ADR Section News & Tips
Message From the Chair
Welcome to the first News & Tips of the new Bar year of the ADR Section! By now, we are accustomed to seeing most communications start with the words, “In these difficult times…” or some variant of that phrase. The ADR Section is proactively approaching “these difficult times” by offering webinars, by the News & Tips contained here, and other exciting projects and programs. 
Please let us know if you have ADR news and tips you’d like to contribute to the next publication, and please stay safe and healthy in these difficult times, because great times are just ahead!

Oscar A. Sanchez
OAS Mediation, Miami
2020-2021 ADR Section Chair
Upcoming Events

  • Oct. 7-10—Florida Bar Fall Meeting, Tampa Airport Marriott

  • Nov. 13—Arbitration Mentoring Academy (virtual event)
If you know someone who might be interested in joining the ADR Section, please share our membership web page— —and let prospective members know that they recoup the annual membership fee by attending just one CLE at the member-discount price! At $45, ADR Section membership is an excellent return on investment.
28th Annual Conference - Dispute Resolution Center
The 2020 Florida Dispute Resolution Center (DRC) Conference will be held  virtually  Aug. 13 - 15, 2020.

The conference features nationally recognized speakers, thought provoking and timely general plenary sessions and a wide selection of individual workshops. The event generally attracts more than 900 conflict resolution practitioners from diverse backgrounds who come to learn from and share ideas with other professionals in the field.

Several ADR Section members are conference presenters. Click on the button below to register.
MEAC Opinion Summaries
Thank you to MEAC Chair Christy Foley for providing this content.

  • 2020-001: This opinion addresses whether there is a waivable conflict of interest in a case where a mediator used to work for the firm that represents one of the parties (and the case came to the firm while the mediator worked there), but the mediator had no contact with the case or the parties. In essence, MEAC stated that the mediator may mediate the case if: (1) she feels she can remain impartial; (2) she discloses the conflict as soon as practicable; and (3) both parties agree to proceed with the mediator after disclosure.

  • 2020-002: This opinion addresses whether a mediator can report "full agreement" or "partial agreement" on a mediation conference report without discussing with the parties whether they want those descriptions to be reported. In essence, MEAC stated that the mediator may ask the parties about whether they believe the agreement resolves all of their issues and whether they want that information reported. Absent agreement from the parties to include such descriptors on the mediation conference report, mediators may only report "agreement," "partial agreement,",or "no agreement" (unless the rules of procedure allow otherwise in a specific case).
Virtual Annual Meeting of the ADR Section
The ADR Section, like many sections, made history this year by holding its first virtual Annual Meeting. The June 17 meeting opened with a video message from outgoing Florida Bar President   John Stewart and remarks by Florida Bar Director of Professional Development Chase Early. The 2020-21 ADR Section officers were sworn in during the annual meeting: Oscar Sanchez , Chair;  Patrick Russell , Chair-Elect; Kathy McLeroy , Treasurer; Christy Foley , Secretary; and Kim Watson Torres , Immediate Past Chair.

Outgoing Chair Kim Torres recognized the hard work of many who assisted during her year with CLE, committees and section activities; each will receive an award or certificate of appreciation. Kim also announced the ADR Section Member of the Year, Christy Foley. Thank you to everyone who joined in for the meeting and awards presentations.
Christy Foley, 2019-2020 ADR Section Member of the Year
Congratulations to attorney-mediator Christy Foley of E-Mediation Services, who was named "Member of the Year" during the section's virtual Annual Meeting on June 17.

Christy was recognized by 2019-2020 Section Chair Kim Torres for her extensive amount of volunteer service on behalf of the section.
This included presenting numerous CLEs, writing an article for The Common Ground, chairing the first-ever ADR Section Membership Committee, representing the section at the Young Lawyers Division’s 2020 Affiliates Outreach Conference and at the 2019 DNC conference. The list goes on.

Christy, thank you for your hard work and for making a difference for the section!
Practice Tip: Transitioning to Neutral
Christina Magee , a former chair of the ADR Section, is the principal in Brevard Mediation Services, a 100-percent Neutral practice in central Florida, operating since 2011.  Kelly Overstreet Johnson , a business litigator and past president of The Florida Bar, is the principal in Overstreet Johnson Mediation and the managing shareholder for Baker Donelson in Tallahassee.

Having transitioned from direct representation to Neutral work, these attorney-Neutrals are ideally situated to address pointers to consider while embarking on a similar path. Look for their insights each month in News & Tips. If you missed the CLE they presented earlier this year, purchase the on-demand or podcast version of " Marketing and Ethics for the Transitioning Neutrals ."
Christina Magee
Kelly Overstreet Johnson
Transitioning to Neutral Tip No. 1: Insurance—Gotta Have It?

Working as a Neutral is different from direct client representation in many ways. Errors & Omissions coverage (aka malpractice insurance) is just one of them. Here are a few points to consider:

  1. Can you afford it? Because of the difference in role that you play as a Neutral vis-à-vis the parties in a mediation or arbitration as compared to being an advocate for a client, insurance for Neutrals tends to be less expensive than typical legal malpractice coverage. Overhead is often a factor when you are trying to get a new practice started. And legal immunity attaches to many situations where a Neutral is functioning in the rule of mediator or arbitrator. So, weighing the costs vs. the risk may argue in favor of not acquiring this coverage.
  2. Can you afford NOT to have it? If you have litigated any case in your entire legal existence and charged a client for that representation, you already know that legal costs and fees can mount up unexpectedly. Do you want to be responsible for the costs of defense if you are named as a tag-along party in a legal malpractice matter that was resolved by a Neutral proceeding that you chaired? Probably not. Having the E&O coverage insulates you from this headache.
  3. Where do you get coverage? Some Neutral organizations have policies available to their members. The Florida Circuit-Civil Mediator Society is one example. You may also contact your current malpractice carrier for a separate rider, especially if you are transitioning to a different type of practice.
  4. Don’t go bare without thinking it through. Not all Neutrals carry insurance, and you may decide that is a better fit for your particular situation. But as with all the aspects of setting up a practice, coverage for potential exposures is one area where avoiding surprises is the smart play.

Check in next month for Tip #2—Conflicts of Interest.
Florida Bar COVID Resources and ADR Section CLE
The Florida Bar's COVID-19 page contains a vast amount of information on pandemic-related court orders and news, bar announcements, and member and consumer resources.

Click on " Member Resources " to access free tutorials, CLE and more.
Attorney-mediators Christina Magee and John Salmon presented " Tips From the Masters: Making the Most of Your Zoom Mediation" on May 20. It is approved for 1.0 CLE/CME credit and 1.0 Technology credit. It is available now on the ADR Section's YouTube Channel and will soon be available on the COVID-19 Member Resources page.
Paperless Mediation A to Z(oom)
Attorney-mediator Jay Hunston recently presented a free CLE on moving your mediation practice toward paperless. This presentation is intended to provide an ADR Neutral with the necessary skills and tools to conduct a totally paperless ADR practice.
In addition, the program demonstrates the capabilities of Zoom as a platform for conducting remote mediation sessions over a wide range of practice areas.

Course number 3960. Originally presented on July 16, 2020. 1.0 General CLE/CME, 1.0 Technology CLE credit. Available on the section's YouTube Channel .
Never Hit Send in Anger: Navigating Professionalism in The Electronic Age
Virtual technology is revolutionizing the administration of justice, but the digital age is also exacting a toll on the legal profession, warns Caroline Johnson, a former member of the Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism and a guest speaker at the 2020 Masters Ethics Seminar sponsored by the Professional Ethics Committee.
“With the increase in the use of social media, there has also been, unfortunately, a coarsening of society,” Johnson said. “Folks are losing their sense of the nobility of the practice of law.”

Johnson said lawyers are forgetting their professional and ethical responsibilities at a time when the Supreme Court is taking an increasingly dim view of ethical violations. Transgressors face reprimands, suspensions or disbarment.
New Florida Lawyers Helpline
The Florida Bar has launched a new Florida Lawyers Helpline that is available 24/7 at 1-833-FL1-WELL (351-9355). The helpline is a free, confidential service to connect Florida Bar members with professional counselors who can provide strategies for dealing with challenges and professional pressures. The counselors are coordinated independently through CorpCare as a Florida Bar Member Benefit.
ADR Section News
Renew Your ADR Section Membership
Florida Bar fee payments are considered late on Aug. 15. If you have not yet paid, sign into your member portal and click the “Pay My Fees” button. When you pay your annual fees, please remember to rewew your ADR Section membership. In addition to being recognized as a dispute resolution professional within The Florida Bar, here are some great reasons to continue your section membership:
  • The section hosts live audio webcasts, generally monthly, so that you can consistently get quality CLE credit on ADR-related topics, technology and ethics, and section members receive discounted registration.
  • Most of our CLEs are also approved as CMEs, so you can earn dual credit.
  • We encourage section members to submit ideas for CLE/CME seminars and to serve as presenters.
  • Section membership enables you to stay informed of changes in the rules and procedures for ADR, with an opportunity to respond to requests for comments.
  • We offer the opportunity to submit articles for publication in our biannual publication, The Common Ground.
  • The section hosts a variety of networking events throughout the year, such as networking socials at conferences like The Florida Bar Annual Convention, The Florida Bar Winter Meeting, and the annual Dispute Resolution Conference.
  • Each year, we host a Mentoring Academy, where attendees can practice new mediation/arbitration techniques and receive live, immediate feedback to improve their skills.
Click below to watch the ADR Section membership video.
Mediation Search Category for Online CLE/CME
"Mediation" now is a search category in  The Florida Bar 's InReach online CLE catalog at .  

We have created a special URL —so you can go directly to the search results. Please bookmark the URL; w e're adding new CLE courses all the time, and most also qualify for CME credit.
Note: Courses on Arbitration may be included in the search results above but they do not qualify for CME credits.
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