Web Site

Visit our web site at alabamaadr.org.

Consumer Complaints Against Mediators and Arbitrators For Ethical Violations

Neutrals at workAny individual who believes a mediator or arbitrator (the neutral) has violated one or more Standards of the Alabama Code of Ethics for Mediators or one or more Canons of the Alabama Code of Ethics for Arbitrators may file a complaint with the Alabama Center for Dispute Resolution.

The complaint must be in writing under oath on the form provided by the Alabama Center for Dispute Resolution.  The complaint must state with particularity the facts that form the basis of the complaint.

We have posted the Alabama Supreme Court Commission on Dispute Resolution procedures and the Complaint form on the website. Read more at http://alabamaadr.org/web/publicinfo/complaints/.


Reminder – June 12th – 9th Annual ABA Advanced Training Arbitration Institute

June 12-13, 2015

American Bar Association
321 N Clark St Fl 14 Chicago, IL 60654-7598

This two day training will be presented by a panel of nationally recognized arbitrators and arbitration advocates. Let the panel of experts walk you through the arbitration process from start to finish. This limited capacity training will provide you with a unique learning environment and industry contacts you will sustain throughout your career.

Friday Sessions

  • Overview — Sources of Arbitral Authority and Administered Programs
  • The Role of the Arbitrator and the Disclosure Requirement
  • Economical and Efficient Arbitration
  • Recent Developments in International Arbitration – Lunch
  • Managing Discovery
  • Managing the Parties and Their Lawyers
  • Preparing for the Hearing

 Saturday Sessions

  • Hearing and Managing the Evidence
  • An Approach to Award Writing
  • Award Essentials and Formats
  • Developing a Personal Career Plan – Lunch
  • Award Writing Practicum
  • Interim Awards and Partial Final Awards
  • Remedies
  • Post-Award Process

 Who Should Attend?

  • Those planning a career move to arbitration
  • Litigators wanting to better utilize arbitration and gain insights into how arbitrators approach their task
  • Experienced arbitrators wanting to better understand recent developments and trends in arbitration
  • In-house counsel, including those who manage disputes, interested in learning the nuts and bolts of arbitration

Why Should You Attend?

  • Access new ideas in arbitration
  • Acquire innovative strategies to build and market your practice
  • Advance your own skills, knowledge and practice techniques
  • Discuss current trends and practices

Connect with nationally recognized arbitration experts and develop new business contacts Enhance your credibility as a thought leader in the industry



List Price: $1,250.00

ABA Member Price: $1,170.00

Sponsor Member Price: $1,100.00

ADR Safety Planning: Recommended Guidance from ACR’S Task Force

From the Association for Conflict Resolution’s website: “(ACR) Taskforce on Safety in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has drafted the ADR Safety Planning: Recommended Guidance to promote the safety of practitioners and participants in ADR processes.  The Recommendations are intended to encourage and assist practitioners and ADR provider organizations when considering, planning for, and implementing safety procedures in all ADR processes they conduct.”  The Taskforce Committee Chair Emeritus is Stephen Kotev at stephen@stephenKotev.com.

Text of the Recommendations is available for download at  http://www.imis100us2.com/acr/ACR/Resources/Taskforce_on_Safety_Recommended_Guidance/ACR/Resources/Taskforce_on_Safety_Recommended_Guidance.aspx?hkey=dfeca714-b184-478d-8e34-b4905e486319.




2015 Appellate Mediation Training Held March 12

The 2015 Appellate Mediation Training session was held on March 12. The Alabama Center of Dispute Resolution hosted 28 mediators for this year’s appellate mediation training. Highlights of the training included the following:

Chief Justice Roy Moore addresses the appellate mediation class

Chief Justice Roy Moore addresses the appellate mediation class

Chief Justice Roy Moore began the morning with a brief address to the class.

Allison Skinner, Esq. of Skinner Neutral Services, Birmingham, and Jim Rives, Esq. of Ball Ball Matthews and Novak in Montgomery, focused on mediation skills and techniques for the appellate arena.

Speakers: Michelle Ohme, Supreme Court of Alabama; Lynn DeVaughn, Alabama Court of Civil Appeals; Allison Skinner, Esq., and Jim Rives, Esq.

Speakers: Michelle Ohme, Supreme Court of Alabama; Lynn DeVaughn, Alabama Court of Civil Appeals; Allison Skinner, Esq., and Jim Rives, Esq.

Michelle Ohme from the Supreme Court of Alabama and Lynn DeVaughn from the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals reviewed the rules, program materials, statistics, and how cases are handled.

Presiding Judge William C. Thompson of the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals joined the class to make a few remarks about appellate mediation and his court.

Julia Weller, Esq., Clerk of the Supreme Court of Alabama and Rebecca Oates, Esq., Clerk of the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals presented information about their courts.

Appellate Mediation Panel

Appellate Mediation Panel: Hon. Art Hanes, Louis Colley, Esq., Phil Adams, Esq. (left to right)

A panel of expert appellate mediators spent an hour and a half sharing their experiences and taking questions: Honorable Art Hanes of Upchurch, Watson, White & Max, Birmingham; Phil Adams, Esq. of Adams White Oliver Short & Forbus, LLP in Opelika; and Louis Colley, Esq. of the Law Office of Louis C. Colley, LLC.

Judith Keegan, Esq., Executive Director of the Alabama Center of Dispute Resolution provided the mediator ethics component.

Judy Keegan on mediator ethics with the appellate mediators class

Judy Keegan on mediator ethics with the appellate mediators class

News for Alabama Neutrals, 1st Quarter Newsletter Online

The 2015 1st Quarter newsletter has been sent to our email recipients list and is also available:

Alabama Mediators: The ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Delegation goes to Cuba

Cuba DelegationDebra Leo, Esq. of Leo & Associates, formerly of the EEOC, supplied this synopsis of the trip she, Cassandra Adams and Quentin Brown took to Cuba in November.

A delegation from the Dispute Resolution Section of the American Bar Association visited Cuba from November 9 through November 14, 2014. Of the 31 delegates, three were from Alabama – Debra Leo, Cassandra Adams and Quentin Brown.

The purpose of the trip was to discuss dispute resolution processes in the Cuban justice system. The delegates initially met with the National Union of Jurists of Cuba, a professional organization for lawyers, to discuss legal education in Cuba. The universities are free, however, it is extremely competitive to get in. Between 1982 and 1992 graduating law students were required to practice in a “bufete” for three years as a social service. Now graduating students can provide their social services at a wide array of legal jobs. Bufetes are collective law offices, first established by the Ministry of Justice after the private practice of law was abolished, and currently under the oversight of the National Organization of Bufetes Colectivos (ONBC).

The delegation met with a local trade union, CTC, to discuss labor mediation. They also met with the Cuban Society of Constitutional and Administrative Law to discuss the Cuban legal system, analysis of the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba and the Cuban electoral system. The Cuban Society of Civil and Family Law discussed the Civil Code and its institutions, experiences of Family Court, family mediation processes, and resolution of family disputes through the courts. The delegates also met with criminal law specialists (judges and expert members of the Cuban Society of Penal Sciences) and had an exchange with litigant lawyers.

Professional judges in Cuba are elected for unlimited terms, serving until they are no longer capable or until removed by the electoral body. Persons seeking to become judges are required to pass an examination given by the Ministry of Justice. The requirements to be a judge include age, citizenship, and a requisite amount of legal experience that varies depending upon which court one is to serve on (10 years for Supreme Court; five years for Provincial Courts; two years for municipal courts.)

Membership in the Cuban Communist Party is not required to be a judge. Lay judges serve alongside professional judges in all levels of the judicial system. Candidates for the position of lay judge are nominated in workplace assemblies and are screened by the Ministry of Justice to ensure they meet the age and citizenship requirements. They are given training before their employment begins. Lay judges are elected for terms of five years, serving a maximum of 30 days per year (This is because lay judges continue their regular employment.) On a whole, lay judges tend to represent the overall population in terms of race, gender, employment, and education.

It was not surprising to find that no formal dispute resolution process is institutionalized in Cuba’s justice system. As in the United States, mediation was used primarily in the family court system. The parties we met with were receptive to dispute resolution processes and interested in how they are used in the United States. The Cuban court system did not appear to be as overburdened as our courts are, and the judicial process was not as time consuming as it is in the United States. It was interesting that the majority of judges that met with the delegation are female.

The delegation also met with the wife of one of the Cuban 5. It was quite interesting to hear her perspective, along with the attorney who represented Alan Gross. We also met with a community project and discussed discrimination issues in Cuba.

I believe it was a general consensus of the delegates that Cuba was a lot more progressive than expected. Renovations were ongoing throughout Havana. Cubans appeared optimistic because of changes that had occurred in the past five years and were interested in the United States and our way of life. It was surprising to find a great number of tourists in Cuba (excluding Americans). The delegates had some free time to explore Havana and experience the private restaurants and clubs.

With the restrictions between Cuba and the United States lifted, it will be interesting to see the revitalization continue.

Temporary Halt to Foreclosure Prevention Mortgage Modification Mediation Program

Download the Free Mediation to Prevent Foreclosure brochure

Temporary Halt to New Cases
Due to a change in grant funds, we will not be accepting any new cases under this program until new grant funds have been secured. The Center will pay for the cost of wrapping up all open cases (there are over 90 cases open).

This program was designed to mediate foreclosure and other mortgage problems and assist both homeowners and mortgage servicers in resolving foreclosures.

We hope to resume new meditations this spring.


This type of mediation is a confidential and voluntary process where you and the servicer may discuss ways to resolve your homeowner issues with an impartial third party called a mediator. Mediation can be an effective intervention tool particularly when used early.

Of course, the ideal situation is for the homeowner and the servicer to communicate on their own, but we all know that talking to a servicer can be intimidating, overwhelming or confusing. When communication is difficult or has broken down, this is a time to use mediation.

Learn more and download a brochure at http://alabamaadr.org/web/publicinfo/Foreclosure/index.php.

Free to Low-Cost Divorce and Parenting Mediation

Family MediationMediation empowers people to resolve custody and parenting issues themselves, without giving all the power to a judge.

Family mediation is a process where an impartial third person, the mediator, helps people negotiate with one another to resolve issues relating to parenting, divorce, or issues that arise after a divorce. The mediator can:

  • Help parties discuss parenting time and responsibilities.
  • Facilitate discussion of assets and liabilities, including property and businesses, and spousal support, if any.
  • Allow each party the opportunity to communicate his or her concerns to the other party.
  • Encourage the parties to explore alternative ways to resolve problems.
  • Help parties negotiate an agreement satisfying to both. Encourage parents to use problem-solving skills in the future to address issues and deal with conflict.

The Center pays mediators with the special designation, *divorce/domestic relations to provide mediation to families at low to no cost. To date, we have handled 65 cases. Learn more at alabamaadr.org/web/publicinfo/FamilyMediation.

Like us on Facebook!!

Visit our new Facebook page!

We now have a Facebook page!

Visit our page and stay on top of the latest ADR  news at facebook.com/alabamaadr

Mediator Roster Applications are Online

ApplicationApplications for the 2015-2016 Mediator Roster have been updated and are available on the website at http://alabamaadr.org/web/roster-documents/roster-applications.php.

Visit the website to read Mediator Standards and Registration Procedures as well as highlights of current projects.

You can also link directly to the Mediator Application Packages here: 

Applications for the Arbitrator and Private Judge rosters will be available soon.