair of the MBA’s DR Section Council. 

Conflict Resolution Day was first observed in 2005, according to DR Section Council Chair Sarah E. Worley, who opened the program by reading Gov. Charlie Baker’s proclamation recognizing Oct. 17 as Dispute Resolution Day in Massachusetts.