The mission of the Membership Committee is to encourage members of the dispute resolution community – users, providers, scholars and students – as well as members of the Bar who wish to increase or enhance the use of ADR in their practices, to join our Dispute Resolution Section. Membership in the Section helps promote, develop and refine the practices and profession of dispute resolution in New York State and around the country. It offers a forum for reflective discussion of dispute resolution themes, processes and practices; presents opportunities for the enhancement of skills in mediation, negotiation, arbitration – for representatives and neutrals alike; and promotes consideration of ethical issues and legislative initiatives pertinent to this field.

The Committee seeks broad diversity of members to our Section to benefit from the input and representation from as many practices and viewpoints as possible as the dispute resolution field develops, and to serve the needs of practitioners in all areas. The Membership Committee encourages active participation of Section members in the work of the various committees of the Section, both for the professional development it offers participating members and for the benefits provided by those committees to the dispute resolution profession, users, the public and the Bar.

The Membership Committee, co-chaired by Marcia L. Adelson and Mary K. Austin, Esq., has accomplished a great deal in the last 2 years. It has increased our membership from approximately 50 original members of the section in June, 2008 to almost 3,000 today. The Membership Committee developed our section brochure, posters, recruitment literature, postcards and law student literature. The committee established liaisons with various organizations, ADR and professional organizations and Bar Associations, and co-sponsored events and trainings with these organizations.

The Committee continues to work on increasing member benefits. The Section already offers many benefits including CLE programs on ADR and networking opportunities, a subscription to the New York Dispute Resolution Lawyer publication, a subscription to the Section newsletter, the opportunity to meet with others in the ADR field at committee meetings to discuss and learn from others about issues and techniques in ADR, a mediation mentoring program for our members developed with the Diversity and Mediation Committees, reduced charges for DR Section programming and liaisons with diverse Bar Associations with whom we are working in conjunction with the Diversity Committee to develop joint programs. The Committee is also investigating how to provide low rate group malpractice insurance for mediators.

As our young members are critical to the Section’s growth and to the utilization of ADR, the Committee has been actively reaching out to the law schools and recent graduates. The Committee contacts all of the law school professors that teach ADR in New York area schools at the beginning of each academic year asking them to post and hand out specially developed literature and special offers focusing on law students. The Committee has utilized law students to write case notes for the Section’s publication and had them serve as “reporters” for our annual meeting programs providing students with free entry to the program and an opportunity to report on the program in an article. Section members have attended many law school events in which students learn about different areas of law and what career paths they may pursue to discuss ADR with them. The Membership Committee plans to continue and expand on these initiatives. Please join to help continue to increase our membership; which, in turn, supports and encourages the acceptance and usage of dispute resolution processes in New York.

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