This year has been a particularly exciting and challenging one for the ADR Section of the State Bar. This was a year of unprecedented interest and growth in the field of ADR in this state, largely as a result of the implementation of the new ADR court rules.
In response to the increased interest in ADR, the council determined soon after the Annual Meeting to engage in a strategic planning process that would focus the section's work over the next several years. This process began in earnest in December 2001, and will conclude by July 2002. Strategic planning is critically important to enable the council to identify priorities and allocate limited resources in adequately and competently undertaking those priorities that will serve the interests of section members:
- First, the commitment to planning ensures that the agenda is proactive and based upon the shared goals of the council, available resources, and section strengths and capacity;
- Second, the agenda will have short and long-term actions that may evolve as warranted by the environment, but not by individual agendas, at the leadership level;
- Third, planning allows the council, on behalf of the section, to identify potential collaborative opportunities within and outside the State Bar and to cultivate those relationships and projects over an extended period of time;
- Fourth, in using planning process as a basis for action, the council is in a better position to cultivate leaders and volunteers who are best situated to assist the section in accomplishing its goals. We send a clearer message about what our section will be doing and we do a better job of recognizing and including the range of expertise that already exists within our state; and
- Finally, through strategic planning we can communicate more clearly the focus of our activities to many outside the section looking to us for help and support.
As the plan is completed, the souncil will be working energetically to develop a streamlined committee structure that can effectively execute the plan. We are confident that this will afford section members some exciting volunteer opportunities in ADR. The council looks forward to presenting the strategic plan at the Annual Meeting in September. We will welcome the opportunity to answer questions and receive feedback.
Training and Education
Another primary focus for the section this year was the development of a partnership with the Institute for Continuing Legal Education. The culmination of this work was the extremely successful "First Annual Advanced Negotiation and Dispute Resolution Institute," held in Ann Arbor in March 2002. The institute replaced the section's traditional mid-year educational program and participation was unprecedented. The section was particularly gratified by the attendance of so many in the field of family and probate ADR, as well as general civil. Work is already underway for the second annual ANDR institute in 2003.
The section's newsletter was published six times in 2001-2002. The articles reflected the breadth of the ADR field, including topics on mediation and arbitration. For example, practical suggestions were offered in "7 Deadly Sins...Mediators Make" and theoretical issues were addressed in "Understanding Confidentiality..." both in the March 2002 issue. Members were also kept informed of section events and training opportunities. The ADR Newsletter is an important tool for continuing the statewide dialogue about ADR and developing the expertise of ADR practitioners.
Legislation and Court Rules
Section members were active in the development of circuit court ADR plans and the development of SCAO guidelines on a range of issues related to the implementation of ADR plans. Input on behalf of the section was routinely provided to SCAO on a range of issues relating to the new court rules on ADR.