11 Aug 2007
A round-up of recent stories from members of MEDAL – the International Mediation Services Alliance.
News from ACB, Netherlands
First copy of Toolkit Mediation Advocacy presented to the President of the Dutch Bar Association, Els Unger, during ACB member meeting.
No American conditions yet in The Netherlands, but the amount of legal proceedings grow exponentially. Instructive is the development of class actions, like the Dexia-case. “Mediation advocacy services need to be extended. Not just to exploit a chance, but also because clients expect that law firms develop towards professional solution deliverers.”
Said Marry de Gaay Fortman, partner at Houthoff Buruma (www.houthoff.com) - one of the largest Dutch law firms - during her opening speech of the ACB-member meeting about ‘the art of representing your client in mediation and other methods of effective dispute resolution’.
This art is often underestimated. Many lawyers do not realize it‘s a new field of study. In a nutshell the mediation advocate needs additional expertise and skills than those needed as a litigation or transaction lawyer. The more ‘mediation proficient’ the lawyer, the more successful the mediation. A practical reference book, like the Toolkit of ACB director and author Manon Schonewille, is an important underpinning.
The Toolkit Mediation website is at - www.toolkitmediation.com
Protocol of cooperation to underline the importance of the connection between NGB and ACB to stimulate effective dispute resolution.
ACB is already recommended by the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW) and recently the agreement with the Netherlands Association of Company Lawyers, NGB, was formalized. NGB recommends ACB as representive of the private sector in Alternative Dispute Resolution and especially mediation to their members, consisting of 1100 (Chief) Legal Officers,
ACB will also support NGB in offering information and training to the NGB members. Due to the benefit of a business approach and thereupon connected time and monetary advantages NGB characterizes mediation as an important tools for resolving commercial disputes.
Go to www.ngb.nl for the Netherlands Association of Company Lawyers.
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News from ADR Center, Italy
Preventing and Managing International Commercial Disputes – September 28-29 Rome, Italy
On September 28 and 29 the top international arbitrators and mediators from five continents will convene in Rome, Italy, for a special conference on ADR.
The theme of the conference is Preventing and Managing International Commercial Disputes in the Mediterranean: Towards a EuroMed Alternative Dispute Resolution Infrastructure, and will be the crowning initiative of the three-year, European Commission-funded project Promotion of International Commercial Arbitration and Other ADR Techniques in the MEDA Region (www.adrmeda.org), administered by an international consortium led by Rome-based ADR Center S.p.A.
Speakers representing all facets of the political, business and legal communities of 37 EU and MEDA countries will debate how to strengthen the ADR movement at the national and international levels and how to facilitate trade and investment between the two shores of the Mediterranean through the development of ADR.
The complete program and registration form can be found at www.adrmeda.org/romeconference07.
ADR Center mediates a complex international disputes between former employees and a company about noxious chemical agents exposure
Rome-based MEDAL partner ADR Center has been entrusted with the administration of a highly controversial and delicate mediation concerning health-related issues caused by exposure to chemical agents. The parties involved are not Italian but decided to attempt mediation with ADR Center because a foreign third-party neutral could assure the impartiality needed in the complex case.
A group of 78 ex-employees decided to challenge their former company, claiming that in previous years they had been exposed to chemical agents in the course of their employment and that this caused them serious, and in some cases fatal, health complications.
The intervention of the mediator brought the parties to consensus on obtaining a third, impartial medical opinion. The individual cases were scored according to the correlation between the parties’ respective medical conditions and the possible exposure to the chemical agents.
At this time, the overriding issues in the case have been hurdled, but the ADR Center mediator is still working to bring the parties to a final settlement which will satisfy the varying needs and interests involved in the case, taking account of the sensitive subject matter.
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News from CEDR, UK
Commission on Settlement in International Arbitration announces names of consulting organisations
The Commission, which launched in July 2007, in August announced the names of the leading 45 consulting ADR organisations to input into research that will help determine its findings next year. The 45 ADR organisations that have been identified by the Commission cover a wide range of national and international jurisdictions.
At an initial meeting last month the Co-Chairs Lord Woolf of Barnes and Professor Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler set out the Commission's role to investigate approaches to settlement within the framework of international arbitration. An important part of the investigation will be the inputs and comments submitted by the world's leading arbitration bodies.
CEDR teams up with CIPR to run Reputation Survey
In the next in its series in examining the effects of conflict and following its research into the Cost of Conflict in 2006, CEDR has teamed up with the CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations), to conduct a survey of reputation experts to look at how conflict impacts upon organisations' reputations.
Damage to company reputation is one of the significant consequences of conflict and has an impact on the smooth running of a business. While it is widely acknowledged that management of reputation is vital to a company's success, the correct management of conflict is just as integral.
The Survey is being run to gather the views of public relations professionals regarding the consequences of disputes (whether litigated or not), particularly where details of those disputes come into the public domain.
The results will form the basis of a breakfast event run by CEDR and the CIPR in September 2007 with leading client figures talking on the subject.
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News from JAMS, USA
JAMS Expands In New York
New Resolution Center in NY Times Building to Open in 2008
July 2007 – JAMS, The Resolution Experts, the nation’s largest private provider of mediation and arbitration services, announced today that it will significantly expand its presence in New York City in January 2008 with the opening of a new Resolution Center in The New York Times Building at 620 Eighth Avenue (between 40th and 41st Streets).
The Class A office tower located in the Times Square District serves as the new corporate headquarters of The New York Times and several other prominent tenants. JAMS will lease a full floor of approximately 32,000 square-feet, accommodating its need for expanded large arbitration and mediation hearing rooms and a substantial number of medium-sized and smaller caucus rooms. The space will also include an expanded business center and café. JAMS is now leasing approximately 18,000 square feet of space at other locations throughout Manhattan. These locations will be combined into the New York Resolution Center on Eighth Avenue in The New York Times Building.
“During the past 10 years, JAMS has seen dramatic growth of business and New York has been at the forefront of that development,” said JAMS President and CEO, Steve Price. “We recognize the need from our clients and neutrals to expand our presence in New York, and we are thrilled to be in a showcase office tower like The New York Times Building.”
With more than 200 mediators and arbitrators worldwide, Price said he anticipates the arrival of more distinguished neutrals, who will join the New York panel in the coming months. In addition, JAMS has a need for more space to accommodate the growing number of international mediations and arbitrations, which emanates out of many international firms in New York.
The New York Times Building has been heralded as the most significant new building designed for New York City in decades. It is the first major imprint on the New York skyline of world-class architect Renzo Piano and is a showcase of all office buildings in New York. It is the first high rise curtain wall with ceramic sunscreen to be built in the United States.
Providing easy access for clients, the building is directly accessible from the West Side Highway as well as 11 subway lines. Penn Station and Grand Central are within walking distance of the building and allow direct rapid transit from all of the boroughs as well as New Jersey, Long Island, Westchester, and other areas.
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