Wednesday, July 29, 2020

What's Up with Division 1 (No. 1 | July 2020)!

I hope you all are enjoying your summer so far and staying healthy and safe.  In this message, I want to announce a couple of changes with Division 1 (Litigation & Dispute Resolution) and some upcoming events / ideas.

Announcements New Division 1 Leadership

Division 1's Liaison to Special Programs and Education Committee (SPEC).  

After many years of dedicated service on serving as our liaison, Anthony Osborn, Gehling Osborn Law Firm, PLC, is stepping down as our SPEC liaison. Thank you Anthony for all your years of service in this role and for your future involvement in other Division 1 activities!

Longtime Division 1 member, George Fink, BRG, is stepping into this role.  George is energetic about getting involved in this committee.  We look forward to your ideas and feedback on how Division 1 can greater contribute to the SPEC Committee.

Division 1's Liaison to Diversity and Inclusion Committee.  

Kelsey Funes, Phelps, a Division 1 Steering Committee Member, has become an at-large member of the D&I Committee.  In her role as Division 1's liaison, Kelsey has been a leader on numerous initiatives including but not limited to planning numerous D&I breakfasts at the national meetings.

I am excited to announce that Jessica Sabbath, King & Spalding, has agreed to take-on the liaison role to the D&I committee. Nick Holmes, a past chair of Division 1, is the Chair of that Committee and we wanted to send one of our best new, active members to help him.  Good luck and thank you Jessica!

Division 1's Liaison to Technology Committee 

Like Kelsey, Katie Kohm, Pierce Atwood LLP, has served as the Technology Liaison for many years.  In that role, Katie has taken on almost every initiative and become the technology specialist and go-to Forum volunteer because of her skill and commitment.  Most recently, Katie is the volunteer in charge of coordinating updates to ABA Connect -- which is a very important role given that is our means to communicate with each other.  Katie has been appointed as an at-large member of the Technology Committee.

Brett Henson, Shumaker, has agreed to jump into this role.  Brett is very active in the Florida Bar construction litigation section.  I am confident that he will bring fresh ideas and perspective into Division 1 from his experience working with that group.  With COVID, the Technology Committee has increased importance to find new and creative ways to reach and collaborate with Division 1 members. Thanks Brett for taking this on.  I look forward to working with you.

Upcoming Programs and Ideas

Division 1 has started a few working groups to find ways to foster communications and sharing of information with each other during this period.  Some of them are highlighted below:

  • Division 1 ADR Neutral Feature Series.  We are the litigation and dispute resolution division of the Forum.  Our members regularly serve as arbitrators, mediators, and other neutrals to resolve disputes.  To promote and educate our membership about our talented neutrals, we decided to start a series on The Dispute Resolver blog to feature our Division 1 Neutrals.  The first of those features will be published next month.  
  • Law School Outreach Program.  We are in the planning stages of putting on a Division 1 / Forum law school outreach program to provide an overview of construction law and ADR to law students.  We are communicating with the Membership Committee and Forum leadership to get this scheduled for mid to late September.  There will be a panel followed by a brief networking session.  If you are interested in helping out with this program, please contact me (  
  • Distance Learning CLEs.  Our steering committee member, Rob Ruesch, Verrill, heads up the Forum's distance learning CLEs / webinars. There will be in increased focus with webinars in the coming months and we want to help Rob's team out as much as possible. Bill Shaughnessy, Jones Walker, and George Fink are going to lead up our team to help generate CLE content for distance learning in the coming months. If you have ideas or would like to be involved in this group, contact me, Bill, or George.  
We have other ideas that we are in the early implementation stages such as scheduling a series of discussion / round-table series on a variety of topics.  

Big thanks to Lexie Pereira who was instrumental in helping me and Division 1 get the ADR Neutral Series and Law School Outreach program off the ground.  Lexie is a law student at Boston College Law and a contributor to The Dispute Resolver blog.  

As you can see, Division 1 has room for many to contribute.  We invite your ideas -- especially those that are creative and embrace how we can help each other with our practices during the COVID era.  Reach out to me and any other Division 1 Steering Committee Member.  

Make sure to join us on D1's ABA Connect Page and follow our blog - The Dispute Resolver!  

On a personal note, since March, my daughter demanded a new pet.  In fact, she wanted a pet ferret!!!  After many, many, many discussions about it, we decided to add a third cat to our family.  Here are two photos of pumpkin!  A kitten has to make you smile and read this post, right! 

Pumpkin visiting me at my home office desk.
Pumkin likes playing in dirt. Here he is our pepper plant.  We had to take all of these outside :)

I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer!  I look forward to hearing from you!

Tom Dunn
Incoming Division 1 Chair
Pierce Atwood LLP
401-490-3418 (d)
508-838-9779 (m)

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