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 2018 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


June 2018 Program - Staying Neutral in a Biased World, Implicit Bias Through the Lens of Neuroscience

Guest Speaker: Jill S. Tanz presented on implicit biases and what neuroscience teaches us about it, as well as becoming aware of how to counter one's own implicit biases in a neutral role.

May 2018 Program - Pre-Litigation Mediation in Health Care

Guest Speaker: Haavi Morreim, JD, PhD, provided an overview of mediating cases ranging from disputed treatment decisions, to discharge planning, to tensions within healthcare teams, to ongoing conflicts between administration and medical staff, and beyond.

March 2018 Program - Special Masters: Resolving Complex, Costly Litigation

Guest Speaker: Anne Lawlor Goyette explained the origins, unique features, and current operations and uses of special master programs to resolve complex, multi-party cases.

February 2018 Program - Organizational Ombudsman Programs

Guest Speaker: Ilene Butensky, JD, CO-OP gave an overview of what is and isn’t an Organizational Ombudsman, and how the role fits in a dispute resolution system. The session covered reasons for having a program, the primary characteristics, and how to become an Organizational Ombudsman.

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



Beyers, Maureen
Nolan, Patricia

Committee Roster  

Committee Reports

Modified by on October 19, 2018

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