American Bar Association
Section of Dispute Resolution: Women in Dispute Resolution (WIDR) Committee

Section of Dispute Resolution:
Women in Dispute Resolution (WIDR) Committee

Who We Are

We are Dispute Resolution professionals committed to ensuring the full scope of opportunities are available to women in the profession. We provide business resources and a supportive community to move ourselves and each other forward.

View the WIDR Member Directory of ADR Practitioners.

Our Goals and Objectives:

  • to assess the status of women in Dispute Resolution professions and academia
  • to identify whether there are barriers that prevent women from full participation in Dispute Resolution professions
  • to determine whether women are considered for--and appointed to--all types, sizes, and complexities of cases
  • to develop positive and proactive initiatives to increase women's participation in the Dispute Resolution professions
  • to interact with women’s networking groups in the bar associations, trade organizations, and other related groups of professionals
  • to mentor women and other underrepresented Dispute Resolution professionals

Updates on Meetings & Projects


December 2017 Program - Peer-Nominated ADR Organizations

Guest Speakers: Joanne Barak, Vice-Chair of Membership Committee and Board Member of the College of Commercial Arbitrators, Harrie Samaras, International Association of Mediators, Ruth Glick, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and Gilda Turitz, National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals

November 2017 Program - Diversity and Transparency: Novel Concepts for International Arbitration.

Guest Speaker: Lucy Greenwood, International Arbitrator, Greenwood Arbitration

October 2017 Program - Tech Tools to Automate Your Business

Guest Speaker: Penny Bryant Catterall, Owner and Founder of Order Your Life, LLC

September 2017 Program - How Passion Built a Prosperous Mediation Niche

Guest Speaker: Debra Voda-Hamilton, Esq., Hamilton Law and Mediation, PLLC

June 2017 Program - Expanding the Lawyer's Toolbox: Structured Negotiation as a Winning Alternative to Lawsuits

Guest Speaker: Lainey Feingold, Esq.

May 2017 Program - Online Dispute Resolution

Guest Speaker: Colin Rule, Co-Founder and COO of Modria

April 2017 Program - Guided Choice

Guest Speakers: AAA Master Mediators Paul Lurie and Laura Kaster

Recording will be available soon!

March 2017 Program - EDiscovery

Guest Speaker: Allison Skinner

To download Allison's presentation, go to Newsletters and Publications on the right side of this page. --->

February 2017 Program - What It's Like to Be Part of an ADR Firm ***RESCHEDULED FROM OCTOBER 2016 DUE TO HURRICANE MATTHEW***

Guest Speakers: Michelle Jernigan and Kimberly Sands of Upchurch, Watson & Max

January 2017 Program - ADR & Online Marketing

Guest Speaker: Jeff Berman, Co-Founder and Director of Operations at AttorneySync

December 2016 Program - Social Media Strategy and Implementation

Guest Speakers: Nance L. Schick, Esq., WIDR Social Media Coordinator and Founder of The Law Studio of Nance L. Schick and Rachel Wynn, Founder and CEO of Startlight Social

November 2016 Program - AbitralWomen

Guest Speaker: Rashda Rana, President of ArbitralWomen

October 2016 Program - What It's Like to Be Part of an ADR Firm ***RESCHEDULED TO FEBRUARY 2017 DUE TO HURRICANE MATTHEW***

Guest Speakers: Michelle Jernigan and Kimberly Sands of Upchurch, Watson & Max

September 2016 Program - An Expert's View of Mediation and Arbitration

Guest Speaker: Denise Martini, Senior Managing Engineer in Exponent’s Construction Consulting practice

Listen to the September meeting and Denise Martini's presentation (this link will be available until October 8, 2016)

August 2016 Program – WIDR Business Meeting at ABA Annual Meeting

July 2016 Program - The Diver$ity Payoff & Tools to Become Diversity Champions

Guest Speaker: Sheryl L. Axelrod, Esq., Founder of The Axelrod Firm, P.C.

June 2016 Program - Building a Better Bio for Business Development

Guest Speaker: Traci Stuart, President of Blattel Communications

May 2016 Program - Co-Mediation Experiences and Recommendations

Guest Speakers: Jane Juliano, ADR Unit Chief at the US Office of Special Counsel, and Deirdre McCarthy Gallagher, President and Founder of Voices of Value, LLC

April 2016 Program – WIDR Business Meeting at Annual Spring Conference

March 2016 Program – Market Trends in ADR and Selection of Neutrals

Guest Speaker: India Johnson, President of American Arbitration Association

February 2016 Program – Gender Bias in Selection of ADR Professionals

Guest Speaker: Barbara Bryant, Mediator and Adjunct Professor, University of California, Berkeley Law School

January 2016 Program – Breathe Life Into Your Office With Products That Work

Guest Speaker: Kacy Paide, The Inspired Office

December 2015 Program – Clients’ Perspectives on Mediation

Guest Speakers: Katherine M. Kimpel, Esq., Executive Board Member and D.C. Managing Partner, and Kate Mueting, Esq., Partner and Senior Litigation Counsel, Sanford Heisler LLP

November 2015 Program – Building Common Ground to Reduce Grounds for Conflict

Guest Speaker: Michael Randel, Randel Consulting Associates

*Download Michael's Presentation*

Women in ADR: Practice Snapshot Survey Report

One of the goals of the WIDR Committee has been to change how neutral selection occurs in disputes, to increase the number of women who serve as neutrals, and to ensure that women and minorities were proportionally represented as neutrals. The first step, before suggesting changes, was to understand the current situation in the world of dispute resolution. In fall 2012, the Section of Dispute Resolution surveyed the lawyers belonging to the section to determine how mediators and arbitrators are selected in legal cases and the types of cases being resolved through the many available dispute resolution processes. Specifically, the survey was designed to examine who is being selected as a neutral, by whom, using what process, and for what types of cases. This report explains the methodology of the survey, the demographics of the respondents and neutrals involved in particular cases, and, most importantly, the information about neutral selection. Read the full report here.

Join Us



Turitz, Gilda
Weiner, Conna

Committee Roster  

Programs, Meetings and Events

Committee Events

Monthly Meeting from 12 PM to 1 PM Eastern

February 2, 2018
Ilene Butensky, JD, CO-OP will give an overview of what is and isn’t an Organizational Ombudsman, and how the role fits in a dispute resolution system. The session will also cover reasons for having a program, the primary characteristics, and how to become an Organizational Ombudsman.

U.S./Canada Dial-In Number: (866) 646-6488
Int'l/Local Dial-In Number: (707) 287-9583 Conference Line ACCESS CODE: 608 176 1650

Monthly Meeting from 12 PM to 1 PM Eastern

March 2, 2018
Anne Lawlor Goyette will speak about special masters.
Section Events

    Advanced Arbitration Series Webinar #4: Facing Challenging Hearing Management Issues and other Quagmires?


    Message from the panelists: Based on the premise that advocates and clients choose arbitration to obtain a fair, expeditious and efficient process to resolve the dispute, we will explore the flexibility that sometimes goes unused by arbitrators and advocates in the process. We will discuss ...

    Mid-Atlantic Chapter February Lunch Meeting

    American Bar Association

    A presentation by Gina Barbieri, a South African human rights lawyer and dispute resolution professional, who manages the office of the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman's (CAO) dispute resolution function. CAO mediates complex disputes between communities and the private sector across the globe, bringing ...

    Ethical Challenges in Supporting Client Independence and Autonomy


    Supporting a client's desire for independence and autonomy raises myriad ethical challenges when family members disagree or when there are serious questions about the clients' capacity. This session will apply the model rules to common scenarios to illustrate conflicts in determining who the client is, ...

Committee Reports

Other Links of Interest

Modified by Nance Schick on January 30, 2018

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