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NEW YORK CHAPTER NEWS

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MAY 2017

NADN SOFTWARE/SERVER UPDATES
Apologies for the lack of update in April - we were knee-deep in security updates for the NADN server, amongst other things! We had a server outage back on Wednesday Apr 26, down for about an hour that morning (our longest outage in nearly a decade). No data was compromised (just a random "denial of service" style attack to take down our sites, from Asia) and please note that there is zero credit card data stored anywhere on our servers; we keep that all secure and offline. We're upgrading our server/firewall hardware in June, so the sites may need to be down for periods of time, but we'll ensure such maintenance is completed at weekends, towards the end of next month. This should also lead to slightly faster response times for bio searches/calendars, etc.

 NADN ADVANCED MEDIATION TRAINING RETREAT, AUG 17-19, FOUR SEASONS TORONTO - UPDATE


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I'm pleased to confirm that we pretty much have a "full house" for the 2017 Toronto meeting, with over 110 members attending from more than 20 states. We've also had the proverbial thumbs up from all State CLE organizations so far (as of May 18th, we're just waiting on Idaho, New Jersey & Tennessee - all promised soon!)

We've fulfilled our contract block with the Four Seasons Toronto (110 rooms max.) but it looks like we might be able to get another 5-10 rooms perhaps.

If you've an interest in attending, after all, please reach out to Rose-Anne at (813) 600-3678 as soon as posslble - we'll see if we can confirm you to the attendees list. Most guests arrive Wed Aug 16 (drinks reception that night) and stay through to Sunday. If you do need to fly back on Sat Aug 19, please be sure to schedule your return flight for no earlier than 7pm from Pearson airport, so that you can stay for our Saturday afternoon business discussions.

We'll also be arranging a "Tour of Toronto" to keep the spouses/partners entertained for Thursday Aug 17th, more details on that will be sent by email to attendees in a few weeks!

Rose-Anne and I look forward to seeing many of you, old friends and new ones, in Toronto this summer!

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - JUN Edition
We will be sending the next Calendar Dates Notice out to law firm staff the morning of FRI JUN 2 - so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days so that we're sending accurate available dates to your clients.

Best Regards,

 
Darren A. Lee
Director, National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals
Tel: (813) 600-5678
Fax: (866) 257-4698
Direct Email: director@nadn.org

 

MARCH 2017

YOUR CALENDAR EDIT PAGE - SOFTWARE UPDATE
I know that some of our members had an issue with the calendar editing tool, when trying to look at historical data (particularly those of you that use the Private Notes function to enter text details of what's happening on particular days). Please note then that you can now navigate forwards (>>) or backwards (<<) a month via the arrows at the bottom left of your calendar admin page.

NATIONAL BAR ADS - CAMPAIGNS UPDATE
We've now completed the updates to local Bar Ad campaigns across all 38 states in which NADN has formal chapters and in addition, we're looking into the possibility of formalizing small chapters for Vermont  and Idaho in the coming weeks.

Please note that at the national level, NADN continues to advertise prominently with the DRI's monthly magazine ("For The Defense" - link) and similar ads in their quarterly "In-House Defense" magazine. This, along with the ad in AAJ's monthly flagship magazine, TRIAL (link) - reach a combined readership of over 45,000 litigators monthly. We also remain a constant presence in the CPR Institute's long established "Alternatives" Magazine (link), which is widely distributed to in-house counsel nationally. As this is a Retreat year, we will not be attending the ABA's ADR Annual Meeting in San Francisco next month, but will certainly recommit to that for 2018. 

I'd also remind all members, new and old - by far the most effective way for NADN to "break through the noise" and educate firms about our resource is via the efforts of YOU, our members! Are you speaking on ADR at local plaintiff / defense bar events in the coming months? If so, we'd be happy to provide you with NADN booklets (PDF) or postcards (PDF) intended to educate clients about the NADN's roster and the advantages of using our website for selection of a neutral or online scheduling. If you can think of other ways we can reach out to your local target groups (litigators, adjusters, counsel, paralegals, etc) I welcome your input - feel free to call or drop me an email.   

NADN TORONTO RETREAT WAITING LIST
As posted below, the 2017 Retreat is currently fully booked, but we ARE maintaining a 'standby' list for folks that might still hope to attend, pending cancellations. Please reach out to Rose-Anne (813 600 3678) if you'd like to be put on that list.

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - APR Edition
We will be sending the next Calendar Dates Notice out to law firm staff the morning of  WED APR 5 - so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days so that we're sending accurate available dates to your clients.

FEBRUARY 2017

NADN ADVANCED MEDIATION TRAINING RETREAT, AUG 17-19, FOUR SEASONS TORONTO - UPDATE


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Update Mar 1: As of today, we're SOLD OUT at the Toronto Four Seasons hotel (110 rooms max. in our contract, same max. # of seats in the training room) so anyone registering to attend from today will be put on a 'standby' list, pending attendee cancellations. Historically, we've seen around 10-15 members cancel due to family/work commitments in the run up to the event, so 'fear not' - you've still a good chance of being able to attend the 2017 Retreat! Please call Rose-Anne (813 600 3678) if you still hope to attend.

To those members who HAVE completed/returned their Retreat registration form:
You are now free to make direct contact with the Four Seasons Reservation dept. to reserve your room nights at the reduced NADN rates ($385Can.). Please call (416) 963-6029 to action soon!

Most guests arrive Wed Aug 16 (drinks reception that night) and stay through to Sunday. If you need to fly back on Sat Aug 19, please be sure to schedule your return flight at no earlier than 7pm from Pearson airport, so that you can stay for our Saturday afternoon business session.

Rose-Anne and I look forward to seeing many of you, old friends and new ones, in Toronto this summer!

LOCAL NY AD CAMPAIGN
I'm pleased to confirm that the local newcomers for 2017 have now all been added to our 'photo gallery' ads running in the local NY Law Journal paper, the NYSBA Corporate Counsel section, the local NYSTLA trial bar, and the defense bar (DANY). For more info, please visit out Marketing page (once logged out, visit homepage and click banner in left column!)

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - MAR Edition
We will be sending the next Calendar Dates Notice out to law firm staff the morning of FRI MAR 3 - so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days so that we're sending accurate available dates to your clients.

JANUARY 2017

WELCOME TO OUR 2017 INDUCTEES
Firstly, apologies for the delay in posting - we were hopelessly optimistic in aiming to finalize the due diligence before Christmas!  We're delighted to confirm
the following members to NADN this month, in recognition of their excellence in the practice of ADR.

ARKANSAS: Todd Williams
CALIFORNIA: Hon. Frank Ochoa, Mitch Tarighati, Bruce Edwards
COLORADO: Collie Norman
CONNECTICUT: Joseph Garrison, Herb Shepardson
DC: Steve Altman
FLORIDA: Donna Doyle, Mark Walker, Clem Hyland, Stan Strickland, Jim Chaplin, Mike Carbo, Thomas Lardin, Hugh Chappell, Frank Allocca, James Gilmour, Ronald Friedman, Carol Cope, Heidi Roth, Ricardo Cata, Richard Reinhart, Albert Tetrault, Reinald Werrenrath, Jacob Munch, Hon. Fredercik Smith, Robert Lyons, Deborah Mastin, Edwin Ford, Jim Rolfes
GEORGIA: Edward Dobbs, SallyAkins
IDAHO: Michael Spink
KANSAS: Jerome Bales, Bruce Waugh, Richard Merker
KENTUCKY: Pat Moloney, Mike Troop, Hon. Ann O'Malley Shake
LOUISIANA: Brian Crawford, Bruce Shreves
MAINE: Durward Parkinson
MARYLAND: John Greer, Ellen Kandell
MASSACHUSETTS: James Grumbach
MICHIGAN: Paul Monicatti, William Jack, Lee Hornberger, Robert Lee Wright, Richard Hurford
MINNESOTA: Michael Tewksbury, Hon. Arthur Boylan, Doug Shrewsbury, Steve Kirsch
MISSOURI: Jack Bangert, Hon. James Reeves, Joe Eischens, Hon. Charles Atwell
MONTANA: Doug Wold, Dennis Lind, Michael Viscomi
NEW JERSEY: Nick Stevens, Maureen Binetti, Hon. Deanne Wilson, Dennis Estis
NEW YORK: Hon. Robert Lunn
NORTH CAROLINA: Ben Davis, Kate Deiter-Maradei, Hon. Sharon Barrett, Collins Barwick
OHIO: Jeff Hazlett, Ronald Isroff, Peter Silverman, Michael Hawkins, Hon. Joseph Gibson
RHODE ISLAND: John Bulman
SOUTH CAROLINA: Lana Sims, Buster Holland, Theron Cochran, Brad Waring
TENNESSEE: Hon. Daryl Fansler, Frank Cantrell
TEXAS: Hon. John Wooldridge, Hon. Dion Ramos, William Cornelius, Steve Nelson, Paul Van Osselaer, John DeGroote, Dan Pozza
VERMONT: Leo Bisson
WASHINGTON: Colleen Barrett
WEST VIRGINIA: John Cooper, Robert Allen
WYOMING: William McKellar
No new members in 2017 for the following chapters: AL, AK, AZ, DE, DC, HI, IL, IN, IA, MS, NE, NV, NH, NM, ND, OK, OR, PA, SD, UT, VA, WI.

We've now called a halt to inductions for another year. Current NADN members are welcome to put forward names for consideration to Rose-Anne or myself at any time during the year. All such nominations will be filed for reference and reviewed by local committees in November 2017. A big "thank you" to all state committee members for their participation in the review process in November/December, and congratulations to these newly confirmed Academy Members.

NADN ADVANCED MEDIATION TRAINING RETREAT, AUG 17-19, FOUR SEASONS TORONTO 


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Update JAN 21: I'm delighted to confirm that we have finalized our speaker list and course details for the 2017 Retreat! Please click the link on the left to view the full brochure, or go view the Retreat page at our national website to view photos and read many testimonials from previous attendees.

As of today, we've just deeply discounted rooms at the Four Seasons available, and we aim to cap the number of training room places to 100. If you're able to attend this world-class training event at the Four Seasons Toronto, please don't delay - send your registration form back to Rose-Anne Raies in the next week or two at the latest. We'll submit the roster of confirmed atendees to the Four Seasons in February, with members then free to contact the hotel to arrange their stay after March 1st.

Rose-Anne and I look forward to seeing many of you, old driends and new ones, in Toronto this summer!

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - FEB Edition
We will be sending the next Calendar Dates Notice out to law firms the morning of THUR FEB 2 so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days so that your accurate available dates can be distributed to your client base.

NOVEMBER 2016


PEER NOMINATIONS - WORK IN PROGRESS...
THANK YOU to the 400+ members that I've heard from with nominations for consideration since early November! Rose and I are wading through over 160 bios/CVs to guage if these new individuals possibly meet the practice benchmarks, and we're reaching out to those that are obvious candidates for consideration.
As of today (Nov 28) this is still very much work-in-progress. We're also focusing on certain states more than others, in the hope of recruiting more to those chapters that are still under-represented. We''ve confirmed a few states that will not see any additional members in 2017 (AZ, NH, IN, NV, NE) with more on the way. This is very much in flux, and I need to consult with more state committees, so will post update in December when the dust clears - we may see 2-3 new members confirmed to NY for 2017, pending final reviews.

A CONSUMER ADVISORY HEADS-UP, FOLKS
A few members in recent weeks had called or emailed, with concerns over solicitations they've received from a "Dr. Jerry Hall" - I last posted about him on the scene in Florida back in Dec 2012, but he now seems to be operating out of Texas. An "interesting" character:

"Dr." Jerry Hall, ADR Trainer (Dallas/Panama) - In 2012, Jerry Hall (who may or may not be a Dr.) had approached a number of senior mediators in Florida, purporting to be the head of a renowned group called "International Association of Mediators & Arbitrators". There are up-front dues to be paid for the privilege of induction, to his corporation (which we think was called "ADR Services International, Inc."). Claims at the time included that "he doesn't deal in cases of less than tens of millions of dollars". All good so far! What set off alarm bells was when he told a Florida NADN member that he was actually one of the "original founders of NADN way back" (quite untrue) and it turns out there was no such group as "IAMA" nor million-dollar cases - indeed, Hall seems to have a track record of spurious claims. He then disappeared from the scene... 

Like the proverbial bad penny, though, Hall is now back, based out of Dallas, TX and contacting Academy members - this time as CEO of "ADR Mediator Inc." offering a range of baloney ("We control all the courts, in a lot of states" - whatever that means...) I'd advise simply ignoring any such calls/emails - I'm confident he'll simply move his nuttery to some other industry once everyone gives him the cold shoulder.

Finally, although the number of reports of annoying sales calls has slowed to a halt in recent months, I'd urge members to remain cautious in dealings with sales staff from Mediation.com, based out of Florida (not to be confused with the respected Mediate.com listing service, run by Jim Melamed in Oregon).


AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - DEC Edition
We will be sending the next Calendar Dates Notice out to law firms the morning of FRI DEC 2 so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your clients.

OCTOBER 2016

Apologies for the delay in posting - had a lovely long break away with family to Europe last month (UK and Italy - take a guess which one featured the more impressive dining?) We arrived back in Toronto in early October, in time for the book launch of my wife's new novel. If any of you have teen/twenty-something daughters or granddaughters, head to Amazon or Barnes & Noble to purchase a copy - it's getting great reviews & press!

OK, and now back to our regular scheduled programming...!

NATIONAL INSURANCE GROUPS OUTREACH - UPDATE
Further to post below, we reached senior counsel and VPs of Legal Affairs, etc at several of these insurance giants, who have now sent instructions on use of the NADN database to all relevant legal/claims staff throughout the country. I'd emphasise, we've not requested that NADN be named in any future specific ADR/Arbitration clauses, as NADN is not an "administration agency" (like AAA, ICDR, JAMS, etc). But staff have been made aware that NADN is a trusted "clearinghouse" roster of only top tier litigator-rated neutrals, in much the same way that Chambers is for top-rated legal specialists around the world. I personally demonstrated the database on conf. calls with Allstate, Progressive, Nationwide, Liberty Mutual, Hanover and Travelers. I didn't have success thus far reaching senior executives with the remainder of those we picked out (Hartford, StateFarm, Mercury) but I hope we might reach them on a second attempt in November. Meantime, the hope is that more members nationally will now be selected for insurance cases as a result of their membership to the Academy!

UPDATE ON DRI & AAJ PARTNERSHIPS
Rose-Anne and I were both in Boston last week for the DRI Annual Meeting, Oct 19-21 - NADN is a proud ongoing partner and sponsor for that. Each year, we seem to get more and more attorneys stop by the booth to say that they know of the Academy. We always make a point of pulling up their local state roster - it's gratifying to hear these counsel say "Yep, you've got all the top ones there- use him, use her", etc!  A good number of defense counsel nationally (between 40-60 searches monthly average) also continue to refer to the DRI Neutrals Database (www.DRI.org/neutrals) which contains every NADN member bio, alongside the names of DRI members who endorse that mediator/arbitrator. This provides a very useful "inside baseball" resource to defense counsel nationally, allowing a dialogue to take place between DRI members mulling their choice of neutrals.

On the "other side of the court ", we've not had nearly as much success with the national plaintiffs bar association (AAJ, American Association for Justice) in terms of driving attorney traffic to their version of our NADN roster, the "AAJ Neutrals Database", found behind the firewall login at www.Justice.org. Monitoring the traffic since January this year, I saw no more than 5 searches any one month at the AAJ website. Some possible reasons:

i) Whereas DRI have long recognized the realities and benefits of embracing ADR (they've had a popular "ADR Section" for 15+ years now), AAJ are very much a trial advocacy group, stressing the importance of the plaintiff's "day in court". Reflecting this, they have several dozen committees, but to this day still no formal ADR committee/section. 
2) The AAJ website at
www.Justice.org was redesigned late last year, making it (in my opinion) more convoluted for their members to access any/all resources, including the AAJ Neutrals Database. This led to a drop off in traffic, from already modest numbers - AAJ members seem far less engaged on a monthly basis with the Justice.org site than DRI members are with DRI.org, perhaps because of the need to log in each time to get past a firewall.

We'll continue to work with AAJ (sponsoring national meetings, biennial firm preferred-mediator surveys etc.), but - nearly 3 years in - I no longer have any real confidence that the internal database at Justice.org website is likely to see any reasonable level of attorney traffic. From now on then, we'll be prompting all AAJ members (via revised ads in their national TRIAL Magazine monthly) to simply go straight to NADN.org and use this public site, rather than have them login/navigate to the old AAJ database, now removed. We'll keep a track on this for another year - hopefully this will prove easier/less laborious for plaintiff firms and lead to more trial bar traffic, overall.

PEER NOMINATIONS - EMAIL COMING SOON...
Just a quick note to advise that all members nationally will be receiving an automated email from me soon - I'd like to invite all members to review the current state rosters and nominate anyone that you might perceive as missing/overlooked to date. We'd like emailed responses before Friday Nov 4, so we have time to discuss names with the Exec. Committees for each state chapter before reaching out to those candidates thought likely to meet the formal requirements. Generally, less than a quarter of candidates any one year are found to meet the criteria, so we'll likely see just a modest number actually confirmed to membership for 2017. Watch your InBox any day now... 

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - NOV Edition
We will be sending the next Calendar Dates Notice out to law firms the morning of WED NOV 2 so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your clients.

AUGUST 2016

PLANNING AHEAD FOR 2017 Retreat - Hold the dates of Aug 17-19, 2017
Very early days, but I'm just now planning ahead a year for the 2017 Retreat, hopefully to be held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto (assuming that I can beat their 5-star room rates down, as I did for Denver 2015!) The traditional mid-month dates of Thurs Aug 17 to Sat  Aug 19 seem to work well against other national legal and ADR events, so I'm aiming for that just now. Many details still to come - "watch this space", as they say.

NATIONAL INSURANCE GROUPS OUTREACH
Following a review of our server logs in July, I've personally reached out to the national legal counsel at several large insurance companies this month. It seems that litigation counsel/staff at companies like Travelers, Allstate, Mercury, Progressive, Nationwide, Liberty Mutual, Hanover, State Farm & The Hartford are regularly visiting the NADN database, generally to fast-track appointment scheduling with known/preferred mediators. But the vast majority of these IP addresses are from our longest established states (FL, GA, TX, TN, NC, CA etc) - with perhaps only 25% of these hundreds of visitors monthly from outside of those states. As of Aug 30, 4 of these insurance companies have agreed to distribute information about the NADN database throughout their network of regional firms/staff, so we hope to see more traffic coming in from these offices in the coming months (I'll be following up with the remaining insurance companies  in the next week or two.)

HEY! PLEASE BUY MY WIFE'S BOOK (No, really!)
In "other" news - my clever wife has written her first novel, 'London Belongs to Me', published in October. If any of you have late-teen/twenty-something daughters/granddaughters, they'll certainly enjoy it - it's a good coming-of-age type read about an American college graduate who packs her bags to chase her dream career in the London theater world. Please consider popping over to Amazon or Barnes & Noble to preorder a book/e-book - I've a vacation to pay for! ;-)

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - SEP Edition
We will be sending the next Calendar Dates Notice out to law firms the morning of TUES SEP 6 so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your clients.

In travel news - I've not had a vacation this summer (poor lamb!) so I'm heading to the UK and Italy, from Sep 14-30 - Rose-Anne (roseanne@nadn.org, T: 813 600 3678) will of course be ably steering the NADN ship in my absence. I'll be checking emails intermittently, but Rose can reach me by cell phone if anything urgent comes up.

JULY 2016

THE DOG DAYS OF SUMMER...
Again, not too much brewing this month, other than the renewal/redesign of a few local state chapter ad campaigns - Colorado, Missouri, Ohio, Arizona, Louisiana and Mississippi are all now set for Bar ads running through to summer of 2017.

We've also been working on some software aimed at shutting down any further cyber attacks from Asia and elsewhere. Please note that there's no credit card info or any such private data anywhere on the NADN server (that's all kept offline for optimum security) but we have seen a few random "DOS" style attacks the last year, which have taken our sites offline, usually for no more than a few minutes. These new software patches should help prevent this, blocking rogue IP addresses much more quickly.

In "other" personal news - my clever wife has written her first novel, 'London Belongs To Me', to be published in October! If any of you have late teens/twenty-something daughters/granddaughters, they'll certainly enjoy it - it's about an American college graduate who packs her bags to go chase her dream career in London. It's a good combination of coming-of-age and fish-out-of-water, with lots of pop culture references and some romance thrown in!(Yes, of course I'm awfully biased - and very proud!)  :)

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - AUG Edition
We will be sending the next Calendar Dates Notice out to law firms the morning of THUR AUG 4 so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your clients.

JUNE 2016

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT...
Not too much to report this month, following the completion of the new chapters and related PR/marketing last month. I am delighted though to confirm that longtime California member, Reginald Holmes, has been appointed to the National Executive committee, following the retirement of New York charter member, Irene Warshauer. Congratulations to both (Reg for increasing his workload; Irene for finally clearing hers!)

AAA/ICDR FOUNDATION - Accepting 2017 Grant Proposals
NADN was pleased to work with the AAA/ICDR last year, contributing to the first round of funding for the AAA/ICDR Foundation, a non-profit taskforce aimed at funding worthy causes within the ADR arena. The Foundation awarded grants to several terrific projects earlier this year, including our own Doug Noll & Laurel Kaufer's fascinating "Prison of Peace" project (link), amongst others.

The Foundation is now seeking grant proposals for consideration of other ADR-oriented projects, so if you've any suggestions/thoughts, please visit the foundation website, where you can nominate local/national groups, or simply donate to this worthy effort.

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - JULY Edition
We will be sending the next Calendar Dates Notice out to law firms the morning of WED JUL 6 so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your clients.

MAY 2016

OKLAHOMA CHAPTER NOW ONLINE
Joining Maine, Kansas and New Mexico chapters, we've just this week announced the Oklahoma Chapter, featuring 11 charter members. My thanks to OK Committee Members Ted Sherwood, Lyle Clemens & Robert Margo for their oversight and guidance. We're delighted to also welcome several panelists from the widely-respected Dispute Resolution Consultants (DRC) firm, including principal Joseph Paulk.

These 4 new state chapters are the last additions for 2016 - we will revisit the handful of other states (Nevada, Idaho, D.C. etc) next year, if we find additional sufficiently qualified/experienced neutrals in these states after the survey/nomination process at year end. As it stands, 95% of Academy members across 38 state chapters now have the benefit of local Bar exposure/marketing campaigns, in addition to their national bios.

SCAM REMINDERS
As it's been a fairly quiet month otherwise, I thought I'd remind members to be cautious of some rather suspect offers that you might have had by email or phone. Mediation.com (see NOV 2015 update below) are still a going concern though their cold-calling seems to have died down a bit of late. The latest email blast I know a few members have received in May is from an outfit called Acquisitions International Magazine, based out of the UK - it's a rather obvious "vanity awards" scheme, now targeting mediators and arbitrators. ("Congratulations, you're top tier" - now here's some advertising packages to congratulate yourself in our monthly publication for up to $3500!) As most members have sensibly done, I'd simply reply to the email requesting that you be removed from their spam list.

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - JUNE Edition
We will be sending the next Calendar Dates Notice out to law firms the morning of THUR JUN 2 so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your clients.

APRIL 2016

ABA ADR CONFERENCE, NYC SHERATON TIMES SQUARE, APR 6-9
As usual, the ABA ADR Conference was good fun and a great opportunity for us to catch up with friends - we counted at least 50 current members stopping by to say "Hi" this year round. I sneaked into a number of presentations and classes, covering a wide range of topics related to mediation and arbitration practice, leaving Rose-Anne to ably manage the NADN booth. One idea that went down particularly well - a cupcake giveaway during the opening morning's coffee break. My wife Jackie suggested hiring New York's famous Sprinkles Cupcakes to cater and a near riot broke out - Rose and I have never been so popular! 100 cupcakes disappeared within an hour or two (OK, perhaps just 96, as Rose and I had to "test" them first, you see...)

Given that we were in Times Square, Rose-Anne and I also did some (very touristy!) sightseeing. I was personally quite disappointed to learn that neither Elmo nor Woody speak fluent English... who knew?

MAINE, KANSAS, NEW MEXICO ARE GO
Following consultation with the local committee members for each state, we are set to formally launch the local chapter websites in early May:

MAINE: 8 Charter Members. Exec Committee: Elizabeth Germani, Peter Schroeter, Christopher Dinan - www.MEMediators.org/marketing (May 2)
KANSAS: 6 Charter Members. Exec Committee: Jerry Palmer,  Larry Rute, Roger Warren - www.KansasMediators.org/marketing (May 2) 
NEW MEXICO: 8 Charter Members. Exec Committee: Hon. James Hall, Denise Torres - www.NMMediators.org/marketing (May 2)
OKLAHOMA: Still in progress, possible new members to be confirmed - planned to launch later in May at www.OklahomaMediators.org

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - MAY Edition
We will be sending the next Calendar Dates Notice out to law firms the morning of WED MAY 4 so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your clients.

MARCH 2016
FOUR NEW STATE CHAPTERS - Maine, New Mexico, Kansas & Oklahoma for 2016
NADN will be announcing 4 new state chapters at the end of April, as we've now established at least 7-8 members in these various states. This will bring our total # of state chapters (with accompanying Bar ads/press outreach) to 38 states across the USA, further establishing NADN as the most respected and prominent collegial ADR association in the nation. For more info on these various chapters, please visit our National News Blog.

ABA ADR CONFERENCE, NYC SHERATON TIMES SQUARE, APR 6-9
NADN is again a sponsor of the American Bar's ADR Section meeting, this time in the heart of New York City - Rose-Anne and myself will be in attendance, so if you're attending, please stop by our booth and say "Hello!" Unflattering photos will likely be posted next month! 

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - APRIL Edition 
We will be sending the next Calendar Dates Notice out to law firms the morning of WED APR 6 so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base. 

FEBRUARY 2016
 

AAJ ANNUAL WINTER CONFERENCE SPONSORSHIP, Boca Raton Feb 27/29
I sit updating this blog at the AAJ conference, following a productive weekend of showcasing the NADN roster to the attending trial attorneys from the national plaintiffs bar, with Rose-Anne. Of the many attorneys we spoke with, perhaps 30-40% already knew of the AAJ Neutral Database (www.Justice.org/neutrals), the AAJ's private version of our public NADN database, which includes recommendations/endorsements against the 900+ bios.

NEW YORK 2016 ADS - New roster ads updated...
We've updated the ad campaign for NY Law Journal and the other Bar publcations to include our newly confirmed members for the current ad campaign run, through to Apr/May. We'll revisit the ad designs at that, reviewing ad contracts through to early 2017. Please feel free to review these latest PDFs when you log out (just click the Ad Campaign banner from the home page).

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - MARCH Edition 
We will be sending the next Calendar Dates Notice out to law firms the morning of THURSDAY MAR 3 so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base.     

JANUARY 2016
WELCOME TO THE 2016 INDUCTEES!
Following peer votes and the completion of all the usual due diligence interviews at the end of 2015, we're delighted to confirm the following members to NADN this month in recognition of excellence in the field of ADR...

ARIZONA: Hon. Edward O. Burke &  Burr Udall
CALIFORNIA: Gilda R. Turitz
COLORADO:
James T. Burghardt, Hon. Virginia Chavez, Hon. John Leopold & Jane Michaels
CONNECTICUT: Justice Ian McLachlan
DC: John G. Bickerman
FLORIDA: George F. Knox, Walter E. Smith, Hon. Joseph Farina, Chuck A. Mancuso & Bruce G. Alexander
GEORGIA: Stephen L. Goldner, Glenn A. Loewenthal, Thomas S. Bechtel, Burton L. Tillman & Hunter R. Hughes, III
HAWAII: Gerald Clay
IDAHO: John J. Janis, Hon. Ronald D. Schilling & Hon. Jerry Meyers
ILLINOIS: Hon. Daniel Kelley & Hon. Timothy Slavin
INDIANA: D. Timothy Born, G. Terrence Coriden & Daniel Gioia
IOWA: Steven M. Augspurger, Frank Comito & Stephen J. Powell
KANSAS: William H. Sanders Jr., Henry R. Cox & Donald W. Vasos
KENTUCKY: Stephen L. Barker, Ernest H. Jones, Hon. Thomas McDonald, John R. Martin Jr., W. Douglas Myers & Hon. Thomas Knopf
LOUISIANA: Ronald E. Corkern, Jr.
MAINE: Daniel Rapaport, Jerrol A. Crouter & Peter J. DeTroy
MARYLAND: Douglas M. Bregman, W. Scott Sonntag & Hon. Carol E. Smith
MICHIGAN: Frederick D. Dilley, Paula K. Manis, Kevin Hendrick, Robert F. Riley & Lawrence R. Abramczyk
MINNESOTA: Hon. John Borg
MISSISSIPPI: Ronald L. Roberts, Walter T. Johnson & James G. Wyly III
MISSOURI: Hon. John Holstein, Leland M. Shurin & Vance C. Preman
MONTANA: Dominic P. Carestia, Michael J. Lilly & William T. Wagner
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Dennis T. Ducharme
NEW JERSEY: Sheryl Mintz Goski, Hon. Thomas Cavanagh, Hon. John Holston & Hon. Norman Peer
NEW MEXICO: Hon. Alan Torgerson, Hon. Leslie Smith, Hon. William Lang & Bruce S. McDonald
NEW YORK: Neal M. Eiseman, Mark R. Sonders, Hon. Faith Hochberg & Michael B. Dixon
NORTH DAKOTA
: Hon. Karen Klein
OHIO: David A. Schaefer, Leonard A. Weakley Jr. & Richard B. Blair
OKLAHOMA: Barry R. Davis
PENNSYLVANIA: Daniel M. Brookhart, David E. Lehman, Harry M. Paras, David A. White & Joseph F. "Pete" Ricchiuti
RHODE ISLAND: William A. Poore
SOUTH CAROLINA: Franklin G. Shuler Jr., David McCormack, Jon L. Austen, Lee Plumblee & John H. Tiller
SOUTH DAKOTA: Michael McKnight
TENNESSEE: Minton Mayer &  Trey Jordan
TEXAS: Suzanne M. Duvall, J. Scott McLain, Lionel M. Schooler, Ronald Wardell & Chris Antcliff
WASHINGTON
: Clifford Freed, Keith M. Kubik & Christopher J. Soelling
W. VIRGINIA
: S. Douglas Adkins, John F. Cyrus & Charles R. Steele
WISCONSIN: Hon. Patrick J. Fiedler, Hon. Michael B. Brennan & Theodore V. Lyons

We've now called a halt to inductions for another year. Current NADN members are welcome to put forward names for consideration to Rose-Anne or myself at any time - all such peer votes will be filed for reference - but no new members will be considered until November 2016, for the 2017 year.  

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - FEB Edition 
We will be sending the next Calendar Dates Notice out to law firms the morning of WED FEB 3 so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base.


DECEMBER 2015

NEW MEMBERS FOR 2016! 
After reviewing around 15 nominations and candidates from this last year, we're pleased to welcome a few new members for 2016: Neal Eiseman (NYC),  Mark Sonders (Albany), Hon. Faith Hochberg (NYC) & Michael Dixon (Buffalo). We're not "there yet" with the entire national list, but we'll post that around mid-January once all the due diligence and interviews are completed. We'll also revise the roster ads for 2016, running in NY Law Journal and other local publications.

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - JAN Edition 
We will be sending the next Calendar Dates Notice out to law firms the morning of MON JAN 4 so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base.  

HAPPY HOLIDAYS ALL! 
No Christmas journey to Merry Olde England this year - I'll be hunkered down with family, enjoying the unseasonably warm weather here in Toronto. We're making the most of it while it lasts - El Nino is an excellent early Christmas gift, alongside the new Star Wars movie, which I cannot recommend highly enough (Yes, I was that Star Wars kid, complete with Darth Vader quilt and pyjamas!). Of course, I've put away such childish things in the years since... OK, that's not true - I've an R2-D2 droid standing guard on my shelf as I type this on my laptop!

From myself and my team here at NADN (Rose-Anne Raies, Jackie Middleton, Zoltan Nameth & Michelle Montgomery, we wish you all a very Happy Holidays / Merry Christmas (delete as preferred!)


NOVEMBER 2015

AAJ & DRI SURVEYS COMPLETE FOR 2015 - Review/Roundup continues...
Not too much to report here just yet - we've reached out to those individuals who were widely referenced in the 2015 surveys, asking them to review the practice criteria and "self-report" if they believe they meet the requirements. As of Friday Dec 4, we'll cut off that review and discuss nominations with the local Committees for each of the 32 established State Chapters. We'll then whittle the names down and complete the due diligence phone interviews for those affirmed, confirming that these candidates comfortably meet the formal ADR practice criteria for induction. Watch This Space - I'm hoping that we can name these confirmed 2016 members for the December blog update!

ANOTHER 'CAVEAT EMPTOR' WARNING - An update on Mediation.com/Sales Calls
I was reminded this month that this Florida based cold-call outfit is still pushing web listings, so thought that it might be worth providing an update (for a much more detailed history, please see my blog post below rfom JUNE 2014) Many of you, I know, have had calls from the sales staff at Mediation.com - not to be confused with the respected ADR community portal, www.Mediate.com, run out of Oregon.

The pitch is that by lising your bio with their Mediation.com site, you'll receive many more enquiries, due to the "massive volume" of search engine traffic that their site picks up. All data points to this being an exagerrated claim (to say the least), and besides, all of our NADN members' mediations/arbitrations come via counsel/firms, not Joe Public doing a Google search - those enquiries are almost always family-oriented. We've had many Academy members complain that they've received these sales calls in the past, though I sense this has died down a little in 2015 after my outreach to the owner of the website last year. Nevertheless, I'd recommend to our members that this is NOT the wisest marketing expenditure you might consider - and for more on some recent "shennanigans", see link to this article (including amusing recorded calls!) over at Mediate.com.

NEW AAA/ICDR FOUNDATION - Accepting Grant Proposals
It's not every month that I post a note regarding my esteemed friends at AAA, but this is quite interesting! JAMS has for some years now had a non-profit/charitable foundation, providing grants to worthwhile causes that further awareness / expand use of ADR, and AAA-ICDR has launched a similar foundation in recent weeks (see Press Release). They're accepting grant proposals for worthy projects - head on over to their website for more info, to make a donation, or put forward suggestions.

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - DEC Edition 
We will be sending the next Calendar Dates Notice out to law firms the morning of WED DEC 2 so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base.  


OCTOBER 2015

MEETING SPONSORSHIPS - DRI Annual Meeting (Oct 7-11, Washington DC) & CCA Annual Meeting (New York City,. Oct 23)
Our traditional sponsorship of our partners DRI continued this year, with Rose-Anne attending the DRI's Annual Meeting in DC, where we had our usual set up with a projection screen demoing the DRI Neutrals Database resource, featuring the bios of all NADN members. Many defense attorneys that stopped byremarked that they'd either seen local Bar adverts or had particpiated in the survey process, which of course is very encouraging!

Just last week, I had the pleasure of attending (and sponsoring the Luncheon for) the College of Commercial Arbitrators (CCA) Annual Meeting for the first time, held at the Marriott East Side in New York. CCA was formed in 2001 and  has inducted 220+ members to date, all of whom are experienced attorneys/former judges involved in the practice of commercial arbitration, both domestic & international. It was a pleasure to meet the leadership of the College - congrats to my friend, the newly confirmed President Edna Sussman - and to finally meet several long-time NADN members in person!

The standards for CCA membership are stringently enforced and dependent on peer-nominations, so there's much in common between NADN and the College. Checking the member lists this month, NADN currently has about a third (78 of 220) of the CCA's Fellows named to our own roster, and I'm optimistic that number will rise as NADN seeks to recruit more arbitration specialists to our ranks beyond 2016.

AAJ & DRI SURVEYS COMPLETE FOR 2015 - Now we review the names put forward...
 It's that time of the year again where we review all this year's suggestions from DRI/AAJ affiliated firms for membership to NADN. Rose-Anne and I have compiled a complete list of all the neutrals whose names have come up multiple times through the survey process and we'll also soon be asking each of the local committees to review these suggestions, as well as peer-nominations they or other members have put forward.

As in 2013 and 2014, we're hoping we might see one or two of the under-represented states (like Idaho, Maine, Kansas) upgraded to full State Chapter status, including Bar ads/announcements, but time will tell - we're not waivering the standards just to make up numbers, so it's unlikely that we'll ever see "critical mass" state rosters in Alaska or the Dakotas, for example. Note to State Committee Members - you'll hear from me in the coming weeks!

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - NOV Edition 
We will be sending the next Calendar Dates Notice out to law firms the morning of WED NOV 4 so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base.  

 


SEPTEMBER 2015


ALASKA MEMBER MATT PETERSON - UNITING REPUBLICANS & DEMOCRATS (so there's hope yet!)
They say one should always avoid talking politics - and they're quite right, of course! But I thought it might be timely to relay news of what our (lone) Alaska member Matt Peterson has been up to in recent months. Matt is generally recognized by litigators across Alaska as the "go-to" neutral for complex civil/commercial cases and I knew he'd handled his fair share of oil/gas cases over the years. As I'm sure you all know, oil markets have been in turmoil for over a year now, with global prices slumping. To a state like Alaska that means trouble, with 80-90% of tax revenue coming from the oil/gas sector.

Not surprisingly then, the Alaska state goverment ran into a budget deficit for 2015 in excess of $3.5 billion dollars. Legislators on the left and right of the political divide soon reached an impasse over where/whether to make cuts, concessions etc., with a July 1st deadline looming before mandatory lay-off notices were to be sent to several thousand state employees, Alaska's Governor Bill Walker intervened and appointed Matt to mediate between the House Republicans and Democrats. By the time Matt stepped in, some progress had been made, but there was still a differential of several hundred million dollars between the sides and no signs of further movement. After several days of skilled mediation (and not a little diplomacy) Matt managed to overcome the impasse and the state budget was signed off before the deadline passed earlier this summer. (Read news stories here & here).

This is certainly the first time that I've heard of any Academy members bridging the political divide in this way at the state level, so congratulations to Matt for breaking new ground here  (and kudos also to Gov. Walker for his embrace of mediation as the best chance at timely resolution!) Who knows, perhaps this won't be the last time we hear of mediators being asked to intervene in such a way!

OUR ARBITRATION NEWS FEED...
All those members recognized for arbitration practice should receive the NADN Arbitration News Digest email each Friday, usually sent in the early morning hours. But did you know, you can view the latest news daily, or whenever you wish? Just visit www.NADN.org, and under the "ADR Resources" menu item, select "Arbitration Newsfeed" - or just bookmark this URL for quick reference:  www.NADN.org/arbitrationnews

AAJ NEUTRALS SURVEY FOR 2015
Members will recall (see May below!) that we completed our survey of defense firms nationally earlier this year, so now it's time to get the trial bar's point of view, too! We've already sent out literature and from Oct 5 to Oct 16, we'll compile hopefully 1000+ surveys back from plaintiff firms across the US. We'll then combine these votes/suggestions with the DRI data and narrow down the list of potential candidates for membership for the 2016  year. More on this in our October update, once we've crunched all that data...

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - OCT Edition 
We will be sending the next Calendar Dates Notice out to law firms the morning of TUE OCT 6 so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base.  

AUGUST 2015


NADN TRAINING RETREAT, DENVER FOUR SEASONS, AUG 13 -15
OUR BIGGEST AND BEST YET? You might well think so - I couldn't possibly comment...
A total of 110 members from 27 states attended our 4th biennial Training Retreat at the Four Seasons Denver from August 13-15. More than half the attendees were first timers this year, though many old friends were in attendance too, I'm glad to say. We covered numerous practical topics over the 2.5 days from Thursday to Saturday, and of course there were the usual social events including outings for spouses/family members and the Reception & Banquet events. For many more larger photos, please visit the updated Retreat page at www.NADN.org/retreat!

 

           

 

Day 1 was titled "In The Trenches", led by John Freud (FL) and Lee Jay Berman (CA): We discussed the importance (and art) of effective opening statements, a look at visual cues and how to spot dishonesty from participants in mediations; numerous lessons for mediators from the sales arena; and a look at bad habits mediators often adopt and how they're perceived by counsel and the parties. We even had the GM of the Four Seasons Denver kindly sit in on the morning session as our token "business guy", giving his honest perceptions of the mediation process as it unfolded.

Day 2 was titled "Under The Hood", the thought being let's look at complementary science & research that will better inform our skills as mediators. We kicked off with the brilliant Dr. Leslie John (Harvard Business School) who gave us a "101" on the science of Behavioural Economics, and how various observed biases (the Endowment Effect; Loss Aversion; the "Bird in the Hand" effect etc) are all in play during commercial negotiations. The brilliant Doug Noll (CA) then led from Leslie's findings into his presentation "ReFraming: Dealing with Entrenched Beliefs" with some great practical advice as to how to deal with seemingly unmoveable parties/positions by re-framing questions and arguments during mediations (and also which battles never to waste energy on!). We were then delighted to welcome renowned master mediator Antonio Piazza with a talk on his philosophy and approach to mediation, titled "The Physics of Fighting". To say the room was packed to the rafters for Tony's segment would be an understatement! Finally, our moderator Lee Jay Berman led a well-received ethics workshop, titled "Working With Your Biases", with some fun roleplay spilling out of the training room and into the hallways!

Finally, Day 3 was titled "The Business End", with thought given to how we might improve the bottom line of ADR practices. Prof . John Lande kicked off with a discussion alongside Bermand/Freud called "Missed Opportunities: The Mediator as Case Manager" - mediators, particularly for larger commercial cases, really should be doing more preparation with counsel/parties before the day of the actual mediation (and, by the by, billing for such management services!) We then had the superb Debbie Goldstein (Triad Consulting Group, MA) present "Thanks For The Feedback: Lessons For Mediators", a look at the research from Triad Group's own Sheila Heen & Doug Stone's new book. The post-lunch session then ended with an overview with Q&A on many of the topics covered during the 3 days plus marketing advice for mediators from the panel, including yours truly!


"That's a wrap" then for another 2 years! My thanks to our own Rose-Anne (complete with wrist cast!) and Michelle for their invaluable assistance and to all the superb speakers that made the event such a success. And to those who missed out - "BOY, did you miss out!" :) No firm decision taken on the venue for the 2017 Retreat but my suggestion at the meeting of Four Seasons in Toronto seemed very popular, so hold the dates of Aug 16-18, 2017 in your diaries!

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - SEP Edition
We will be sending the next Calendar Dates Notice out to law firms the morning of THUR SEP 3 so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base.  

JULY 2015

NADN SPONSORS NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LEGAL ADMINISTRATORS (NALA) 2015 CONFERENCE - July 22-25, Tulsa, OK
The key decision makers in the choice of mediators/arbitrators tend to be the litigators - and we regularly reach out to the defense and plaintiffs bar communities, through both advertising and outreach through our partnerships with DRI & AAJ. But from the earliest days of our formation in Florida in 2004, we've found that it's also well worth the time and effort to reach out to litigation support staff - schedulers, secretaries and paralegals - to ensure that they're clued in to the benefits of using our websites, particularly to save time checking available dates and scheduling appointments online. We had sponsored the NALA conference a few years back, and have sent mail pieces out to their national membership to promote the database since then - but this year was the first time that we could promote the fact that we've members in each and every state! We were the major (Gold) sponsor for this event, attended by over 1800 legal administrators from around the US - about half of whom work with litigation firms/departments.

Rose-Anne flew the NADN flag ably at this event (as always!) and gave a brief presentation about NADN during the event's banquet last week.
(Unfortunately, on the way back from Oklahoma, poor Rose-Anne managed to slip over and fracture her left wrist, which is now in a cast.
Who says travel is glamorous?! Pictures before the accident below...) 

Rose-Anne (complete with cast!),  Michelle and I will be headed to Denver for the week of  August 10 for the 2015 Training Retreat but we'll be online and checking email / responding as usual. We look forward to seeing many familiar faces and also meeting some of our newer members. See (over 100 of) you in Denver soon!

JUNE 2015

DRI SURVEY - COMPLETE FOR 2015
As members may recall from 2013, part of our arrangement with both the DRI and AAJ is that once every 2 years we survey their membership - asking firm partners which local mediators/arbitrators they've used regularly in recent years, and whom they would recommend to their peers on the defense or plaintiff bar. We ask the survey recipients to review the list of neutrals already inducted into NADN in their state and invite them to "like" (just like Facebook!) those bios of neutrals they' would recommend to fellow litigators. These votes are then recorded so that any DRI members logging in to the DRI Neutrals Database at www.DRI.org/neutrals can see the various positive endorsements left against your various bios. This gives them the option then of reaching out to these defense counsel, if they wish to discuss your work on their cases.

Most of the survey emails went out to DRI members from Jun 8-12 - we were careful to invite different individuals to review than in 2013. We sent out about 4400 surveys and have been once again impressed with the response rate - over 1200 individuals have the time to respond with votes and suggestions this month to date, a 25%+ response rate (very high, as these things go!) We'll get to reviewing all the suggestions/nominations info later this year, when we perform the same survey process with the AAJ members in late September.

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - JULY Edition
We will be sending the next Calendar Dates Notice out to law firms the morning of FRI JUL 3 so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base. 

Most of our time in the coming weeks will be dedicated to putting the finishing touches together for the 2015 Denver Retreat -
Rose-Anne, Michelle and I look forward to meeting the more than 100 members in attendance!

MAY 2015

SERVER OUTAGES - Sorry - We're working on it...
As luck would have it, when I was out of the country on Apr 24, our server was taken down by a DOS (denial-of-service) attack - what seems to be a deliberate attempt to overload the server and take our sites down. Almost amusingly, I was suited and booted in a London black cab, off to the National Theatre with my wife at the time I got the emergency call from Rose-Anne. After a 3-way conference call with engineers, we were back online within 30mins or so - but this was the longest such outage in the last few years. We've put further protections in place as a result of these shenanigans, including banning all traffic from some of the globe's less appealing corners(!)

We've also been down twice (for just 1-2 mins at a time) in May due to genuine server overloads - at peak hours when firms & members across all timezones are online, the server is working very hard - if we peak at more than 120 or so users access the database around the same time, the server has been choking (technical term!). We've refined some of our code to work around this (including deleting much historic/useless calendar data) which should do the trick - we'll keep an eye on this issue in the coming weeks with monitoring software.

NADN DENVER RETREAT, AUG 13-15 - ALL CLE/CME APPROVALS NOW IN
We now have approval from all 30 states from which we've confirmed attendees - please see the updated Retreat brochure for download here.
We look forward to seeing over 100 members in Denver this August!

ALA NATIONAL MAILOUT
Rose-Anne worked with our mailing house in Florida earlier this month, sending out 1500+ personalized introductory letters and NADN brochures to the members of the Association of Legal Administrators (www.ALANet.org), a professional group whose members are all involved in law practice management. We narrowed their large mailing list down to only senior attorneys/staff who might be best placed to disseminate news of NADN (and local state chapters) to staff within their law offices or departments. It's tough to assess how well such traditional mailing efforts work, but this will surely further awareness of NADN with legal decision-makers all over the US.

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - JUNE Edition
We will be sending the next Calendar Dates Notice out to law firms the morning of WED JUN 3 so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base. 

We'll also be finalizing our 2015 ADR Survey of all firms affiliated with both DRI and AAJ next month - more on that soon...

APRIL 2015

SLEEPLESS (FLIGHT) FROM SEATTLE...
Rose-Anne has returned from our sponsorship of the ABA ADR Section's Annual Meeting, held in Seattle, Apr 14-18. The event, as last year, was well-attended and a chance for us to meet some of our members in person. This is also a good opportunity to stay on top of developments in the ADR sector and further awareness of the NADN "brand" within the larger ABA community. (I couldn't make it in person this year, due to a conflict with a planned trip to the UK - but Rose-Anne doesn't need me around -  she practically wrote the book on How To Run A Booth!)

NADN DENVER RETREAT, AUG 13-15 - CLE PROGRESS
We'll be posting an updated version of the NADN Retreat brochure, complete with CLER approval for the 31 states from which we've members attending. As expected, no CLE rejections thus far and we've had course approval codes from 20 states as of Apr 20th, with more coming in each week. The final list of approvals will be posted in next month's blog post!

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - MAY Edition 
We will be sending the next Calendar Dates Notice out to law firms the morning of WED MAY 7 so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base. 

Personal Note: I'm off to the UK to visit with family from Apr 22-30 (and only occasionally checking email) but Rose-Anne Raies will be ably running the ship during office hours, as usual - if you need anything, email roseanne@nadn.org or Tel # (813) 600-3678.

MARCH 2015

NEW STATE CHAPTERS FOR 2015
I'm pleased to confirm the launch in April of several new State Chapters for this year, each with their own website and local Bar ad campaigns. 

Arkansas Chapter - www.ArkansasMediators.org - 10 Charter Members 
Maryland Chapter - www.MDMediators.org - 8 Charter Members 
Montana Chapter - www.MontanaMediators.org - 7 Charter Members 
Nebraska Chapter - www.NebraskaMediators.org - 8 Charter Members 
Oregon Chapter - www.OregonMediators.org - 10 Charter Members 
W. Virginia Chapter - www.WVMediators.org - 9 Charter Members
Wisconsin Chapter - www.WisconsinMediators.org - 8 Charter Members

Iowa Chapter - www.IowaMediators.org - 7 Charter Members

This means that 95% of all NADN members are promoted to their local Bar community, in addition to the benefits of national membership. I'm optimistic we'll see a handful more smaller states elevated in 2016.

NADN DENVER RETREAT, AUG 13-15 - WAITING LIST IN PLACE
I'm pleased to announce that we're SOLD OUT for the 100 rooms at the Denver Four Seasons this August, with distinguished members coming in from 25 states for our biggest (and hopefully best) Retreat yet. As we've limited places in the training room, I've called a halt to taking any additional registrations. If any members hope to attend from hereon, we'll have to place your name on a waiting list - we're almost certain to see 5-10% of members cancel their place nearer the event as trials/arbitration come up which change plans. If you DO hope to attend, please reach out to Rose-Anne Raies (813 600 3678) and she'll put your name on this new list. On the CLE front, Rose-Anne has now sent out applications/paperwork to all states that issue CLE credits, and we'll update the Retreat page (and brochure) with CLE Course#s etc later in April. 

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - APRIL Edition 
We will be sending the next Calendar Dates Notice out to law firms the morning of TUE APR 2 so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base. 

FEBRUARY 2015

NADN 2015 RETREAT, Aug 13-15, Four Seasons Denver, CO 


Download PDF

UPDATE FEB 26:
As of now, we've 23 of the 90 discounted rooms at the Four Seasons still available. If you're able to attend this world class training event at the Four Seasons Hotel Denver, please don't delay - send your registration form back to Rose-Anne Raies in the next week or two at the latest. We'll submit the roster to the Four Seasons on March 1st, after which attendees are free to contact the hotel to arrange their stay at the $285 per night rate.

If you haven't yet reviewed the Retreat brochure (to see what you might be missing out on!), please click the link on the left, or go view the NADN Retreat page to see testimonials and photos from previous meetings. 

"Fellows" of the Academy: 
We will be making changes to our websites in March to recognize those members who have received training at one of the Academy Retreats over the last 6 years. Former attendees will be referred to from now on as "Fellows" of the Academy (rather than "members") and will be highlighted as such in all rosters. 

CONGRATULATIONS TO DEBORAH ROTHMAN, CA 
On a personal note, congratulations to my friend (and longtime NADN Committee member) Deborah Rothman, who has been elected the first woman President of the prestigious College of Commercial Arbitrators (CCA) association, a group I know many of our arbitrator members are familiar with for their tremendous work in the field. A superb choice - Deborah is a respected leader in the ADR field and as wise as she is generous with her time. Read more here, at NJ member Peter Phillips' blog!

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - MARCH Edition 
We will be sending the next Calendar Dates Notice out to law firms the morning of WED MAR 4 so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base. 

JANUARY 2015

WELCOME TO THE 2015 INDUCTEES...
Following peer votes and the completion of all the usual due diligence interviews at the end of 2014, we're delighted to confirm the following members to NADN this month, in recognition of excellence in the field of ADR.

ALABAMA: Debra Leo, Stevan Goozee, Larry Moore
ARKANSAS: Jim Tilley, Larry Burks, John Mercy 
ARIZONA: Hon. Kenneth Fields, Charles Muchmore
CONNECTICUT: Richard Mahoney
DELAWARE: Hon. Joseph Slights
DC: Mark Kantor, Bruce Lane, Judith Ittig
GEORGIA: Hon. Susan Forsling
IDAHO: John Magel
INDIANA: Eric Chickedantz, Tom Hays, John Trimble, Ross Rudolph, Dan Sigler
IOWA: Peter Gartelos, Justice Louis Lavorato
KENTUCKY: William G. Francis
MAINE: Peter Schroeter, Elizabeth Germani
MASSACHUSETTS: John Fieldsteel, Hon. Suzanne DelVecchio
MICHIGAN: Gene Esshaki, Hon. James Rashid
MISSOURI: Richard McLeod
MONTANA: Justice James Regnier, Dennis Lind
NEBRASKA: Tim Engler, Mark Christensen
NEVADA: Hon. Jackie Glass
NEW JERSEY: Jennifer Brandt
NEW MEXICO: Hon. James Hall, Denise Torres
NEW YORK: Stephen Strick
NORTH CAROLINA: William Blancato, Hon. Gary Cash, Asa Bell Jr.
OHIO: Daniel Zeiser
OKLAHOMA: Jake Jones
SOUTH CAROLINA: Earl Ellis, Mills Gallivan
TENNESSEE: Mark LeVan
TEXAS: Beth Krugler, David Calvillo, Mike Amis, Ken Rubenstein, Hon. Phyllis Speedlin, John Mercy
UTAH: Frank Carney
VERMONT: Tad Powers
W. VIRGINIA: Tom Steele
WISCONSIN: James Smith, David Paulson, Robert McCracken, Michael Crooks

NOTE: We've just 1 additional member for NY - we've a full-house already! The majority of new members are mediating/arbitating fulltime and more than 80% adopted the NADN calendar tool, guaranteeing more exposure and an expedited scheduling process for clients, existing and prospective. We've now called a halt to inductions for another year. Current NADN members are welcome to put forward names for consideration to Rose-Anne or myself at any time - all such peer votes will be filed for reference - but no new members will be considered until December 2015 for the 2016 year.

TRAINING RETREAT @ FOUR SEASONS HOTEL, DENVER, CO - Aug 13-15 2015 
As per December update - we're still hammering out the speakers and agenda for the Denver Retreat. Full details coming before mid-February at the latest - promise!! (Note: Please - don't try to reserve rooms directly with the Four Seasons yet - NADN needs to provide the names of attendees to hotel management before discounted bookings can be confirmed. As always - spouses/partners are quite welcome to attend the social events - in 2013, more than half of attendees brought family along.)

SPONSORSHIPS -  CPR INSTITUTE (Torrey Pines, CA Feb 20) & AAJ WINTER CONFERENCE (Palm Springs, CA - Feb 21-24)
As in 2014, NADN has allocated some budget to furthering its brand within the ADR community itself.  To that end, NADN is a sponsor of next month's CPR Institute Annual Meeting on Feb 20th (I'll be attending for the first time) and also the largest ADR event, the ABA ADR Meeting in Seattle in April.  Rose-Anne will also be flying the NADN flag with our booth at the AAJ plaintiffs bar Winter Meeting next month.

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - FEBRUARY Edition 
We will be sending the next Calendar Dates Notice out to law firms the morning of WED FEB 4 so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base. 

DECEMBER 2014

SAVE THE DATES - NADN ADVANCED TRAINING RETREAT @ FOUR SEASONS HOTEL, DENVER, CO - Aug 13-15 2015

As members' expectations for the 2015 Retreat are "a mile high" - we settled on a great city with (almost exactly) that altitude!

NADN has put a provisional hold on 80 (deeply-discounted) deluxe rooms at the 5-Star Denver Four Seasons hotel for next year's much-anticipated Retreat. As in previous years, non-local attending members should plan to arrive on the Wednesday (Aug 12, 2015) for the evening welcome drinks reception, as the advanced training course kicks off the next morning at 9am. The 2015 course runs from 9am-5pm on both Thursday Aug 13 & Friday Aug 14 (with fully catered breakfasts, refreshment breaks & lunches, with Academy Banquet on Friday night) but with a shorter day planned on Saturday (9am to 2.30pm).

It will be a few weeks before we've settled on the final lineup of speakers/presenters etc, but rest assured - as those who have attended in the past can attest - this course is designed for mediators who already have hundreds (or thousands) of mediations under their belts, who want to raise their conflict resolution skillset to the next level. All members will receive a copy of the 2015 Denver Retreat Brochure in early February to review- we'll then be taking reservations in first-come-first served fashion, with a max. limit of 100 classroom places for Denver 2015.
(Note: Please - don't try to reserve rooms directly with the Four Seasons - NADN needs to provide the names of attendees to hotel management before discounted bookings can be confirmed. As always - spouses/partners quite welcome to attend the social events - in 2013, more than half of attendees brought family along.)

2015 NADN INDUCTEES LIST - NOT QUITE THERE YET...
I was hoping to publish the final list of 2015 inductees from across the nation this week, but we are still vetting the final dozen or so nominees as of this blog posting. We'll most certainly have a final call made on these by the end of December - the January blog will feature a complete and final list.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS ALL! I'M OFF TO A RAINY ISLAND FOR CHRISTMAS, DEC 19-28
Although I get back to England at least once/twice each year to visit with my parents and siblings, I've not actually been back for Christmas in over 10 years now. I'm looking forward to feasting on my Mum's traditional Christmas dinner - roasted potatoes (best in the world), brussel sprouts, turkey with stuffing and yorkshire pudding! I'll probably (ironically) force my wife watch the Queen's Speech on BBC1, before she forces me to watch the Christmas Special edition of Downton Abbey (that's a lie - I'm a fan too).

As ever, Rose-Anne Raies, NADN's stalwart & reliable Roster Coordinator, will be available at (813) 600-3678 should anyone need immediate phone support. I'll be checking email once a day if anyone needs me, though Rose-Anne is your best bet for a prompt response.

NOVEMBER 2014

REVIEW OF NOMINEES FOR 2015 INDUCTION
It's that time of the year again where we review all this year's peer-nominations and suggestions from DRI/AAJ affiliated firms for membership to NADN. Rose-Anne and I have reached out to the almost 150 nominees since the end of October and we're expecting to confirm somewhere between 30-50 members for induction in 2015, with an emphasis on adding members to states which are under-represented just now. Note this 150 does not include the 5-10 unsolicited applications for membership we receive via email/phone most months (they're all politely declined). 

FYI - the single biggest reason for refusing membership is that a nominee falls some way short of the ADR practice benchmarks (link), and thus declines his/her nomination. In other such instances, if a nominee does meet our criteria and receives peer votes, it most often turns out that they're:

a) pending retirement and thus not interested in joining any kind of collegial association;
b) not fans of modern technology (such as email & the "interwebs") - often retired judges and more "mature" ADR practitioners are prone to Luddite viewpoints(!)
c) no response is received, so we must assume the nomination is declined.

We'll post the list of 2015 inductees in the December blog post, on completion of due diligence client interviews, in progress now.

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - NOVEMBER Edition 
We will be sending the next calendar dates notice out to law firms the morning of WED DEC 3 so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base. 

In Retreat News - discussions taking place over the next week or two, so we'll soon have the dates/venue tied down for your 2015 diaries!

OCTOBER 2014

DRI ANNUAL MEETING SPONSORSHIP - San Francisco, Oct 22-26 2014
NADN was again pleased to sponsor the DRI Annual Conference, spreading the word about NADN to the 1400+ attending DRI members, this time in sunny San Francisco (note: SF Giants were playing in the World Series at the time so the DRI's evening events were baseball-oriented - sadly, all rather lost on this Brit - Rose enjoyed it though!) 

The one very encouraging thing a year on from when our partnership with DRI was formalized? I'd estimate that perhaps two-thirds of the 150+ attorneys that stopped by had heard of NADN, and many recalled submitting their votes via the DRI Survey of Oct/Nov last year. For many states, we were able to show these DRI members how their feedback had allowed us to identify suitably qualified/respected candidates that were then vetted and confirmed to membership. Plus, it's always fun to show the Date-Search tools off, as in most cases the lawyers take away literature and say they'll make sure that their own staff save time by referring to the database (whether that's NADN.org, or the local chapter sites like NYMediators.org).

In November, we'll be sending an end-of-year DRI/NADN Survey branded email blast to the current DRI membership, asking firms to once again review the list of NADN neutrals in their own state, adding endorsements for those names that they'd recommend to fellow defense counsel. These lawyers may (again) volunteer feedback about mediators/arbitrators they'd suggest for membership. While this "suggestions" data remains useful for research, NADN will rely largely on peer-nominations to consider candidates for the 2015 year - and we plan to limit the # of 2015 inductees in consultation with the committee members for our existing state chapters.

As ADR Partner to the DRI, we use their logo on all signage... Me with two folks from DRI's Med Mal Section who stopped by
Rose-Anne and I, posing away with the projector screen... Once again, Rose-Anne's halo is sadly obscured by the glow(!)

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - NOVEMBER Edition 
We will be sending the next calendar dates notice out to law firms the morning of WED NOV 5 so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base. 

Finally - there's some progess on planning for our 2015 Training Retreat  - the venue's still under consideration - but for now, please be sure to put a hold on the dates of Aug 20-22, 2015!


SEPTEMBER 2014

DRI &  AAJ - Personalized emails to defense/plaintiff attorneys across the US
Between Sep 10 and Sep 25, we sent out over 26,000 personalized letters and emails to current members of the national defense (DRI) and plaintiff's bar (AAJ), promoting both NADN.org and, more specifically, our 25 formalized state chapters. We encouraged the recipients to pass the website details on to relevant staff within their offices to expedite the mediation scheduling process. The emails were generated by our server using a method called 'geo-mapping' to make the message much more personalized; we mailmerged in formal names, city/states, firm names, and our server also generated a randomized list of Academy member names that were either KNOWN to this firm already (via an IP address check of our recorded booking requests) or failing that, the server added the names of those NADN members nearest to the recipients zipcode GPS location(!)

This effort was worthwhile - we had hundreds of 'thankyou' notes from attorneys for the info - particulary in those newer states including AL, AZ. CO, CT, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NH, OH, PA & SC. A few weeks ago, we also quietly upgraded some of the stats/tracking reports on our server (including latest Google Analytics software) and we've seen very significicant daily spikes (50-300%) in traffic against all these local chapter sites, as well as referral-traffic to NADN.org. The hope is that a good portion of these law firm users will indeed BOOKMARK their preferred local site and keep it as a go-to resource from now on. We'll continue to monitor all the national/local web traffic and review this in more detail at year end.   

LOCAL CHAPTER AD CAMPAIGNS - OVERVIEW
The campaign for mindshare with litigation firms is best waged at the local bar level, so here are all the different ad campaigns running across the 25 states with formal chapters. 

Alabama: www.Alabama-Mediators.org/marketing  Arizona: www.AZMediators.org/marketing 
California: www.CaliforniaNeutrals.org/marketing  Colorado: www.ColMediators.org/marketing 
Connecticut: www.ConnMediators.org/marketing  Florida: www.FloridaMediators.org/marketing
Georgia: www.GeorgiaMediators.org/marketing  Illinois: www.IllinoisMediators.org/marketing 
Indiana: www.IndianaMediators.org/marketing  Kentucky: www.KentuckyMediators.org/marketing 
Louisiana: www.LouisianaMediators.org/marketing  Massachusetts: www.MassMediators.org/marketing 
Michigan: www.MichiganMediators.org/marketing  Minnesota: www.MinnesotaMediators.org/marketing 
Mississippi: www.MissMediators.org/marketing  Missouri: www.MissouriMediators.org/marketing 
New Hamps: www.NHMediators.org/marketing  New Jersey: www.NJMediators.org/marketing 
New York: www.NYMediators.org/marketing  North Carolina: www.NCMediators.org/marketing 
Ohio: www.OhioMediators.org/marketing  Pennsylvania: www.PAMediators.org/marketing 
South Carolina: www.SCMediators.org/marketing  Tennessee: www.TennesseeMediators.org/marketing 
Texas: www.TexasNeutrals.org/marketing 


AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - OCTOBER Edition 
We will be sending the next calendar dates notice out to law firms the morning of FRI OCT 3 so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base. 

Rose-Anne and I will both be headed to San Francisco next month to showcase NADN to the assembled throngs at the DRI Annual Conference. I also hope to tie down the date (if not the venue/lineup just yet!) for our 2015 NADN Training Retreat -  watch this space. 

AUGUST 2014

NEW YORK AD CAMPAIGN FOR 2014-15 - NOW FINALIZED 
As discussed / reviewed in August with our NY Committee Members, the local bar ad campaign is now active once again. 

The ad budget has been changed up so that we're not focusing everything on the daily NY Law Journal publication, though roster ads remain in this monthly. We're also trying out sponsorship of ALM's new Commercial Litigation Insider Blog (www.LitInsider.com) for the month of September, to see if this produces worthwhile web traffic. More traditional print ads promoting the roster will also appear regularly in NYSBA's Corporate Counsel Section Newsletter (Inside Magazine). We're also of course leveraging our partnership with DRI and AAJ to promote the NY roster to the local affiliates of these groups - NY State Trial Lawyers Association Newsletter and the Defense Association Of New York also has a newsletter roster ad. Finally, we'll plan for direct mail pieces to go to members of both the NY Association of Paralegals and members of the Litigation Section of the NY City Bar Association. For full details, dates, PDFs, please log out of this members section, visit Home Page and click the left Ad Campaign Banner to visit the marketing page. 

NADN MEMBERS 'PRE-QUALIFIED' FOR INCLUSION ON RESOLUTE SYSTEMS NEUTRAL PANELS 
As per an email blast sent to many NADN members on August 14, one of our strategic industry partners, Resolute Systems LLC, has agreed to accept NADN members as "pre-qualified" for inclusion on their national and local ADR panels (link). I know that of our 900+ members nationally, 525 already list their bios with Resolute, so the email notice was sent to those 300 or so independent NADN members who are not exclusively contracted to existing national ADR panels, such as JAMS, ADR Systems, etc. Interested members should please contact Resolute directly for more information.

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - SEPTEMBER Edition 
We will be sending the next calendar dates notice out to law firms the morning of WED SEP 3 so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base. 

JULY 2014

NEW YORK COMMITTEE 2014-15
I'm delighted to confirm the NY Exec. Committee members appointed for the next 2yr term for our NY Chapter: 
Ruth Raisfeld (White Plains), Irene Warshauer (NYC),
Peter Woodin (JAMS NYC) & David Abeshouse (Uniondale). 
My sincere thanks to our founding committee members and these new faces - we'll be reviewing the local Bar ads and outreach plans for the NY Bar next month, aiming to reboot all ads from September onwards

NEW NADN CHAPTERS -  ALL DONE!
We've (at last!) completed all the new chapter websites and associated press releases & bar ad campaigns for the 6 new states. Connecticut Chapter: www.ConnMediators.org ; Indiana Chapter: www.INMediators.org ; Kentucky Chapter: www.KentuckyMediators.org ; Massachusetts Chapter: www.MassMediators.org ; Michigan Chapter: www.MichiganMediators.org ; Missouri: www.MissouriMediators.org 

For the record, that now means that 26 states have formal chapters (with their own local URLs, ads etc) and 902 of our current 980 members are now promoted at the local bar level in this way. We're confident of upgrading a few other states to formal chapter status in 2015.

AAJ SUMMER CONVENTION - Baltimore MD, July 25-28
NADN was pleased to again sponsor the AAJ's s Annual Convention held in Baltimore last week. The event was well attended (1500+ trial lawyers) and the reaction was certainly positive. Rose-Anne flew the flag solo this time around and reported that perhaps a third of the members she'd spoken to had some name recognition of NADN, having seen our ads in the AAJ publications/newsletters over the last year. One of the more common reactions is along the lines of "What's The Catch? Why are you giving away your roster? How do you make money!" - a  great thing about these face to face meetings is that we can allay those concerns by explaining NADN's member dues model, the free online calendaring etc. 

To that end - we've had almost 1000 views of the NADN YouTube Video the last 12 months. IF YOU'VE CLIENTS THAT ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT NADN/NYMediators.org, DO PLEASE FORWARD THEM THIS VIDEO! It explains everything they'd possibly want to know in a brisk 5mins.

We played up the AAJ Database partnership in all materials Rose-Anne showing off the NADN banner stands

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - AUGUST Edition 
We will be sending the next calendar dates notice out to law firms the morning of WED AUG 6 (comfortably after July 4 weekend) so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base. 

We hope to have some interesting news next month which will further benefit those members mediating insurance cases (and we're working on partnerships and strategies beyond the PI sector for 2015). Meantime, hope you're all having an enjoyable summer!

JUNE 2014

NADN STATE CHAPTERS -  PROGRESS REPORT
JUNE 30: We now have ad campaigns relaunched for most of the established State Chapters, running through to 2015 (FL, CA, NC, GA, TN, TX, NJ, NY, AL, IL, AZ, CO, LA, MS, NH, SC, MN, OH & PA - phew!). We're just now finalizing the latest state chapter websites, which should be launched mid-July with press releases, outreach to local publications and finalized Bar ad campaigns where budgets allow...

Connecticut Chapter: www.ConnMediators.org ; Indiana Chapter: www.INMediators.org ; Kentucky Chapter: www.KentuckyMediators.org 
Massachusetts Chapter: www.MassMediators.org ; Michigan Chapter: www.MichiganMediators.org ; Missouri: www.MissouriMediators.org 

BUYER BEWARE - SALES CALLS FROM "MEDIATION.COM" 
Following emails from a few members the last month, it seems that the folks at Mediation.com are "at it" again. This is the 3rd time of posting related consumer advice on this, but hopefully it will serve to save members from being convinced to part with their money... 

Mediation.com
& Arbitration.com
- A website company based out of Florida (not to be confused with the long established Mediate.com), this group came on the scene in 2012. The "Mediation.com" domain was floating around with 'domain squatters' for a few years before this group purchased it and put together a fairly basic site aimed at selling mediator listings (the company also owns "Arbitration.com" for the same purpose). No problem with that in itself - it's a free market and all that - "Best of luck to them!" was my reaction to news of this startup. My view quickly changed when it became clear that they are, at best, exaggerating the prospects for new business from listing - and at worst, misrepresenting themselves and their relationship to NADN and other groups. The website and sales pitch have changed a little over the last year or so, but here's why it's (still) in my opinion a waste of your money...

a) "Hi there - could you use more mediations?" 
Quite persistent sales staff claim that listing your bio with their site all but guarantees new business! If so, how odd that a search for the words "mediation", "mediator", "arbitrator", "neutrals" (or ANY related keywords) do not pull up the Mediation.com website in Google or other major engines - this despite the impressive sales pitch, complete with misleading technical jargon (link)? In reality, the site (to our knowledge) receives little web traffic from members of the public using search engines - and certainly none from law firms most likely to hire you. 

b) "We partner with NADN/AAA/Mediate.com/<insert namedrop here>... you'd be in great company!"
Claims that NADN (or other respected groups) are working with Mediation.com team - this sales tactic of "name-dropping" NADN or names of our members during the sales calls/followup emails is a means by which the group can buy some "instant kudos". In Oct 2013, NADN sent a Cease & Desist letter to the management of Mediation.com insisting that hired hand sales staff must not mention NADN in any attempts to solicit business. In fairness, the owner did put a stop to the more egregious sales calls (suggesting outright "partnerships") but recently we have members reporting that these sales staff mention NADN as a way of demonstrating familiarity with the industry, building a rapport, etc. (Note: None of the staff at the company have legal/mediation training from what we can tell).

The one genuine value-add that the company offers now is to put a wire press release out "celebrating" the name of the mediator having listed with their website. These press releases are all much the same wording ('legendary' one here!) but due to quirks with the Google ranking system, they do indeed usually rate somewhere in the top 10 Google results against a search for that individual's full name. So there is perhaps some "online PR" value to the $800 yearly listing fee, which some mediators might like. Still, my advice would be to save your money - decline any such sales calls and politely insist on being removed from Mediation.com's call list.

NEW YORK BAR AD CAMPAIGN REVIEW, 2014-15
I will be discussing the NY Law Journal and other ad options with the NY Exec. Committee members in JULY and we'll be rebooting the local Bar ad campaign in a few weeks. My concern with the NY Law Journal is that it's a daily; we've a "24hr hit" to reach readers, unlike most legal newspapers around the US which have long since switched to weekly or bi-weekly format. We will maintain a presence, but I'm recommending switching some of the budget away from the daily paper to the litigator groups (NYSTLA and DANY), in synergy with our relationship with AAJ/DRI,and we'll also look into the local NY Bar publications and direct mail. More on this next month...

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - JULY Edition 
We will be sending the next calendar dates notice out to law firms the morning of WED JUL 9 (comfortably after July 4 weekend) so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base. 

PERSONAL NOTE: As of writing, the USA is doing fantastically well in the World Cup ("USA, USA!" etc) - the polar opposite to the waste-of-space that is my England football team. My money is on USA to win against Belgium and progress to the quarter finals where they face a tough test against Argentina. My mission to convert my many American friends to the joys of "soccer" (over gridiron football) will surely succeed if the US make it all the way to the finals! 

MAY 2014

Apologies all for the brief/late posting! Following my return from the UK, Rose-Anne and I have been swamped launching the various new state Chapters  and finalizing Bar Ad campaigns with local committees, etc. A more substantive news update next month - promise! 

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - JUNE Edition 
We will be sending the next calendar dates notice out to law firms the morning of WED JUNE 4, so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base. 

APRIL 2014

ABA ADR CONFERENCE, Apr 2-6, Miami Hyatt Regency Hotel - http://abadr.conferencespot.org/  
As mentioned in the March post, Rose-Anne and I attended the ABA ADR Conference, with NADN sponsoring for the first time. It was a pleasure to see dozens  of NADN members there, including meeting many for the first time after years of email exhanges! I feel this event was a success in that it allows NADN to further raise our profile within the ADR community, and at relatively little expense. Of course, our main target for advertising continues to be the litigation community (both at the national and state Bar level) but this is an excellent venue to further awareness of our brand within the sector. 

As an aside, we estimate we had 40-50 mediators/arbitrators drop by the booth and express an interest in membership! All were politely turned down, but plenty of literature was given out and a handful of them might indeed "make the cut" in years to come - so this sponsorship may well "pay for itself" in the long run. Edited highlights below...

 

The Hyatt Regency Hotel, great view...

Less splended view from Rose's window (!) 

Rose-Anne and I about to burst into song..

Amusingly, we were opposite the large AAA booth 

Our rather lovely new display banner
drew lots of attention.

"HEARTBLEED BUG" - Keep Calm And Carry On!
I thought I'd drop a quick note to the blog to assure members - NADN (and all related state chapter sites) are NOT affected by this server bug - there's no need to change your password/logins etc, unless you want to anyway. Basically (for anyone who cares!), this bug is caused by a much-debated "update" to security protocols for OpenSSL software that we chose not apply to the NADN server, thus sparing us the problems being reported on the news. Please also note - we keep all member credit card information for dues offline, so there's nothing on our server worth "stealing" for any determined hackers with too much time on their hands.

I'M OFF TO A RAINY ISLAND...
I'm off on a trip to the UK (some business/ some pleasure - I'm also off to watch my beleagured Manchester United soccer team limp to the season's end!) leaving Wed Apr 23, back on May 4th. Rose-Anne will be steering the good ship NADN in my absence, so if you need anything at all, her direct# is (813) 600-3678, email roseanne@nadn.org. I'll be checking email at least once daily but not too much more than that! 

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - MAY Edition 
We will be sending the next calendar dates notice out to law firms the morning of TUESDAY MAY 6, so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base. 

Next month, we will be relaunching all existing local Chapter Ad Campaigns including the NY BAR adss, and also formalizing new NADN State Chapters in Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan and Missouri.

MARCH 2014

LIST OF NEW ACADEMY MEMBERS FOR 2014
Following weeks of email outreach to nominees and hundreds upon hundreds of due diligence phone interviews, we're ALMOST at the final list of the NADN inductees for 2014. As of March 31, there are 8 additional nominees still being vetted who may be posted to the list below in the next week.

ALABAMA: Ben Rice, Boyd Miller, Reggie Copeland
ALASKA: Roger Holmes, Matt Peterson (First Alaska Members)
ARIZONA: William Friedl, Jeff Timbanard, Paul McGoldrick, Brice Buehler
ARKANSAS: Christoper Gomlicker
CALIFORNIA: John Bates (limited # of inductees)
COLORADO: Leland Anderson, Daniel Hale, Hon. Richard Borchers, James Miller
CONNECTICUT: Jay Sandak, Hon. Robert Holzberg, Hon. Fred Freedman, Hon. Jonathan Silbert, Hon. Beverly Hodgson, Tom Barrett, Chris Wanat
DELAWARE: Francis 'Pete' Jones, David White
D.C.: Linda Singer, Jerry Roscoe
FLORIDA: Hilary High, Steve Brannan (limited # of members)
GEORGIA: Lamar Sizemore, LuAnne Clark (limited # of members)
HAWAII: Jerry Hiatt, Justice James Duffy
IDAHO: Charles L
empesis, Duff McKee, Tim Walton, Marvin Smith
ILLINOIS: Michael Clancy, Geoffrey Gifford, Hon. Jennifer Duncan-Brice, Justice Michael Gallagher
INDIANA: Barry Bitzegaio, Richard McDevitt, Gene Duffin, Theresa Todd, Gerald Bishop, Richard Norris, Peter Schroeder, Richard Young, 
Irvin Sonne, Neil Bemenderfer, Dick Kraege, Denise Page, James Fels, Chic Born, Russ Sanders
IOWA: Thomas Finleuy, Jeff Boehlert, David Baker
KENTUCKY: Linda Hopgood, Greg Monge, Rick Walter, Robert Duncan
LOUISIANA: Steven Crews, Elizabeth Middleton
MAINE: Eugene Coughlin, James Bowie, Chris Dinan
MARYLAND: Snowden Stanley, Jim Wilson, Hon. Richard Sothoron, Hon. Monty Ahalt
MASSACHUSETTS: John Ryan, Geoffrey White, Wally McDonough, Richard Corbett, Brad Honoroff
MICHIGAN: Richard Kaufman, Jon March, Martin Weisman, Shel Stark, James Rashid, Bruce Neckers
MINNESOTA: Roger Kramer, Phil Pfaffley, Mark Pilney
MISSOURI: Ron Mitchell, Jim Condry, Mike Geigerman, George Fitzsimmons, Hon. Jay Daugherty, Hon. Brendan Ryan
MONTANA: Mick Taleff, Gary Zadick
NEBRASKA: David Woodke, Wayne Mark, Mike Kinney
NEVADA: Robert Enzenberger, Ara Sharinian
NEW HAMPSHIRE: None (limited # of members)
NEW JERSEY: Hon. Janine Dickey (limited # of members)
NEW MEXICO: Wendy York, Bruce Hall
NEW YORK: Jim Hacker (limited # of inductees)
NORTH CAROLINA: Ray Owens  (limited # of inductees)
NORTH DAKOTA: Jack Marcil
OHIO: Thomas Repicky, Frank Ray, Niki Schwartz, James Carrabine
OKLAHOMA: Ted Sherwood, Daniel Holeman
OREGON: Met Wilson, Jeff Batchelor, William Gibson 
PENNSYLVANIA: Christopher Lee, Peter Dunn, Eugene Scanlon
RHODE ISLAND: Michael St. Pierre (First RI member)
SOUTH CAROLINA: Tom Stephenson, William Lyles, Danny Crowe
SOUTH DAKOTA: Lon Kouri
TENNESSEE: Barry Howard, Lorrie Ridder
TEXAS: Tom Mitchell, Pamela Hoerster, Terry Fry
UTAH: Francis Raucci
VERMONT: Eric Johnson, Michael Marks, David Cleary
VIRGINIA, WASHINGTON: None for 2014
WEST VIRGINIA: Donald O'Dell, Scott Long, Dave Hendrickson, Deborah Scudiere, James Lamp, Monica Haddad, Frank Litton
WISCONSIN: None
WYOMING: Joe Vlastos, Richard Honaker (First Wyoming members)

By mid-April (once we get Miami out the way, see below!) we'll bring these various inductees onto the roster, prepare bios/calendars and also formalize a few additional State Chapters complete with committees and local Bar ads. We'll also get all the local Bar ad campaigns under way once more (after consultation with the local Exec. Committees) in existing State Chapters by the end of April.

ABA ADR CONFERENCE, Apr 2-6, Miami Hyatt Regency Hotel - http://abadr.conferencespot.org/  
Rose-Anne and I will be in Miami this coming week for the ABA ADR conference, the ADR sector's largest national meeting of mediators and arbitrators (as posted in January, below). This will be our first time exhibiting/sponsoring the event, so we'll post feedback on the event in next month's blog entry - I certainly look forward to meeting many members face to face for the first time in warm and sunny temperatures!

FEBRUARY 2014

AAJ WINTER CONFERENCE, NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEB 7-10th
Rose-Anne and I were both in New Orleans for the AAJ Winter Conference, meeting and greeting as many trial-lawyers as we could manage. (The weather was unseasonably cool, but that seems to be the case all over the nation this month - Florida/California excepted!) Six months back, not a single member of AAJ that we met at their Annual Conference in San Francisco had heard of NADN. This time, perhaps 50% of the trial lawyers that stopped by were aware of both NADN and most had taken part in the ADR Survey at the end of last year (welcome news after the extensive ad campaign and survey expenditure!) 

Yours Truly with Lisa Blue Baron 0f Dallas, TX
Incoming President of AAJ

CPR INSTITUTE ANNUAL MEETING, CHARLESTON, SC - FEB 21st 
As mentioned in January, we're putting some of the budget this year towards furthering NADN's standing within the ADR community itself. Rose-Anne just got back from a flying trip to the New York based CPR Institute's Annual Meeting. Our hosts were very gracious and we were pleased to sponsor the Breakfast meeting on Friday Feb 21st - Rose-Anne met a number of NADN members also in attendance! Needless to say, we received enquiries from attorneys/judges about possible membership, but Rose-Anne is an "old-hand" now at the invite-only explanation by now!

70F - not a snowflake to be seen!

NADN postcards inserted into every tote bag 

Many corporate counsel were in attendance, 
alongside top commercial mediators 

The NADN booklets were going like the 
proverbial hotcakes!

NY Member Gene Farber stops by to meet Rose-Anne

Gene Farber (NY), Will Pryor (TX), Rose-Anne
and Irene Warshaeur (NY)

NOMINEES FOR NADN - PHONE/EMAIL OUTREACH CONTINUES 
As mentioned below, we began our outreach to possible new members at the start of February, based on the mountain of survey data received from firms affiliated with either DRI or AAJ. (See wire agency Press Release here by the way, approved by both DRI and AAJ). 

We've now made contact (by email at least) with each of the mediators/arbitrators that received multiple votes from DRI/AAJ firms, and have consulted with the Exec Committees in each State Chapter on those names that are most widely acceptable. We plan to call a halt to this outreach in early March, then spend the whole of next month focusing on the due diligence interviews for each of the nominees that responded. All going to plan, we'll finalize inductions by the end of March, with perhaps 75-100 new members nationally, before locking down the roster for another year. Once each state roster is finalized, we're all set to reboot the various local Bar Ad Campaigns for each chapter featuring names/photos etc, including the local ads that have appeared in NY Law Journal. We'll also ensure that ads are scheduled for the newsletters of the local affiliates of the DRI and AAJ. 

The roster of new NADN inductees will be posted to the NADN blog in a few weeks, hopefully ahead of the ABA ADR Conference at the start of April.

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - MARCH Edition 
We will be sending the next calendar dates notice out to law firms the morning of TUESDAY MAR 4, so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base. 

JANUARY 2014

UPCOMING SPONSORSHIPS: ABA ADR SECTION CONFERENCE -  MIAMI, Apr 2-6 2014
I'm pleased to confirm that NADN will be one of the sponsors of the ABA's Annual ADR Conference this year round (link). Frankly, in previous years, with a limited budget for anything other than marketing to litigators/firms and the NADN Retreat, we've been reluctant to spend dollars on outreach to the ADR community at large. As it is, we see at least 20 unsolicited applications to join NADN most months, without even promoting the group within the mediation community!

That said, now that we're the official roster for the AAJ & DRI, we felt it's appropriate to have a presence at the meeting. With no Retreat until 2015, those funds can be rerouted to cover ADR markeing costs for 2014. This exposure will allow us to raise the profile of NADN within the ADR community, and I hope personally to meet with some of those industry groups/organizations that we might work collaboratively with. Finally, assuming that a good number of NADN members will attend, we'll arrange a members-only event one evening so we can meet up, details to follow in March. 

We've also agreed to sponsor the CPR Institute's Annual Convention (link) coming up Feb 20-22 in Charleston, SC, Rose-Anne will be in attendance and literature distributed to the 200+ mediators/corporate counsel. Finally, Rose-Anne and I are both off to New Orleans next month (Feb 8-12, link) for the AAJ Winter Conference, where we'll be promoting the newly improved AAJ Neutrals Database, now supplemented with votes from thousands of their members!

NEW MEMBERS FOR 2014
We've now just this week (Jan 20) completed the analysis of ALL the names that came in as recommendations from the 1000's of forms received through the survey of DRI and AAJ members. In summary, we've:

i) Eliminated crony voting (votes for partners in the same firm, or for themselves!)
ii) Removed names that were not referenced at least once by both a defense and plaintiff attorney in that state.


This still leaves us with a long list of 520 attorneys/judges across all 50 states - this varies from 36 names in California, down to 3 in Wyoming for example. The next step then is that I will each out to the local Chapter Committee members to review these state lists. The current formal NADN Chapters with their own websites/Bar ad campaigns include: AL, AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, NY, NC, TN, TX, MN, OH, PA, WA, SC, LA, IL, NJ & NH. Any names that are approved by these Committee members in those states will be sent an invitation to submit materials and we'll follow through on the usual due diligence and interviews to see if any attorneys/judges make the cut in terms of our strict practice criteria. Once we know how the roster looks for each state in February, we can lock the roster down for another year and re-launch any suspended local Bar ad campaigns for these states for March at the latest, including the ad campaign for New York, which we're likely to change up for 2014 in terms of publications - more to come on that!

Those states with just a handful of members will be approached later in February, and local charter members can review those names under consideration, with peer votes being sought as usual. In some cases, we expect this will lead to an 'upgrade' to formal Chapter status (10+ members), complete with website address and local Bar ads to promote the members (likely to happen in MA, IN, DC for example) . Finally, in those small states with no members at all (Alaska, Wyoming, North/South Dakota, Rhode Island) we'll complete our own due diligence to hopefully name one or two charter members to each. 

DECEMBER 2013

DRI & AAJ SURVEYS COMPLETE - REVIEW STARTED
Although DRI and AAJ members can continue to submit feedback via the websites anytime, the cut-off for nominations/suggestions for 2014 was on Friday, Dec 13th. Since the letters went out to DRI in early October, we had votes and feedback forms from 2305 defense-side firms (from every state), a response rate nearing 50% when you include the responses to the emailed followup in November. In a shorter time span of just over a month, we had 1852 individual feedback forms from firms affiliated with AAJ, covering all but one state (Alaska!) 

Over 80% of NADN members nationally have now received endorsements from either DRI attorneys, AAJ attorneys, or both - these endorsements are posted on the AAJ (www.Justice.org/neutrals) and DRI (www.DRI.org/neutrals) websites for these litigators-eyes only. Around 45% of the forms came with suggestions as to mediators/arbitrators that these firms thought should be considered for induction. We're now collating all that data, eliminating cronyism votes, seeing who is most widely referenced by BOTH sides of the Bar for their ADR practice. This allows us to draw up a short list of candidates for further consideration in each state for early 2014. At an estimate, we'll see just a 3-5 local members confirmed for 2014, as New York is one of our larger chapters already.

LOCAL AD CAMPAIGNS - UNDER REVIEW 
As our various State Chapters will likely see additional members invited to join before the end of Feb 2014 through this Survey Review process, we're pulling ALL local Bar ads nationally while we finalize the Academy roster for the 2014 year. After consulting with the committees of the various State Chapters in January/February (and completing the usual due diligence interviews to vet nominees etc) we'll restart these local ad campaigns likely from March 2014 onwards. For New York, we will review the possibility of switching the Bar campaign from "NY Lawyers Weekly" to something more specific to the litigation sector.

SEASONS GREETING, ONE AND ALL! 
It's been a busy year and my team and I are looking forward to a few days off over the Holidays from Dec 23 to Dec 27! From Rose-Anne Raies, Jackie Middleton, Zoltan Namat and myself - we hope you have a wonderful Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa (delete as applicable!) and we look forward to working with you in 2014! CLICK HERE FOR OUR ANIMATED CARD!

NOVEMBER 2013

DRI & AAJ SURVEYS - EXCELLENT RESPONSE RATE SO FAR...
The last 2000 or so AAJ Survey letters went out on Friday Nov 8, so we're a little behind schedule with the plaintiffs bar. Up to Nov 23, we have responses from 2100 of the 5200 targeted DRI-affiliated law offices, which is a phenomenal response rate over the last month (over 40%!). We've requested in all communications that firms respond by Nov 30, so we'd have a final set of data to work with in December. 

In just the last 10 days, we've seen about 800 of the 5800+ AAJ-affiliated firms respond to the online survey. We have email blasts ready (sanctioned by both AAJ and DRI!) for end of this month to target those that have not reponded by that time, so I'm hoping we can push the AAJ response rate nearer to 30-40% also. 

This is all very encouraging - firms are asked to review the current roster for their state, putting a checkmark against those neutrals they'd personally recommend to their fellow DRI or AAJ members. This first part of the process allow visitors them to see for themselves that this isn't just a "pay-to-play" directory; only the big-hitters are listed for their OWN state. Through this process, we're recording votes (or 'likes' to use Facebook vernacular!) against all DRI and AAJ versions of your profiles. This useful vote data is really a distilled and centralized version of the many conversations that go on about the merits of mediators/arbitrators on local state trial/defensel lawyer members-only email listservs! 

We then ask these litigators for the names of top-tier mediators or arbitrators that they themselves have hired on multiple occasions, but who are not currently recognized by the Academy. That's the data that we'll analyze next month - those names that are mentioned by both the defense and plaintiffs firms will be added to the consideration list for review with the various State Chapter members. The most widely acceptable neutrals may then be invited to submit materials/attorney refences - due diligence to start in December, confirmations to be announced early 2014. 

NEW PEER-NOMINATED MEMBERS FOR 2014
As members know, we decline unsolicited applications to join NADN (over 260 calls/emails in 2013, in fact - many family mediators, non-lawyers, etc). However, if we receieve multiple peer votes from NADN members throughout the year for an individual neutral to be considered, we'll reach out to him/her to confirm that he/she meets NADN criteria and review materials in Nov/Dec in consideration for the next year. Of the 90 or so names that were recommended by peers, we're pleased to confirm the following as newly-inducted Academy members for the 2014 year (between 10-20 additional neutrals likely to be confirmed nationally in December, on completion of further attorney phone interviews, etc.)

NY CHAPTER: Hon. David Homer (Albany)
NATIONAL: Daniel Dozier (MD); Thomas Toone(AZ); Jack Griffeth(SC); Susan Macey & Matt Railey (CO); Mary Pat Benz (IL); Elaine Gordon (CT); Thomas Juneau (LA); Hon. Jack Boyle (NJ); Robert Morrill (NH); Harold Korbee (OH); Jean Kalicki (DC); Paul Rocheford (MN)

OCTOBER 2013

NATIONAL DRI &  AAJ SURVEYS - 5400 DRI SURVEYS DOWN, 6000 AAJ SURVEYS TO GO!
As mentioned last month, we've sent out 5000+ letters to most all known DRI affiliated firms across the US, as of October 25th. All going to plan, by November 8, all the AAJ firms should receive letters too. This year to date we've already received survey votes and feedback forms from 200+ defense attorneys, with many more to come I'm sure following this major mailout. btw, poor Rose-Anne has hand-signed most of these letters on my behalf and has the wrist sprain to prove it, poor thing!

Stacks of letters to be signed... ..and sorted and boxed ... Our mailing house in W. Palm Beach...
Copies of DRI News articles inserted Postcard attached, with DRI.org login info Another batch ready for the mail van!

DRI Annual Conference - OCT 16 - 18, Chicago Sheraton Hotel
NADN was pleased to sponsor the DRI Annual Conference, spreading the word to the 1200+ attending DRI members about the Neutrals Database functionality now available to DRI members. We've been advertising monthly with the Defense Bar since May (View DRI Ad) , and thankfully(!), a good percentage of the members that stopped by knew of NADN and our resource in advance (quite different from last year!). Many of those firms will also have received the DRI Neutrals Survey literature pack by now, so the awareness/traffic are moving in the right direction.

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - NOVEMBER Edition 
We will be sending the next calendar dates notice out to law firms the morning of FRIDAY NOV 1, so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base. 

More updates next month, by which time well have lots of survey data (from both sides) to work with. As we start to identify the likely candidates for membership through this process, I'll reach out to State Committees and local members to review and make sure that these individuals are able to receive the required peer votes before being screened for potential membership.

Finally - Zoltan and I are also working on some new site improvements/widgets, early days but I hope we have a beta-version of new software before year end - stay tuned!

SEPTEMBER 2013

NATIONAL DRI AND AAJ SURVEYS - PREPARING MAILOUT NOW
As mentioned this summer (and in our popular new YouTube video!), NADN is working with both the AAJ and DRI on a survey of the nation's plaintiff and defense lawyers. Literature packs including links to the online survey will be going out by October 10 to partners at over 11,000 individual law offices, insurance companies and corporations. Essentially, we'll ask them to review the local NADN state roster (such as it exists), vote for any of these current Academy members (so as to endorse mediators/arbitrators to peers within the DRI or AAJ community). Perhaps most importantly, we're asking them to identify the names of any 'missing' neutrals - ADR professionals that these litigators have personally worked with multiple times and found to be highly effective.

We'll then compile all this survey data from both 'sides' through to December, allowing us to identify a list of widely trusted neutrals who might warrant an invitation to join the Academy in 2014, pending due diligence and sufficient affirming votes from current members (all suggested attorneys/judges would still have to prove they meet the NADN practice requirements, as always). We hope this allows us to bring on board perhaps 40-50 new members nationally in 2014 - particularly in states like D.C., Virginia, etc where we have little coverage. I don't foresee allowing anything more than 1 or 2 new members to the New York Chapter for 2014.

CALLS FROM MEDIATION.COM/ARBITRATION.COM
At least half dozen members called/emailed me this month about this group out of Florida (first mentioned in the December 2012 update below). They have hired some local students to cold call mediators to sell listings...

Mediation.com & Arbitration.com - A small website company based out of Florida (not to be confused with the long established Mediate.com), this service has received a number of complaints from ADR professionals who have suddenly found their bios/practice info displayed on these websites. Their website is basically a "pay-to-play" web directory - anyone with a credit card can be listed - but here's where they've upset a number of mediators and are perceived by many to have crossed the line:
a) They represent to visitors that Mediator X is 'listed' with them, by 'ripping' various online info (including from NADN.org or other online sources)
b) If a visitor did happen to then request Mediator X for a mediation (which is unlikely), that enquiry does NOT go to Mediator X, but instead is routed to whomever actually lists with them in that state - in effect, redirecting business.

In summary - they're selling listings for websites which receive little/no web traffic. Their sales staff "promise the world" and they've also gone so far as to suggest that they are in 'partnership' with NADN (and Mediate.com, and possibly other groups) in order to get mediators signed up for a listing (yours for $800). The only potential visitors might be members of the public searching for a family mediator. If that's in any way a component of your own ADR practice, your best move is to ensure you're listed in the general Mediator Directory based at www.Mediate.com, which gets far greater volumes of public traffic than this Florida outfit could hope for.

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - OCTOBER EDITION 
We will be sending the next calendar dates notice out to law firms the morning of Wednesday OCT 2, so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base. 

PERSONAL NOTE - I'M OFF TO A RAINY ISLAND! 
Just a heads up - Rose-Anne Raies (813 600 3678, roseanne@nadn.org) is sailing the good ship NADN while I'm away on a much-delayed vacation to the UK (from Sep 23 to Oct 7th). I'll have access to email but will try to avoid it as much as possible! 

AUGUST 2013

NADN RETREAT, BOSTON AUG 21 - 24, 2013
WOW!
Best Retreat yet - it was fantastic to see members from over 20 states in attendance! We're just now catching up with the backlog from taking a week out of the office (isn't it always the way?) but my thanks to those 90+ members that made the journey to Boston. The weather was beautiful throughout and the venue and trainers were first class. My thanks to New York Chapter member Lela Porter Love, Lee Jay Berman, Prof. Guhan Subramanian, Andy Little, Don Philbin and John Salmon for an exceptional 3-day learning experience!

We're tidying up all the CLE/CME certifications with Bar associations and all attendees will receive signed "Attendance Certificates" before the end of this month. IF YOU DIDN'T MAKE IT THIS YEAR and want to see what you missed out on, please visit our updated NADN Retreat page for photos! We're still compiling feedback forms and testimonials from Boston will be posted there within a week or so. The next NADN Retreat will be in Summer 2015, most likely somewhere on the West Coast.

"AN INTRODUCTION TO NADN" - YOUTUBE VIDEO!
As premiered during my presentation at the Retreat, NADN now has an instructional video up on Youtube! This will be distributed to both attorneys and paralegals/support staff in the coming months (including membership of AAJ and DRI), in order to help legal staff understand exactly what NADN is, and how we can assist them. 

One of the most common questions we get when reaching out to litigation firms is "What's the catch? How do YOU make money? How can you do this for free?!". The YouTube clip makes a few points clear within the first minute about exactly what NADN is, how we fund the group etc. The rest of the video is a simple baby-steps How To about using the NADN website. The video is now embedded at every local chapter site and the NADN.org site on our ABOUT page, so that firms can watch the clip rather than read through all the verbage, if they prefer. Click to play below...

Please forward this video to any firm colleagues, clients, fellow paralegals or litigators that would likely benefit from knowing more about the Academy database - Youtube link is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pig2Zh0JIT0 

PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT NADN - THERE'S NOTHING LIKE "WORD OF MOUTH" TO RAISE AWARENESS OF OUR GROUP!

JULY 2013 

AAJ CONVENTION - July 20-23rd, San Francisco Hilton 
NADN was pleased to sponsor the AAJ's s Annual Convention held in San Francisco this last week. Over 1600 trial lawyers were in attendance and the reaction was very positive. AAJ Members from Florida, Texas, Georgia generally seemed already aware of our group; attendees from states in the North East, Mid-West etc. were generally hearing about NADN for the first time, but all reacted positively. One of the most common reactions is along the lines of "What's The Catch? Why are you giving away your roster? How do you make money?" - a great thing about these face to face meetings is that we can allay those concerns by explaining unique NADN's member dues model.

Rose-Anne pre-mailed personal letters and NADN booklets (PDF) to the attendees at the start of this month, inviting them to visit our booth. We also purchased a whizzy new 'short throw' LCD projector to use at conferences from now on (partially because these hotels all charge ridiculous fees for access to plasma monitors and equipment). Photos from the event posted at our national blog here

NADN NOMINATED FOR ABA AWARD - PLEASE VOTE!
I'm pleased to say that NADN has been nominated by Florida members for the ABA's "Lawyer as Problem Solver" award, in recognition of NADN becoming the approved roster to both the AAJ (plaintiff bar) and DRI (defense bar), establishing a free roster of the top-rated civil/commercial mediators and arbitrators specifically for the litigation sector.

If we were fortunate enough to win this for 2013-2014, I'm sure it would raise the profile of NADN with the wider ABA membership. There is a (brief) form online where you can cast your own nomination - please be sure to check off the "Institutional" box - "it ain't about me" but the association! Vote form at https://americanbar.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_3jZ06TT5buZyVNj 

NADN Boston Retreat, Aug 21-24 - CLE from every state now complete
Further to last month, I'm pleased to confirm that we now have CLE approved for both Illinois and Minnesota, so that's every attendee covered for CLE accreditation. The latest version of the Retreat Brochure includes all relevant course codes and info on page 9 (see PDF). Of course, we look seeing 90+ members in Boston next month and we'll upload photos from the event to the blog at the end of August!

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - AUGUST Edition 
We will be sending the next calendar dates notice out to law firms the morning of FRIDAY AUG 2, so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base. 

JUNE 2013 

PR & MARKETING FOR DRI & AAJ 
Following the announcement last month, we've had much positive feedback from attorneys trying out NADN/DRI/AAJ databases for the first time. Both DRI and AAJ published editorials to their members in June editions, informing them of the partnership (DRI, AAJ) and NADN issured a wire press release May 20th which was picked up by a few local Bar papers. We also saw more exposure for NADN within 'ADR circles' with this news published on the homepage at Mediate.com in May, along with other ADR blogs and news sites.

Now that the DRI / AAJ databases are fully functional, we've committed to ongoing press ads with DRI's monthly "For The Defense" and quarterly "In-House Defense Counsel" (View Ad) and a similar format ad for AAJ's monthly "TRIAL" magazine (View Ad). We've also committed to co-sponsor and promote our the databases at these groups' annual conferences, funding coming from member dues as posted in May blog.

DRI is including articles promoting their Neutral Database to members via their blog (DRIToday.org) and their E-Newsletter, The Voice. Similarly, AAJ is adding NADN to all materials related to member benefits, and on June 27th is sending a decicated email to all 22,000+ members. Please note that we've also revised the 2013 edition of our NADN Guide booklet (link) to inform readers of our connection to both DRI/AAJ (you'll hopefully have noticed a similar edit to our www.NADN.org homepage, too!)

AAJ CONVENTION, San Francisco Next Month 
Rose-Anne and I both will be headed to the Hilton San Francisco for AAJ's Annual Convention, July 20-23, at which NADN will be a sponsor and we'll be exhibiting in a booth too, of course. In fact, as I type this, Rose is sending introductory letters and literature to the 1500 attendees - photos and feedback to be posted to the blog next month! 

NADN Boston Retreat, Aug 21-24 - "No Room Left At The Inn" / CLE
With 80+ members who've signed up from 17 different states, we're set to have our largest ever gathering and I think the speaker line up might well be our best yet. To those who haven't signed up yet - I think it was my fellow Brit William Shakespeare who once said, "You Snooze, You Lose" - the Boston Harbor hotel is now booked up for most of our dates(!) We may be able to squeeze one or two latecomers into the classroom at the last minute, but alternative lodgings would have to be organized (please call Rose-Anne directly if of interest, there is a Hilton quite nearby).

CLE Update: We're now just waiting on Illinois and Minnesota for course codes, but expect those to come soon. Meantime, we have been approved for New York through the "Approved Jurisdiction" rule (Tennessee Bar - Course# 135359 ar - 16.5CLE Credits, incl. 2 Ethics) along with FL, GA, NC, AL, IN, KY, NH, NJ, NY, AZ, MA, OR, VT, IA. We look forward to seeing many of you in August - here's hoping for good weather!

AVAILABLE DATES NOTICE EMAIL - JULY Edition 
We will be sending the next calendar dates notice out to law firms the morning of TUESDAY JULY 9, so please make sure to update your online calendar in the preceding 2 days to be make that your latest calendar data is used in the email sent on this date to your client base. 

MAY 2013

ANNOUNCEMENT: NADN IS NAMED NEUTRAL ROSTER FOR BOTH AAJ AND DRI 

Please click links below for official statements to NADN Members

It's taken around a year of pitching, due diligence, meetings, emails, conference calls, negotiations and agreement drafts - 
but I'm delighted to confirm that NADN is now partnered with both the national Defense and Plaintiff bar associations!

So - what does this mean? Well, your bio (and calendar if active) is now published at both the DRI Neutral Database (www.DRI.org) and AAJ Neutral Database (formely known as ATLA, www.Justice.org) and is thus available to over 40,000 litigators across the US, in effect making NADN the go-to neutrals roster for US litigation firms. NADN continues to insist on strict voting/vetting procedures to ensure only the top-tier mediators and arbitrators are inducted, but we will now also take annual survey data from the plaintiff and defense bars to ensure that we're aware of any attorneys/judges who should be at least considered for membership to state chapters. To this end, we'll lock down the NADN roster for the 2013 year, with no additional members allowed until 2014.

Note: In order to fund the cost of the annual AAJ and DRI Conference sponsorships and related ads/direct mail work, member dues will rise from the current $50 monthly to $60 monthly, effective July 2013. This funding also then allows us to promote the database to local AAJ & DRI affiliates, including those in New York.

My sincere thanks to the handful of menbers of the Exec. Committee involved with this effort, including NC Chapter member Richard Boyette (former President of DRI) who helped with our initial proposal to the DRI. 

APRIL 2013

NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL - Apr 15th Special with NY Roster Inserts
As members hopefully saw, the 2013 Roster Cards were inserted into the Litigation Magazine supplement to the Apr 15 edition on NY Law Journal...

We've seen a 2 day spike and increase in traffic to NYMediators.org since, correlating with this distribution, so hopefully those firms will keep us bookmarked for future reference.

ARBITRATOR MEMBERS - Audit & Review
We're completing an audit of sorts this month to ensure that only members who meet the formal NADN requirements for arbitration (including 20 arbitrations to final award, etc, see link) are recognized as NADN Arbitrators. To this end, we've actually disabled the ability for members to self-declare themselves an arbitrator via checking this via the ADR Practice form. This 'spring clean' process is a little overdue as some FL, CAL, GA, TX and other founding Chapter members may have been 'grandfathered' into the national NADN database without sufficient due diligence as to these arbitration practice benchmarks. We expect to complete the email/call outreach to the few dozen affected members by early May.

NEW JERSEY CHAPTER LIVE / ILLINOIS CHAPTER PRESS 
Our NJ Chapter of 36 charter members went online at www.NJMediators.org went online to firms on April 17th with press and advertising to follow. Our Illinois Chapter launch was covered this last month in the Chicago Law Bulletin, the legal paper of record for the state and we're already seeing some of the larger litigation firms pulling up bios/calendars. (Read Article).

ONLINE CALENDARS - REASONS TO ENCOURAGE CLIENTS TO SUBMIT APPT. REQUESTS ONLINE 
As many members have seen, there is an administrative advantage to having your calendar published online - firms can quickly check the dates on which you're available without necessarily playing phone tag. Right now, MOST visitors to the NY Chapter site simply check these calendars and then pick up the phone to confirm their preferred date - as opposed to just clicking on that available date to send in an Appointment Request form by email.

There is though a distinct marketing advantage for you to encourage clients to submit their requests via the request form. 1) This allows you to build up a recorded database of clients, accessible through the View All Bookings report, at the bottom of your administration calendar. Over the years, members in the southern states have built up lists of hundreds of such clients. 2) Around the start of each month, we send out an "Available Dates Notice" to this client list, reminding them that you are personally available for any upcoming cases. This email (see sample) includes a summary of the next 90 days availability and we know from the experience of members in FL, GA, TX etc that firms appreciate this heads up. (Note: Members can opt out of this email activity if they prefer, it's not mandatory). Any questions on this, please call Rose-Anne or myself!

Personal Note: April was a sad month for us as we lost my wife's father after a year-long battle with lung cancer. Jack Middleton was 87, a Canadian veteran of World War II, and an all-round good chap. He was also (albeit belatedly in life!) a Manchester United soccer fan, and I know he'd have been glad to see our beloved Reds winning their record 20th Premier League title this last week. 

With the time out due to this loss in the family, it's delayed my exciting announcement hinted at last month. Patience though is a virtue, news release to come within the next month for sure!

MARCH 2013 

NADN 2013 ADVANCED TRAINING RETREAT - Hotel Rooms 
Further to emails to attending members - anyone needing a room at the Boston Harbor Hotel should now call Reservations this month to provide your credit card detail - please be sure to identify yourself as an NADN member to get the $285 nightly rate. All of the reserved NADN room block has been filled but we've asked for another 10 rooms to be kept on hold, through to early June - if they're not spoken for at that time, they can be released back. So - for those members who "can't confirm their schedules til nearer the time", please let us know by then if you might indeed be able to attend, we'll try to squeeze you in (there is also a nearby Hilton that can act as a backup). Of course, I know some of our more local members are driving in each day and some members have holiday homes in the area. If you would like to attend but have not yet registered, please fax/email your signed form back to Rose-Anne at 1-866-247-4698 or roseanne@nadn.org

ILLINOIS NOW ONLINE, NEW JERSEY CHAPTER UP NEXT- 36 CHARTER MEMBERS CONFIRMED
I'm pleased to confirm the launch on Mar 18 of our IL Chapter at www.IllinoisMediators.org. We've finalized a prominent local ad campaign with the committee members which should ensure that the state's litigators are aware of the database of 28 leading ADR practitioner in the coming weeks. We've also just today completed interviews with Chicago Lawyer and Law Bulletin publications, guaranteeing press in the coming week. 

We've also this month finished the due diligence interiews for the great state of New Jersey, a final tally of 36 mediators and arbitrators made the cut there as Charter Members. The NJ Chapter will be announced to the local Bar around Apr 15th, new site coming together at www.NJMediators.org. As another mandatory-mediation state (based in large part on the 'Florida model') we're confident that litigation support staff will quickly add that site to their Favorites list to expedite the scheduling process. 

MARKETING REMINDER - 2013 NY ROSTER CARDS IN NY LAW JOURNAL, APR 15
As per emails to all members earlier this month, the 2013 Member Directory Reference Card has been printed and 18,000 cards are en route to the publishers of NY Law Journal (see PDF). These will be inserted into the widely read Litigation Special Edition, scheduled for April 15th. Please keep an eye out for this, along with the regular print ads in NY Law Journal (See Ad Campaign page at www.nymediators.org/marketing

FINALLY - WE'RE ALSO BUSY PROGRAMMING ... but WHAT? You'll have to wait until next month to find out! 

FEBRUARY 2013 

NADN 2013 ADVANCED TRAINING RETREAT - All Set, Get Your Registration Forms In!
THANKS to those members that have already returned their registration forms for our August Training Retreat, Rose-Anne and I look forward to meeting some of you again, others for the first time! As in previous years, we will be passing a list of names onto the Boston Harbor Hotel in early March - after which members can call the hotel to directly book their rooms at the discount rate. We can get at most 55-60 of these discounted rooms, 45 of which are now spoken for (as of Feb 25). Partners/spouses/family welcome as in previous years! If you would like to attend, please fax/email your signed form back soon to Rose-Anne at 1-866-247-4698 or roseanne@nadn.org

ILLINOIS CHAPTER - 28 CHARTER MEMBERS CONFIRMED
After nearly 7 months of firm surveys and due diligence interviews, we have finalized the charter list of 28 new members for Illinois. Although there were an original 70 or so nominees for the chapter, less than half that total were found to meet NADN's high practice criteria. We're grateful to the assistance of our IL Committee Members with the formation of this new Chapter (Robert Berliner, William Hartgering, Stanley Sklar and Frosty Pipal). The local IL Chapter website www.IllinoisMediators.org is 90% completed and will be launched to the local bar next month once everyone is logged in and set up. Please join me in welcoming these new Illinois members to the Academy! 

WESTLAW ARBITRATOR DATABASE - Awards collection scrapped
Further to the January blog update below - WestLaw have been persuaded that our arbitrator members have no interest in providing awards (redacted or not) for publication so that particular aspect to the new database is not being programmed. Thanks to the NADN members that shared their concerns on this confidentiality issue - WestLaw were very receptive and so only the 'bio search' functionality will remain. We look forward to a continuing partnership with Thomson Reuters on this project and others in the years to come. 

PICTURE IT SETTLED - Worth a look!
Members who attended the 2011 Retreat might recall that Texas Member Don Philbin gave an outline of his 'PictureItSettled' predictive analytics software, which was in the early stages of development. Now all the beta-testing is complete, based on data from more than 5000 cases, Don launched a web version of the product at www.PictureItSettled.com. This is well worth a look, it's real cutting-edge stuff! Don will also be giving a presentation on behavioural economics and giving a brief demo of his software at our August Retreat. 

JANUARY 2013 

NADN 2013 ADVANCED TRAINING RETREAT - BOSTON, AUG 21-24, 2013 
We've a block of 50 rooms on hold at the lovely 5-star Boston Harbor Hotel for our bi-annual Retreat, and the CLE agenda and speaker line-up is almost finalized.  I'm confident Academy members will find the course content very worthwhile, and as we hold the event only once every 2 years it should already be noted in your diary as a MUST-NOT-MISS-EVENT if you're serious about developing your mediation skillset (but don't take my word for it - see Testimonials from 2011 attendees!) 

We hope to get an email blast of the Retreat Brochure out to all members around Friday Feb 1st. We've previously had the course receive CLE accreditation (and CME in those states that have it) from the State Bars of FL, GA, NC, TX, CA, TN and others - with the addition of world-class trainers from Harvard Law, I'm sure we'll receive the thumbs up from Bar associations once again. 

WESTLAW/NADN ARBITRATOR PARTNERSHIP FOR 2013 - Awards Wanted...
Further to November blog update, we've now provided WestLaw with all the bio data for NADN members who are recognized for their arbitration practice. On a quarterly basis, we'll provide an export of these bios to WestLaw so that any updates you make are automatically synced.

To all Arbitrator Members - you will likely hear from Thomson Reuters staff by email in late January, confirming that you have been recognized for inclusion on this new database through your membership to NADN at no charge, with no further action required. However, WestLaw are keen to also store published arbitration awards against these various biographies. Obviously, this means that the permission of parties would need to be sought, or awards redacted of information that would identify parties, etc. From what I can tell, most of the existing arbitrator databases that WestLaw host are labor/employment cases of public record, and so such issues of privacy would likely not apply. As an incentive for any submitted awards, WestLaw are offering NADN members free online CLE tutorials for participating arbitrators. Even if you decide not to submit such awards, your bio will be included in the popular WestLaw & WestLawNext databases as a result of this new partnership.

NATIONAL SPONSORSHIPS FOR 2013 
We've decided against attending the ABA TechShow for April 2013 (too many IT geeks last time, and too few litigators!). We are instead planning to exhibit at both the defense bar's DRI Annual Conference (Oct 16-18, Chicago) and the plaintiff's bar AAJ Annual Conference (July 20-24, San Francisco). We are also exploring direct mail options for later this year with relevant groups including ABOTA and ACC.

CASE EXPERIENCE UPDATE: 'Discrimination' and 'Sexual Harassment' Now Available To Check
On review, we felt that we should add these to expand upon the blanket 'Employment' term in the NADN database - certainly we've heard from a number of members who have successfully mediated such cases to resolution and wanted to promote that experience. So, if you've settled such delicate cases yourself, please check away on the Experience form! 

New York Members will be interested to know that we're weeks away from completing the charter list for our New Jersey Chapter, to be announced around April. 

DECEMBER 2012 

NY CHAPTER - AD CAMPAIGN 
We're pleased to welcome 4 new members to the NY Chapter for the 2013 year: Barry Garfinkel (Skadden Arps, NYC),David Brodsky (Brodsky ADR, NYC), Michael Menard (Hamburg, NY) and Irwin Kahn (NYC), all of whom received the appropriate peer votes and were found to meet the high practice requirements for NADN membership. 

After consultation with our NY Committee Members, I'm pleased to say we've finalized the ad campaign for 2013, focusing most of our budget again next year on ALM's NY Law Journal. As mentioned in the November blog, the smaller box size ads were getting lost so we've upped the budget a little for 2013, only running large/prominent half-page size ads; a State Roster format, and large photo-gallery ads highlighting all members. In addition, we'll print up 18,000+ NY Reference Cards for insertion into the Law Journal's annual "ADR Edition" in April 2013. Ads will also run throughout the year in Monroe County Bar publications, to increase awareness in that part of the state. For full details, including copies of all ads and publication dates, please see our Ad Campaign Page

NADN 2013 ADVANCED TRAINING RETREAT - BOSTON BOUND FOR 2013
Following a survey of those members who had attended our previous NADN Retreats, we're headed to the Boston Harbor Hotel, Aug 21-24, 2013!
A little less sweltering than Florida at that time of the year, Boston is also one of those great cities where you can walk to almost everything you'd want to visit. We'll also be tapping some of the local "braintrust" when it comes to speakers/presenters. We'll aim to get the Retreat brochure out to members at the end of January including full agenda, speaker bios and course/CLE details. 

"CAVEAT EMPTOR" - NEW WEBSITES/SCAMS 
I've had a number of reports from members since late summer concerning some rather suspect new ADR websites/groups. Here's a "heads-up": 

Mediation.com
& Arbitration.com
- A small firm based out of Florida (not to be confused with the long established Mediate.com), this service has received a number of complaints from ADR professionals who have suddenly found their bios displayed on these websites. The website is basically a "pay-to-play" directory - anyone with a credit card can be listed - but here's where they've upset a number of mediators and are perceived by many to have crossed the line:
a) They represent to visitors that Mediator X is 'listed' with them, by 'ripping' various online bios (from NADN.org or other online sources)
b) If a visitor did happen to then request Mediator X for a mediation, that enquiry does NOT go to Mediator X but instead is routed to whomever actually lists with them in that state - in effect, redirecting intended business. 

I'd urge members to check to see if this group is using their bio/name without permission, as a number of FL, GA members found. In light of this practice, I'd recommend that our members have nothing to do with these sites. The only potential visitors might be members of the public searching for a family mediator. If that's in any way a component of your own ADR practice, your best option is to ensure you're listed with www.Mediate.com, which gets greater volumes of public web traffic than these new sites could see.

"Dr." Jerry Hall, ADR Trainer (Dallas/Panama?) - Jerry Hall, who may or may not be a Dr., has approached a number of our mediators in Florida, purporting to be the head of a world-renowned group called "International Association of Mediators-Arbitrators". There are up-front dues to be paid for the privilege to his firm (which we believe is called "ADR Services International, Inc.") and "he doesn't deal in cases of less than tens of millions of dollars". All good so far! What set off alarm bells was when he told a Florida NADN member that he was actually one of the "original founders of NADN way back"(!) It turns out there is no such group as "IAMA" nor million-dollar cases - indeed, the Doctor seems to have a track record of odd claims. I'd heartily recommend avoiding communication with this character.

NOVEMBER 2012

NY CHAPTER - WEB TRAFFIC ANALYSIS / AD CAMPAIGN
Since the NY Chapter site launched in late March this year, we've seen a steady increase in overall traffic, both from search engines and bookmarked firms.
It seems we're now at #1 or #2 in Google/Bing/Yahoo against keyword searches such as "new york mediators", "nyc mediators", "nyc arbitrators", "new york arbitrators", which is encouraging. Generally though, such keyword searches are members of the public searching for help with a divorce; not our most important demographic.

We're now seeing between 180-240 individual users visiting the NYMediators.org site each week day since September. Most of that traffic is coming from New York state (from IP address lookups). Of that traffic, just  20% is coming in via search engines - about half to the homepage, the other half directly to members' profile/bio pages. Most members should find that either their NY or National bios are coming up in the type of search that counsel might enter if they're looking to get more info on your practice ('firstname lastname mediator nyc" etc).

We do seem to be getting a spike across the website whenever the NY Roster ad appears in NY Law Journal, but no real noticeable bumps any longer with the rotating photo-gallery ads (see NY Marketing page for PDFs). Firms ARE viewing the online calendars - we've 1400 unique visitors who have bookmarked the website for quick access and who have visited on at least 2 occasions since launch (495 have visited more than 10x). Most visitors are sticking around for an average of 6mins, meaning that they're finding the content useful. (Even excluding members/assistants maintaining their own calendars weekly, that still leaves at least 1200+ repeat/loyal visitors.)  

The one area where NY is lagging is the relatively slow adoption of the calendar appointment request forms. We've seen just over 300 appointment request forms now come through the database since March, with the average now up to 5-6 requests per week. As New York is not a mandatory mediation state like FL,NC, TX or New Jersey, where firms have a window of just 14-20 days to file selection of a mediator and agreed date with the courts, the Calendar Quicksearch function is never going to hit the giddy traffic that we see in Florida (26,200 appointments scheduled online in 2011). 

That said, we'll re-double our efforts in early 2013 to ensure that the litigation firms are at least aware that this scheduling tool is available to their staff, gratis. We can only do so much from here though; NY members with calendars online should also be letting your own clients know that it's OK (nay, positively encouraged!) for clients to send a request through your calendar. This way, more and more firms will grow comfortable with using that function, benefitting all Chapter members over time in terms of increased traffic and exposure. 

WESTLAW / NADN ARBITRATORS - Partnership for 2013 

I'm pleased to announce a new partnership for next year, which will help us to further promote our members involved in arbitration. In early 2013, the Thompson Reuters owned WestLaw group is launching a searchable national database of civil arbitrators, made available to the thousands of firms that subscribe to the WestLaw service. We were approached earlier this summer about working with WestLaw to help compile this database, alongside respected groups such as AAA, Intl. Chamber of Commerce, etc. 

All our arbitrator members will have their NADN bios and practice data included free within the WestLaw Arbitrator database, with logos and signage indicating recognition by NADN, along with links to calendars at NADN.org, where active. As with NADN, firms would then just make direct contact with your office, should they require your services. There will also be an "NADN Approved" search category, along with a description page explaining how our NADN arbitrators have been found to meet the relatively high industry benchmark of 20+ civil arbitrations, etc. 

I'm told WestLaw currently sees around 20,000 searches of their databases each month, so it can only possibly benefit our NADN Arbitrator members to be highlighted in this way. I understand this new database will be made available to WestLaw subscribers by around March, but we'll post when the service is launched.

SAVE THE DATE - NADN 2013 ADVANCED MEDIATION TRAINING RETREAT - Aug 21-24, 2013 
I know a number of members wanted to be sure to diary this out for next year, so please do so - Aug 21-24, 2013! We're still mulling over preferred venue for the next event, though this time we're most likely heading out of Florida. I'll consult with committee members and post final details next month. 

NEW JERSEY CHAPTER - NOMINEES CONFIRMED
With thanks to our NJ Exec. Committee (Hon. William Dreier, Peter Michaelson, Bob Margulies, Laura Kaster), we've now identified the 40+ attorneys/judges in NJ who are most likely to in fact meet the formal requirements for membership to NADN. We've sent materials for review to all those nominees and hope to complete all due diligence and finalize the NJ Chapter by around March 2013, shortly after the announcement of the Illinois Chapter. 

OCTOBER 2012

NATIONAL NEWS - New State Chapters
As mentioned in the August update, we now have a handful of top-tier practitioners across an additional 20 new State Chapters, as can be seen on our National Map. For most of those states where we have more than 6 charter members, we've also arranged paid announcement advertisements featuring photos and info for all inductees. Such announcements will appear in local Bar publications over the coming weeks. Our outreach has just begun to 40+ of the top-tier mediators and arbitrators in Illinois (the vast majority of whom are in Chicago, no surprise) and we hope to confirm that Chapter in early 2013, along with New Jersey. For more information, please visit the National News blog.

DRI CONFERENCE, New Orleans Marriott, OCT 25-27 
For the first time, NADN is a major sponsor of the Defense Research Institute's annual conference. Rose-Anne and I are both headed to New Orleans this coming week. Rose-Anne pre-mailed personal letters and NADN booklets (PDF) to the 1400+ attendees earlier this month, inviting them to visit our booth so we're looking forward to spreading the word there!

We've worked in the last few years with the DRI at the local chapter level in a number of states (FL, GA, CA, NC, TN, TX, CO, AZ, etc) but now that we're able to boast a national network (well, 42 states and counting!) it makes sense to see if we might form a more strategic relationship with DRI at the national level. I've already had positive conversations with members of the DRI's ADR Committee and the National Executive team, and I will be meeting with those groups on Friday Oct 26 to see how me might raise awareness of NADN's roster nationally with defense counsel for 2013 onwards. 

Of course, we're not putting ALL our eggs into the Defense Bar basket; we're seeking similar strategic partnerships with national trial-attorney and corporate counsel groups. I also hope to have firm news on a new alliance that will benefit all NADN members before the end of this year - top secret just now and early stages - watch this proverbial space.

PERSONAL VACATION
I'm on vacation to visit family in England from Oct 31 through to Nov 12 (I hold out no hope of a glowing tan from the trip, but do hope to see my beloved Manchester United defeat Arsenal while I'm there!) Rose-Anne will be in the office and available for any website/roster matters. Her direct number is at (813) 600-3678 and email roseanne@nadn.org, though if it's not urgent, I'll likely be checking email at least daily.

SEPTEMBER 2012

NY BAR AD CAMPAIGN 
After a hiatus during the quiet month of August, our NY Law Journal ad campaign continues with the continuing Roster/Gallery ads running through to December on the current contract. For full details and PDFs of all such ads, please see our Ad Campaign Page. We will be reviewing this campaign with committee members later this year - one option on the table being a switch to more litigation focused ads with groups such as NYSTLA for 2013.

WEBSITE IMPROVEMENTS
As mentioned last month by email, various edits are now complete and working at NYMediators.org, NADN.org and all our local chapter websites...

1) Appointment Request Form Improvement
Here's the scenario - a client goes to send in the Date Request form for the first time, and thus has to enter their contact info including name, tel, address and email. Sometimes though (less than 1% of the time in fact) those clients/staff will mistype their own email address. In such instances, it has lead to the Mediator Notice email not being properly delivered to members' offices. We're now making these first-time users double-enter their email address to avoid such issues. This edit went live Sep 17th across all states, and is working just fine. 

2) Case Experience fields
THANK YOU to the 100+ members nationally that responded to the email survey in August. Based on this, we're adding 15 new Case Experience fields to the database the weekend of Sep 29-30. We'll send a notice to all members in October, inviting you to update your profile with these new fields as applicable: 

Bankruptcy/Creditor Rights; Business Dissolution; Divorce (High Asset); Elder Abuse; Internet; Medical Device Litigation; Mortgage Foreclosure; Pensions / ERISA; Property Damage; Railroad & Trucking; Telecommunications; Trademarks/Patents; Unfair Competition; Venture Capital; Wage & Hour / FMLA 

3) Multiple Offices/States:
We can now allow those members with active practices in multiple states to be recognized as members of additional State Chapters, and to have those altnerate office locations listed in our national database. (By way of example: Member Rodney Max has an active inter-state medation practice with offices in Miami, FL and Birmingham, AL, and is recognized as a member of both FL and AL State Chapters). Membership dues for such additional state chapters are $240 extra per annum. We'll include this option in an eblast to all members in early October. 

4) Member Spotight on NADN.org HomePage
In most states now, when a firm visits the NADN.org homepage, our Member Spotlight function pulls up those Academy Members nearest to the visitors location. This way, firms will see local mediators/arbitrators they most likely know/respect - making them comfortable with the calibre of our national roster! 

AUGUST 2012

Little local news this month, as we always pull all local Bar ads nationally for the quiet month of August and generally take that time to confirm new inductees and make website improvements...

NATIONAL NEWS - HEADLINES
We're please to confirm 72 new members to the Academy, mostly in those states where we had little/zero presence. Thanks also to those members who provided feedback to our survey regarding the 'Case Experience' fields - we're hoping to get a number of site improvements completed/beta-tested and live by early September. For full info, please visit our National Member News update!

JULY 2012

NY PARALEGALS E-Blast / NY Traffic
Friday July 20th saw another NYCPA email blast to its members, promoting use of both our NY and National websites to members. We're seeing between 150-200 individual visitors to the site now most weekdays to NYMediators.org, and a majority of that traffic is known to be firms within the state (we've also seen a 30%+ spike in traffic on the days that the Roster Ads have appeared in NYLJ). 

It seems that firms are viewing member's profiles and individual calendars, but for the most part staff/attorneys are not yet then sending in Date Request forms (just a few dozen total to date). This will change over time - we had a slower adoption rate in states such as Florida, Texas, Georgia, etc. We'll continue to reach out to litigation attorneys and staff to point out the time-saving of sending in requests online.

There's no better way of promoting the roster than via the efforts of members such as yourself. If you haven't already:

a) Please be sure that your NADN award banner, logos etc appear on your own website, confirming your membership?
b) If your calendar is online, please make sure to let your own clients know that they can save a lot of time by reserving their dates online.
c) If you have ANY kind of Bar events/speaking where you could raise awareness of our NY association, please email/call and we'll get a box of NADN literature out to you for distribution to your audience.

WEBSITE EDITS COMING
We've added the live LEXOLOGY Arbitration News feed to our site on a new Arbitration News page at the NADN.org site and we're also aiming to get some refinements made to the website functionality in the (supposedly!) quieter month of August. 

One key improvement will include fixing a problem that is caused by first-time clients submitting a Date Request form but mistyping their own email. This then causes a breakdown in the chain of email communications between yourself and the client, so we'll be insisting soon that any first-time user (not those thousands of existing clients who are instantly recognized) must double-enter their email address to confirm accuracy. Also, we'll be looking into how to allow members with verified ADR practices in another state to list that additional location via the National Academy site.

NATIONAL NEWS - HEADLINES
Rose-Anne Raies is headed Monday 23rd to Nebraska to promote the Academy to attendees of the Natl. Association of Legal Administrators Annual Conference. Photos to be posted by the end of the month to the NADN Member News page.

Also - my thanks to NADN Committee Member Chris Shulman who authored an article, "An ADR Guide for Adjusters" which will appear in the Fall edition of the national Claims Journal magazine. I pitched this article idea to the Managing Editor earlier this year, and while the piece is not an out-and-out advertorial, it strongly advocates that firms should refer to NADN.org as the foremost (free) roster of experienced neutrals! Once published later this year I'll post a PDF of the spread.

We are very close to completing the 200+ due diligence interviews associated with the ABOTA/DRI member surveys and we'll be welcoming around 75 new members from more than 20 states next month. This will leave us with just 5 states where we couldn't yet identify qualifying neutrals (I believe just Wyoming, North Dakota, Maine, Alaska & Rhode Island!) Full details on the inductees posted next month to the National news page here.

JUNE 2012

NEW YORK - Outreach & Bar Advertising 
We are sponsoring a meeting this month (June 28) of the NYC Paralegals Association and have couriered NY Roster Cards and materials to be distributed to all 100 or so attendees. The NYCPA has also been cooperative in helping us get word of the NYMediators site to their members, with 2 email blasts to their 1000+ members around NYC, promoting use of the website as a great way to expedite scheduling with the state's senior mediators.

Our ad campaign continues in NY Law Journal (see Marketing Page for all ads/dates) and the latest edition of the NY State Trial Lawyers Association quarterly magazine ("Bill of Particulars") has hit desks this month, featuring a roster of all our NY members along with phone#s and details (see PDF).

NATIONAL NEWS - New Members, New States

Following on from surveys sent out by email earlier this year to DRI and ABOTA members in those states in which we have just a small member list, we are expecting somewhere between 50-75 new members to be confirmed in the coming month, pending due diligence interviews through July. This should allow us to flesh out a few of those states that are currently 'dark' on the national map through lack of members, and further establish NADN as the definitive national network of established, working civil mediators and arbitrators. 

Of course, in smaller states, it's not likely that we can create formal state chapters (with local Bar ad campaigns or sponsorships, local Exec. Committees) simply because there are not enough qualifying neutrals paying dues to cover such expenditure (e.g.; states such as New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, North/South Dakota, etc). That said, it's great to have these new members on board and all such members are provided with NADN marketing materials, including Academy Member logos to use on their own websites or print marketing. Meantime, we have our final nominee list for the forthcoming Illinois State Chapter, and those invitations will be sent out in August. We also now have a committee in place for a 2013 State Chapter for the State of New Jersey. For more NATIONAL NEWS, please visit the NADN site here.

MAY 2012

NEW YORK - Call Outreach & Bar Advertising 
We have finished out introductory outreach to staff at about 150 known litigation departments, and the response has been wholey positive with firms interested to hear of the Academy roster, and in particular our time-saving calendar function. The Roster and Photo Gallery ads in New York Law Journal have been running (including 10,000 NY Roster insert cards on April 16 Litigation Supplement) and this will further raise awareness of our website with readers (See Marketing page for all ads and publication schedule). In addition, we have been mentioned twice now in the E-Newsletter that goes out to the NYC Paralegals Association members with another Board authorized notice to go out in June.

You should also all have received some of our NADN booklets and NY Roster Cards through the post last month - please be sure to spread the word to litigators and firms you come in contact with, as this is a vital part of our effort; firms tend to listen to members more than some association they hadn't heard of before. If any of you have Bar events coming up where you might distribute literature, please let Rose-Anne know and we'll courier as much material as you need!

LEXOLOGY ARBITRATION NEWS E-NEWSLETTER
After some false-starts, the NADN Arbitration News Digest email seems to be working; members who are recognized for their arbitration practice will receive the weekly bulletin each Friday morning around 9am EST from this month onwards! 

NATIONAL SPONSORSHIPS TO RAISE AWARENESS
California Member Doug Noll has a (superb and informative) weekly interview show, covering all topics relating to confict resolution, broadcast by WSRadio (link), and we are pleased to be the exclusive sponsors for that show from this month onwards. With several thousand listeners each month (including a good number of ADR practitioners) this provides a means by which NADN can raise its profile within the ADR community, with the intention of attracting interest from top-tier neutrals from those states in which we're not yet firmly established. 

Of course, 99% of the available budget goes on promoting NADN's roster to the consumers for our members' services, and to that end we have confirmed sponsorships/booths to exhibit at the following for this summer...

National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) - Annual Conference, July 25-28 2012, Omaha NE
As a large percentage of mediation and arbitrations are ultimately scheduled by paralegals and legal assistants, we continue to promote the NADN to this demographic whenever possible, at the state chapter and national level. We'll have a prominent booth with Rose-Anne in attendance.

Defense Research Institute (DRI) - Annual Conference, Oct 24-26 2012, New Orleans LA
The nation's largest association of defense attorneys, DRI's annual conference usually sees in excess of 1500 attendees, usually including the board/management of most state chapters from around the US. I'll be in attendance along with Rose-Anne and we're also sponsoring the Friday Lunch, which gives us an opportunity to preach about NADN directly to attendees.

Personal Note - my trip to England did NOT go to plan, with my team Manchester United throwing away an 8-pt lead and ending the season strangely devoid of any silverware. In the words of the proverbial ever-optimistic soccer fan - "Next Year Will Be Our Year!".

APRIL 2012

NEW YORK - Call Outreach & Bar Ads 
Rose-Anne and Jackie have been hard at work the last few weeks, we've now contacted by phone well over 100 litigation firms across the state and sent followup literature about the NY Chapter. Full report will be posted next month, but the reaction has been very positive, with a few dozen staff forwarding the website link and PDF throughout their internal directories. The ads in New York Law Journal (including 10,000 NY Roster insert cards in April 16 Litigation Supplement) should also nicely raise awareness of our chapter too! (See Marketing page)

DIRECT MAIL WORK
I've also asked Rose-Anne to mail each of you a dozen or so roster cards, as you'll surely be able to pass these on to interested parties! On April 18th, we'll be mailing out an introductory letter, along with these NADN Booklets (PDF) and NY Roster Cards (PDF) to over 600 members of the Assoc. of Corprorate Counsel in company law departments throughout New York State. Later this summer, we'll follow up on the mailing list granted us by the NYC Bar to raise awareness with their 'Litigation'-identified members.  

NATIONAL NEWS  - ABA TECHSHOW, CHICAGO
Rose-Anne and I exhibited on behalf of NADN at the ABA TechShow in Chicago late last month, establishing an Illinois Chapter committee while there! There are also several thousand more NADN Booklets going out the door to firms/legal departments around the nation. We are also providing a weekly Arbitration News Digest for all our Arbitrator members starting from May. Please see National News blog for full info!

Finally, I'm off on a vacation to see family in England from Apr 18-28th, so Rose-Anne will be steering the ship - she can be reached directly at 813 600 3678 or roseanne@nadn.org else you can email me if it's not time-sensitive. I'll hopefully be watching my beloved Manchester United claim their 20th Championship Trophy while I'm over there, fingers crossed!

MARCH 2012

NEW YORK LAUNCH - Outreach to Litigation Firms 
Now that the website is live, we've finalized all the announcement ads and publication dates, all published on our Marketing Page

To summarize: 

  • March 1: Press Release through wire agencies (link)
  • March 8: NY State Bar, Commercial Federal Litigation Section - distrubutes news through members-only listserv
  • March 8: NY State Bar, TICL Section - will add to forthcoming newsletter
  • March 14: NY Law Journal runs news item (link

    APRIL
  • Full Page Announcements in NY State Bar Journal & NYSTLA Quarterly Magazine
  • Announcements in NY Law Journal, including NY Roster Card insert into the Litigation Special supplement (over 10,000 roster cards en route)
  • NY City Bar Assoc - Litigation Section Members Mailout (with permission from Board of NYCBA)
    4500 personal letters along with NADN & NY Literature mailed out.

    MAY onwards
  • Ongoing presence in NY Law Journal, member photos featured along with regular Academy Roster adverts to promote 
  • Ongoing sponsorship of NYC Paralegals Assoc. newsletters, to promote useage of the online scheduling function in particular.

Phone Calls: In addition to the Bar advertising, we are reaching out personally to the state's largest known litigation firms. Rose-Anne and Jackie have been contacting firm administration staff by phone at several dozen firms since March 1st, ensuring that they are aware of our new website and our time-saving search functions. This has resulted in 2 dozen firms thus far agreeing to disseminate information to their litigation partners and staff about this site. My staff will continue this outreach through to the end of April, hopefully demoing the website to senior staff from over 100 firms in that time. 

I've also asked Rose-Anne to send each NY Chapter member a dozen copies of our NADN Booklets/NY Roster Cards next month - we'd ask you to distribute these at any relevant Bar events you might be speaking at, or perhaps just leave them on display in your reception areas, etc? Firms have reacted very positively to news of our group thus far but there's nothing quite as effective as members themselves spreading the good word!

MEMBER BENEFIT REMINDER - COMPLETE EQUITY MARKETS, INC. - LIABILITY INSURANCE FOR NADN MEMBERS
As a member benefit, we partnered last year with Complete Equity Markets Inc. of Chicago,IL to offer our members reduced rate mediation/arbitration practice professional liability insurance. Although we do not require members to have insurance for their ADR practice, many full-time mediators and arbitrators use CEM to insure them against claims - the company has an excellent reputation, working with around a dozen other regional ADR groups around the country and came highly recommended.

The insurance company website can be visited directly at www.cemins.com and any NADN members wishing to apply for coverage should please call Betsy Thomas directly at 1-800-323-6234, Ext.472. The CEM website will be updated in the next week or so to include NADN as one of it's "pre-approved" ADR organizations - meantime, official CEM press release viewable here.

Of course, as National Academy members, you're also welcome to visit our NADN blog anytime at www.nadn.org/member-news.

FEBRUARY 2012

Website Launch Date - THURSDAY MARCH 1st

If you are reading this then you've just successfully logged in - Welcome to the new NY CHAPTER Website!

This blog page will be regularly updated, keeping members up to date with the latest local Academy news. Our first order of business is to get every charter member comfortable with logging into their accounts, making sure that all profiles are fully fleshed out, and calendars published and accurate. We are aiming to get the finalized website then launched on March 1st. As profiles are completed, we are exporting members profiles across to the National Academy's NY Roster page at www.nadn.org/newyork 

MARKETING CAMPAIGN 

Members can see a full outline of all the Bar announcements, press release (PDF) and related activity online anytime at our Bar Marketing page
Just as soon as all of these designs and materials have been finalized, all members will be emailed, likely on Friday Feb 27th. 

All members are also invited to download their personalized Member Banners, online here, and those members with personal/firm websites are also encourared to LINK to their own NY/National Profile pages as well as include the Online Calendar system. More updates to come within the week...

Do YOU use an iPhone or relatively-new BlackBerry or touchscreen smartphone with a web browser?  

We now have a website page designed to be viewed
directly on your IPhone or Blackberry  that will let you edit your calendar data on the fly, without having to log in and out. If you'd like that personalized link to try it out, please call Rose-Anne directly at 813 600 3678.

FINALLY: All of you are welcome to track the National Academy's member news page directly at www.NADN.org/member-news

ACADEMY LOGOS / PRINT FILES 

All New York Chapter members are welcome to include the National logos or materials in their own online or print/press materials. Please find files available for download below... 

High Resolution Image - NADN Full "Crest" Logo ( JPG
High Resolution Image - NADN "Shield" Logo ( JPG
High Resolution Image - NADN Logos with Text & Full Color
 ( Photoshop ZIP

 

 

 
 

Reminder: PLEASE REMEMBER TO LOG OUT ONCE YOU'RE FINISHED WITH UPDATES

 View Complete New York Roster  ::  Legal Notice  ::  The NY Chapter of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals (www.NADN.org)