February 06, 2017

Fewer Ombuds Offerings at 2017 ABA Dispute Resolution Conference

The American Bar Association, 19th Annual Section of Dispute Resolution Spring Conference will feature fewer sessions about Ombuds that usual.  Rather than three or four programs highlighting the work of Organizational Ombuds, there will be just one.  Not coincidentally, the conference in San Francisco conflicts with the IOA annual meeting.

In addition to a breakfast table sponsored by the DRS Ombuds Committee on April 20, there are two sessions about Ombuds generally:

April 20

Morning Concurrent Session
Education Conflict Resolution: Establishing Ombuds Programs in K-12 Schools
This program will describe how ombuds can be a valuable resource for conflict resolution in our K-12 schools. Presenters will include an ombudsman and general counsel for a large public school district and a medium size public school district, and the program will be moderated by the chair of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Ombuds Committee.
Presenters: Charles L. Howard, Joyanna S. Smith, Judi Lynn Martin, Jollee Faber Patterson

Afternoon Concurrent Session

FOIA and Mediation: Together at Last
One highlight of 2016 was the 50th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act. Additionally, both houses of Congress unanimously passed--and the president signed--significant amendments that bolster the use of dispute resolution in every federal’s agency’s FOIA process. With 700,000+ requests each year, disputes regularly arise between the public and federal agencies. Improving communications and resolving disputes save administrative resources and avoid costly litigation. The amendments also give the FOIA Ombudsman (the Office of Government Information Services) additional authority and institutional independence. Find out what led to these changes and how will they improve our original Open Government law.
Presenters: Miriam M. Nisbet, Cynthia S. Mazur, Deborah M. Osborne
Registration is now open.  (ABA DRS 2017.)

Related posts: ABA Dispute Resolution Conference (2007)ABA Dispute Resolution Annual Conference (2008)ADR Conference in New York (2009)12th Annual ABA Dispute Resolution Conference Set for San Francisco (2010); ABA 2011 Dispute Resolution Conference Set for Denver2012 ABA Dispute Resolution Conference in WashingtonABA Launches Ombuds Task ForceAmerican Bar Association 2014 ADR Conference Includes Two Sessions About OmbudsGuide to Ombuds Sessions at 2015 ABA Dispute Resolution Conference; ABA Webinar to Spotlight Ombuds in Healthcare; ABA Labor and Employment Law Conference to Feature OmbudsUN Ombuds to Headline ABA Dispute Resolution Conference; ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Devotes Newsletter to Ombuds Issues; New Chair of ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Has Ties to Ombuds; Many 2016 ABA Dispute Resolution Section Leaders Have Ombuds Ties; ABA Dispute Resolution Magazine Devotes Fall 2016 Issue to Ombuds.


  1. Shameless plug: there's also a program on conflict coaching that may be of interest! I know it says federal sector but we will certainly be broader than that for some parts of it. Two of the founders of conflict coaching are on the panel!

    The Future of Conflict Coaching in the Federal Sector
    Conflict coaching is a critical component of organizational dispute systems and is increasingly used in the public and private sectors as a stand-alone dispute resolution process and as an auxiliary process to mediation and other ADR processes. This panel addresses critical questions about how to optimize the use of conflict coaching in the federal sector and proposes a research agenda for collaborative research across agencies.

  2. It's too bad they overlap. Maybe we can figure out a way to cross pollinate through webinars after the conferences!