If you, like most of us involved in court ADR, have a very limited amount of time and money to attend conferences, I suggest you consider making your way to the Symposium on ADR in the Courts, April 13, 2011 in Denver. It is sponsored by the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution and happens on the day before the Section’s big annual conference. Every year, I find it to be an engaging, edifying event.
This year the Symposium features a plenary by Bernie Mayer (author of Beyond Neutrality, among other publications) that is followed by three groups of sessions presented by leaders in the field of ADR. The session topics touch on program management, policy and research, and range from nitty-gritty to sweeping philosophical topics. The presenters all have a high level of expertise and experience, but are varied in their backgrounds, including people administering programs and people studying programs. These sessions give attendees a big picture view of the field and our own individual work within it.
The most valuable part of the conference for me is the opportunity to connect with colleagues from around the country. I catch up with long-time friends and meet new folks. The support and information we can glean from one another feeds my work.
If you come to the Symposium, introduce yourself. It is a great opportunity to put faces with names and make connections that support our work long after the conference is finished.