Lawyers and ADR: Counseling and Advocacy

Virginia is a jurisdiction where its practricing attorneys have an affirmative obligation to be sufficiently aware of the nuances of different ADR processes to provide their clients with effective access to use of an ADR process when it could be helpful to meeting a client's goals. In short, lawyers are recognized as having a gatekeeping function for their clients. Appreciating that role and how to discharge it well is a continuing educational project in Virginia. It is possible that some of the work being done in Virginia could benefit lawyers and clients in other states as well. Understanding when early interventions are more conducive to achieving client goals, and understanding when positional bargaining may or may not be appropriate to meeting client needs are important topics for attorney consideration.

The Virginia Joint Committee (of the Virginia State Bar and the Virginia Bar Association) on Alternative Dispute Resolution launched an initiative in 2009 to make sure that Virginia lawyers are aware of the relatively recent ethical rules about counseling clients and developing strategies to meet client needs and objectives, including appropriate and best use of ADR processes. This was the subject of two CLEs presented by the Joint Committee  in January and June 2009, "Well-Tailored ADR: Getting Your Client The Right Fit is a Matter of Ethics." You can access selected handout materials from that CLE program as well as a copy of the article that summarizes the program. The Joint Committee has posted the materials as a public service to Virginia lawyers.

Continuing this educational outreach initiative, "Mastering The Art of Advocacy in ADR: Tips and Techniques for the Skilled Practitioner" is a second offering of the Joint Committee. (This January 2010 program will be repeated on June 18,2010 at the Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach.)

A version of the Well-Tailored ADR program has been presented by Jeanne Franklin and Lawrence "Larry" Hoover in Old Town Alexandria on April 28, 2010, jointly sponsored by the Alexandria Bar Association; plans are underway for a similar presentation in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Please feel free to contact Jeanne Franklin if you have questions about these programs.

Jeanne Franklin