August 14, 2017

American Bar Association Passes Resolution in Support of Ombuds

At its Annual Meeting in New York City today, the American Bar Association House of Delegates passed a resolution that: "Encourages greater use and development of ombuds programs that comply with generally recognized standards of practice as an effective means of preventing, managing, and resolving individual and systemic conflicts and disputes." 

The report submitted by Nancy Welsh, Chair of the the Section of Dispute Resolution, in support of the proposed resolution provides an excellent recap of the history of the ABA's work on Ombuds issues.  (ABA HOD Res 103.)

Related posts:  ABA Dispute Resolutions Newsletter Focuses on OmbudsGuide to Ombuds Sessions at 2015 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; Exclusive Access to ABA Dispute Resolution Magazine Ombuds Issue; American Bar Association Ombuds Committee Posts Update


  1. This is terrific, but also raises a little red flag for me. The mediation organizations never managed to organize themselves and define themselves, and the legal profession has pretty much taken over. I welcome lawyers as ombuds, but we need to make sure that the ombuds are defining and regulating themselves or this will be another profession absorbed by lawyers.

    1. I would gently disagree. The supporting statement makes it clear that the resolution supports the existing standards written by USOA, IOA, and COFO. It does not reflect any attempt by the ABA to impose new standards or influence. I see it as a tool for encouraging respect for Ombuds as a legitimate ADR tool and professional practice.

  2. And I would add, as one of the people who worked on crafting the resolution, the concern raised has been voiced and heard and is something those of us actively working with the ABA Ombuds Committee and the IOA discuss on a regular basis, particularly those of us who come from a mediation background. As Tom Kosakowski so eloquently stated, the goal of the resolution is to encourage respect for Ombuds as a legitimate ADR tool and professional practice, particularly among law makers. The Resolution now enables the ABA Ombuds Committee to be informed of and, potentially, to have a voice through the ABA Governmental Affairs Office, on any proposed federal legislation related to ombuds practice, standards, and confidentiality.