Fifth Annual Mediation Settlement Day Set For October 20

Saturday, October 1, 2005 - 01:00

On October 20, The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, together with courts, law schools, government agencies, bar associations, community organizations, and securities industry self-regulatory organizations, will again sponsor the fifth annual Mediation Settlement Day in New York.At this event, citywide and statewide activities will showcase mediation as a form of alternative dispute resolution.Participating organizations, including the New York State Unified Court System, NASD, and New York City's Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH), are gearing up toward Mediation Settlement Day - planning seminars and panels that will highlight how mediation can help effectively resolve disputes.

Mediation allows parties to meet voluntarily with a neutral third party, the mediator to try to resolve disputes outside the courtroom - without lengthy litigation or heavy costs in money, time, and energy.Once the parties reach an agreement, it is usually confirmed in writing. This cooperative process can be a more cost-effective way of dealing with conflicts than litigation because it seeks to resolve the parties' differences relatively quickly, without tying up resources in conducting extensive discovery, drafting reports and briefs, or handling appeals. Furthermore, because these discussions are private and informal, both parties tend to be more open to finding a mutually satisfactory solution. Surveys initiated by organizations that use mediation reflect positive feedback and indicate that the participants, as well as other stakeholders (e.g., agency management personnel and employees' unions) often leave with great satisfaction.

The inaugural Mediation Settlement Day in 2001 took place in the wake of September 11 and provided a way for participating lawyers, mediators, and ADR administrators to contribute to the healing of New York City. Since then, the event has hosted an increasingly younger and larger audience, as well as a more geographically diverse crowd. The Asian American Bar Association as well as the Association of Black Women Attorneys are among the new sponsors.Groups from Chicago, San Francisco, and even as far as Mexico, have also rallied support behind Mediation Settlement Day, joining the over-90 community organizations. Locally, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has voiced his support of Mediation Settlement Day with thanks for continued efforts to increase awareness of mediation. On the state level, New York Governor George E. Pataki has issueda first-ever Proclamation in supportof Mediation Settlement Day.Based on the broad support base from the 2004 event, the organizers expect an even greater response to Mediation Settlement Day 2005.

The kick-off event for Mediation Settlement Day 2005 is on October 6 at the House of the Association, 42 West 44th Street, New York City. The kick-off will feature an Open House, with informational tables at which attendees can mingle, investigate career possibilities, and learn more about mediation.It will also present excellent opportunities for budding attorneys to network and be introduced to the ADR profession. The attendees always include a number of representatives from the judiciary and the public sector. The organizing committee hopes to attract more participants from the corporate sector, too, who could be potential parties in the mediation process.The event also promises to draw leaders from the ADR world, as well as mediation supporters from both inside and outside the legal community.In previous years, the Honorary Chairs of Mediation Settlement Day have been Lenny Wilkens, former head coach of the New York Knicks basketball team (Mediation Settlement Day 2004), former United States Attorney General Janet Reno (Mediation Settlement Day 2003), and the Honorable Andrew Jackson Young, Jr., former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (Mediation Settlement Day 2002).Both Honorary Chairs are avid proponents of mediation as an effective tool for resolving conflicts. The organizers will likely invite another highly accomplished advocate of mediation to be the honorary chair this year. These keynote speakers, as well as other panel participants, volunteer their time and energy not only to educate judges, parties, and attorneys about the benefits of mediation, but also to inspire others with their personal success stories in utilizing mediation.

Mediation is still an emerging field, with much room for growth, and Mediation Settlement Day seeks to capitalize on the momentum of the mounting interest in it.Given the wide array of speakers, activities, and resources convened at this event, the organizers guarantee that Mediation Settlement Day 2005 will be an even bigger hit than before. For further information, please contact Ken Andrichik at ken.andrichik@nasd.com.