Committee Q&A: A Conversation with Mediation Committee Co-Chair, Marjorie Berman 

marjorieberman

As part of our continuing “Committee Q&A” series, we sat down recently with Mediation Committee Co-Chair, Marjorie Berman of Krantz & Berman (pictured), to learn more about what this committee has been up to and has planned for the future.

~ ~ ~

The Mediation Committee consists of CPR members throughout the world and aims to enhance the quality and effectiveness of corporate mediation practice, both domestically and internationally.  The Mediation Committee recently released Mediation Best Practices Guide for In-House Counsel: Make Mediation Work for You, a CPR members-only guide with insider tips from in-house counsel on how to navigate every step of the mediation process (digital copies available to CPR members at no cost).  The Mediation Committee meets quarterly to collaborate and share best practices and put on programs of interest.   In addition, the Committee works to identify qualified neutrals to serve on CPR’s Panels of Distinguished Neutrals. You may find online, CPR’s Mediation ProcedureFast Track Rules for Mediation, and International Mediation Procedure (2017), as well as other industry-specific protocols.

Q. What are some of the specific issues that the Mediation Committee has focused on recently, and how?

A. I am a relatively new add to the committee but, looking back at just the past two meetings we’ve held, the first was on the Singapore Convention. We worked to fashion a program that would be meaningful – and useful – to people at all levels, including some who may not be as familiar with international law.  And at our most recent meeting, we focused on the very timely topic of confidentiality in mediation.

There has been a recent vintage of challenges to the confidentiality of mediation in the courts. Eugene Farber and Professor Nancy Rogers of the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law spoke, and the meeting was super lively and chock full of information. The event also inspired a very strong dialogue among the participants with respect to both knowledge and practice tips on anticipating that such issues could arise.

Q. Can you give us a preview of some of the important issues the Mediation Committee will be focusing on in the coming year?  

A. One long-term focus of the committee is an even closer look at this issue of confidentiality in mediation. Because candor between a mediator and parties is essential, mediation depends upon the privileges and confidentiality that protect those communications. The law protecting mediation communications is a patchwork of federal and individual case statutes, case law and rules of conduct that vary across jurisdictions.

This project will inform practitioners of the law and rules governing mediation confidentiality by jurisdiction so they can prepare themselves in the event they need to mediate in an unfamiliar locale. In fact, as people are reading this, and they have personal experiences with challenges to confidentiality and being put in the spotlight in a litigation – not where mediators wish to be! – I encourage them to share those stories with the committee.  

Q. What have you personally gotten out of participating in CPR’s committee structure, and what would you say to busy CPR members about why they should become more involved?

A. Even in the short term in which I’ve been intensely involved, participation in the committee has given me exposure to a wide variety of mediators working in many different contexts, and to a breadth of mediation practices. We can all so easily develop a narrow focus in our work, so it is especially valuable to get perspective from all angles – including from inside and outside litigators using mediation, mediators doing mediation, mediators working both in the US and around the world and academics studying mediation.

Q. Why would you encourage people to join CPR’s Mediation Committee in particular?

A. To some degree mediators tend to be in a bit of a closed world. They mediate cases and its often just them, in a room as a mediator. Being a part of such a dynamic and interactive group expands your view and allows you to process and grow both your perspective and your practice. This is valuable whether you’re a mediator trying to develop your own practice, or a litigator from a corporation or a law firm who is involved as a participant, trying to get a perspective of where mediators are coming from – because you can’t have that kind of conversation with your own mediator.

Committee participation also provides the broader opportunity to act as a thought leader, helping to improve the effectiveness of mediation and to shape best practices. Mediation is a very dynamic area where small changes can produce big results in terms of outcomes, and this committee offers an opportunity to become a meaningful part of that.

Marjorie Berman of Krantz & Berman LLP represents civil litigants in business disputes, employers and employees in employment conflicts, and individuals in white-collar criminal matters.

~ ~ ~

CPR committees are always looking to increase membership and participation, and there are no extra fees or costs associated with joining. Learn more about CPR’s other industry and subject matter committees here. To become a committee member, log in and join the committee(s) of your choice or email a note of interest to Richard Murphy at rmurphy@cpradr.org.

Take your seat at the table, along with
other thought leaders in your industry.

JOIN A CPR COMMITTEE TODAY

 

 

Committee Q&A: A Conversation with the Co-Chairs of CPR’s Environmental Committee

We sat down recently with the Co-Chairs of CPR’s Environmental Committee, Steven Antunes of AEGIS Insurance Services, Inc. and John Bickerman of Bickerman Dispute Resolution, PLLC, to learn more about what this dynamic committee has been up to and has planned for the future.

~ ~ ~

The Environmental Committee focuses generally on promoting the use of ADR in the environmental context and identifying best practices for mediation and arbitration in this highly technical area of the law. What are some of the specific issues that the Committee has focused on recently, and how?

John Bickerman: As working effectively with the government is almost always a critical component of environmental matters, the Committee organized a presentation on “Best Practices for Resolving Government Disputes” in Washington, D.C. in April 2018, featuring senior jurists from the EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board and directors of the dispute resolution divisions of FERC and the DOI.  Every agency has its own dispute resolution program. In the future, we intend to engage other agencies and have meetings outside of Washington, DC.  For example, we are considering holding meetings in the cities where EPA has regional offices because much of the interaction that the business community may have will come through the regional offices.

Steven Antunes: And just last month, we hosted a lunch time webinar on Ash Pond featuring Vivek Chopra of Perkins Coie and Kieran J. Purcell, Environmental Division Director of Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc. A recording of this webinar is available, for CPR members only, on CPR’s website HERE (members must be logged in to access). The Committee provided a primer on the functionality of an ash pond and its potential environmental affects and how ADR is utilized in resolving legal conflicts arising there from.

Can you give us a preview of some of the important environmental issues the Committee will be focusing on next?

Steven Antunes: The re-emergence of asbestos litigation has become an issue. The Committee will offer a comprehensive webinar in December 2019 regarding the role ADR plays in resolving asbestos-related matters.  The Committee is also putting together a session on how ADR should/could resolve potential environmental issues arising out of a Green New Deal scenario.

John Bickerman: One of the very significant challenges industry faces is the shifting regulatory and enforcement regimes of different Administrations. How much does the mission of an environmental agency change with each new Administration and how do companies plan and manage their environmental programs?

What have you both personally gotten out of participating in CPR’s committee structure, and what would you say to busy CPR members about why they should become more involved?

John Bickerman: Committee work gives a member the opportunity to immerse oneself more fully in specific areas of interest. Through committee work, a member can meet and develop meaningful relationships with colleagues who have shared interests. And, as a full-time neutral, CPR programs have provided an opportunity to understand better the thinking and approach of key corporate decision makers on how they approach resolving disputes.  And, it has also given prospective clients an opportunity to meet me and understand how I do my job.

Steven Antunes: My company is a longstanding CPR member and advocate of ADR so, I acknowledge that there may be a bias in my experience but every time I leave a CPR event, including Environmental Committee meetings, I walk away having learned something that will assist me in reaching an acceptable resolution to a matter. Committee members can be involved to whatever extent works for them. One can choose to formally participate and volunteer for projects, such as creating the resources that committees often collaboratively author. The opportunity to assume leadership roles on the CPR Committees exists or one can just take advantage of the events, which are an exclusive benefit of CPR membership. These events alone provide incredibly rewarding educational and networking experiences and truly should not be missed. They are also a great way to explore various committees one might be interested in before formally joining. The exchange of ideas and experiences that takes place during CPR events is invaluable. I challenge anyone to find an organization that offers its membership comparable access to business, corporate and legal talent.

Why would you encourage people to join the Environmental Committee?  

John Bickerman: Environmental issues will always be at the forefront of public policy and draw great public attention. The committee provides an opportunity to learn about these issues and be better prepared for the future impacts environmental policies will have on the business community.

Steven Antunes:  First of all, there can never be too much talent or knowledge associated with a given topic. If your practice involves any type of environmental issue, this CPR value added opportunity will only enhance your ability to successfully navigate the process of resolving environmental issues without the high costs and drawn out litigation process. This Committee offers first class interaction between/among some of the best in the environmental business.

~ ~ ~

CPR committees are always looking to increase membership and participation, and there are no extra fees or costs associated with joining. Learn more about CPR’s other industry and subject matter committees here. To become a committee member, log in and join the committee(s) of your choice or email a note of interest to Richard Murphy at rmurphy@cpradr.org.

Take your seat at the table, along with
other thought leaders in your industry.

JOIN A CPR COMMITTEE TODAY