PBCBA BAR BULLETINS PBCBA_october2017.finalB - Page 9

ADR C o r n e r October is Conflict Resolution Month: A Reminder “It’s Us or Them” is Not the Only Alternative THEODORE A. DECKERT 2 017 has presented very dramatic examples of different ways to approach the challenges of conflict in our lives and our societies, be they personal, religious, societal, local, national or international. We are in the midst of a time in our history where the need to be heard and respected, individually or as part of the group with which we identify as “us” has risen to the point that “fighting for us” is viewed by many as a better way for “us to be heard” than dialogue with those we see as “them.” October is recognized by various groups around the world as Conflict Resolution Month to promote and celebrate peaceful conflict resolution practices worldwide and it is a good reminder that the “it’s us or them”, “winner or loser” perspectives are not the most effective way to achieve the best long term outco me for all concerned. Diplomacy and negotiation have long been recognized as better than force as the way to resolve political and other national and international disputes. Various forms of “Alternative Dispute Resolution” (ADR) have been incorporated into many treaties and other agreements. As most lawyers are aware, ADR , and in particular mediation, has become more and more common in the legal world over the last few decades. Whether by contract, statute or rule, it is often the first resolution process parties with a dispute must utilize before they can “go to court.” As such, it has grown from the “alternative” into the primary process for resolving many types of personal, business or other disputes and it continues to be recognized and implemented more and more for all manner of disputes. The Association for Conflict Resolution, commonly known as ACR, established the third Thursday in October as “Conflict Resolution Day” in 2005. I have been a member of ACR for many years and as described on its website, “www.acrnet.org”, ACR is a national professional association for mediators, arbitrators, educators and other conflict resolution practitioners. ACR was formed in 2001 when several professional dispute resolution organizations merged. ACR works in a wide range of settings throughout the United States and around the world enhancing the practice and public understanding of conflict resolution. activities can be found at the ABA Mediation Week website: “https://www.americanbar.org /groups/ dispute_resolution/events_cle/mediation_week. html” Several states recognize October as Conflict Resolution Month each year. While Florida has not yet done so, Florida has celebrated Mediation Week. For several years the Governor has issued a proclamation recognizing Mediation Week Conflict Resolution Day this year is October in Florida. As of the time this article is being 19. Per the ACR website, Conflict Resolution written The Florida Dispute Resolution Center has Day was conceived by ACR to: requested Governor Scott issue a proclamation •Promote awareness of mediation, declaring Mediation Week in the State of Florida arbitration, conciliation and other creative, which hopefully will have been issued by the time peaceful means of resolving conflict; •Promote the use of conflict resolution in this article is published. Locally, City of West schools, families, businesses, communities, Palm Beach, Palm Beach County Commission and Palm Beach County School Board will be issuing governments and the legal system; Mediation Week proclamations. Thank you to •Recognize the significant contributions West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio and Palm of (peaceful) conflict resolvers; and •Obtain national synergy by having Beach County Mayor Paula Burdick, and School celebrations happen across the country and Superintendent Dr. Robert Avossa for sponsoring these proclamations. around the world on the same day. Additional information about the ACR Our ADR Committee of the Palm Conflict Resolution Day programs and activities Beach County Bar Association has over the years can be found by clicking on the “Education” Tab also organized various community activities to at the ACR website mentioned previously. promote mediation during Mediation Week. This year there is an essay contest for public middle In addition to ACR’s Conflict and high school students to write about this year’s Resolution Day, In 2011 the American Bar ABA mediation week theme. As in past years, the Association declared the third week of October committee offers speakers to civic, business and “ABA Mediation Week” building on the efforts other organizations as part of its goal to promote of ACR and many other national, state, and ADR and inform our local community about local organizations which have traditionally ADR. Anyone who knows a group that would like celebrated conflict resolution during the month someone to speak about ADR should email me of October. ABA Mediation Week this year is at “ted@matrixmediation.com”. For articles and October 15-21. The theme for ABA Mediation many other resources about mediation and ADR, Week this year is “Mediation, Civility, and please go to the ADR Committee webpage at the Power of Understanding.” Per the ABA http://www.palmbeachbar.org/adr. website, “The ABA Mediation Week initiative is a celebration of the strides we have made in institutionalizing mediation as one of several appropriate dispute resolution processes.” Information and resources for programs and * Theodore A. Deckert, Esq. is a Past Chair of the Palm Beach County Bar Association ADR Committee and a Past President of The Florida Academy of Professional Mediators. He has been a full time Mediator and Third Party Neutral affiliated with Matrix Mediation LLC since 2008. He has been a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil & Family Mediator since 2000 and prior to becoming a full time mediator, he was a civil trial attorney since 1976 and a Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer for 25 years. He has helped thousands of people resolve virtually every type of civil dispute. 9