December 2012 Update

Until this week, the mild weather lulled me into fogetting that winter is upon us. More efforts and developments in the world of communications and disupute resolution have continued through this last fall. Among them:

  • The American Bar Association's Dispute Resolution Section celebrated its annual National Mediation Week in October with a panel of experts in Washington DC. It exposed those of us in the audience to even more interesting people applying skills in diverse forums to help people communicate more effectively to solve problems. One example is the US Department of Justice's Community Relations Service. Not an actual dispute resolution service, this perhaps little-known office sends "SWAT" teams of communicators into areas of the country where a crisis has occurred to facilitate the community reaction and processing of what has happened to members of the community. Kudos for this government program!
  • The American Health Lawyers Association offered a webinar on December 5 about how health lawyers can help health facility clients create a "culture of safety." Good communications to carry out a specific policy and structure to support a safety culture is a big part of the picture. A recording of this webinar will be made available from AHLA ( The webinar is part of AHLA's nascent focus on conflict management in healthcare. The course EADRSolutions pioneered and that I wrote about in my November 5 post here will be offered to AHLA members.
  • The American Bar Association's Health Law Section will offer a course for health lawyers in February 2013 in Florida on conflict coaching when working with health care clients. I will be joining Law Professor Charity Scott, and conflict coach and dispute resolver Debra Gerardi, to present that program. Check out the ABA's Health Law Section website for further details.
  • The Joint ADR Committee, a committee of the Virginia State Bar and Bar Association, is offering a unique training program on January 26, 2013 in Williamsburg Virginia during the Virginia Bar Association Annual Meeting. To encourage pro bono services to Veterans and other military, this program will train lawyers and neutrals about the unique needs of some disabled veterans when  engaged in civil disputes, and how use of mediation can better address these needs. The use of mediation to serve veterans in a variety of legal disputes is slowly beginning to gain traction; some offices such as the Department of Justice office that serves veterans with disability discrimination complaints have experience and outcomes that support the value of such an approach. I have been involved in the planning of what should be an extremely  useful presentation by Kimberly Fauss, Merri Hansen, Dr. Letitia Flores and attorney Michael Miller.

Stay tuned for more to come. I wish inspiration, hope, and peace for all in this beautiful season.     

Jeanne Franklin