Friday, April 30, 2021

What's Up At Division 1 (No. 10)

Happy Law Day! Did you know that tomorrow, May 1st, is Law Day?  Do you know that Law Day was created by the American Bar Association? Well . . . it was.  Here is a brief history about Law Day:

In 1957, the ABA President envisioned a day to celebrate our legal system.  The next year, President Eisenhower established Law Day as a day of national dedication to the principles of government under law.  In 1961, Congress joined in the recognition of Law Day as May 1st.  The trend has spread throughout many countries since.  So, to my fellow D1 Friends, congratulations on being part of the legal system of the United States. I hope you find something rewarding and fun to do this weekend to celebrate!  

Speaking of fun, we had some fun in Division 1 in April 2021.  

Our toolbox talk series this month was led by Jen Millender and Bill Franczek.  They talked about virtual testimony particularly from the arbitrator's perspective.  Bill expressed that he finds virtual testimony to be productive.  He can see the facial expressions effectively -- sometimes better than if he were in a large conference rooms.  There was a discussion about using the record feature during virtual arbitrations and best practices to work with those and/or have them transcribed.  We discussed the AAA Rules as it relates to virtual testimony and inquired whether a task force about specific rules should be employed.  The 30-minute discussion (and, it was a true discussion amongst many attendees) flew by given our dynamic speakers and members.  Thanks Jen and Bill for putting together a great TTS.  

Earlier this year, in either late January or early February, I spoke with Nicky Steen about Division 1 and some ideas she had about programing.  We discussed a variety of programs, but she said she was particularly interested in doing a Privilege Walk program.  My first impression was that she wanted to do a survey of various evidentiary privileges, attorney-client, work product, common interest, etc., but then she clarified it wasn't that kind of privilege.  She expressed that a Privilege Walk is normally done in person whereby the attendees stand in a line at a common starting point.  Thereafter, the moderator reads a series of statements concerning "privileges" (racial, gender, socio-economic) and asks the attendees to take a step forward or a step backwards.  After the statements are read, the attendees can see where they are in reference to each other in terms of privilege.  Nicky did a virtual privilege walk for her firm earlier this year and suggested D1 would benefit from it.  It seemed like a perfect thing for us to do so we partnered up with the Forum's Diversity + Inclusion Committee, Division 13, and the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) as co-sponsors to conduct the program on April 29th.  Nicky and I were blessed with a fabulous planning team consisting of Jessica Sabbath, Lexie Pereira, MJ Torres-Martin, and Peter Hahn.  Our awesome ABA team members put together an amazing flyer and promoted the event in the Forum's emails and social media accounts.  

Yesterday, we held the privilege walk event.  We had 57+ people attend (with a lot of NAWIC members!).  We went through just under 50 statements and took a poll of where we ended up.  We then engaged in a 25-30 minute breakout-room discussions led by a great team of Forum volunteers.  The event was a true eye-opener for many attendees.  I was moved the experience and, more importantly, the constructive discussion we had afterwards.  Huge thanks to Nicky and our D1 team for putting this together!  I look forward to continuing the discussion in Division 1 and hope to continue our partnership with NAWIC (their members were great!).  

This blog also published two excellent articles on arbitration in April.  One was about international arbitration and the other was about the new AAA guidelines regarding discovery in the arbitration.  If you haven't read them, check them out at

Looking forward into May, please consider attending our monthly business meeting on May 10th and our Toolbox Talk Series on May 27th on discovery for delay claims.  If you want the login information for the monthly meeting, contact me or visit our ABA Connect page.  


I hope to see you at one of those meetings.  If you want to learn more about D1 or get involved, contact me and we can schedule a call. 

Tom Dunn, Chair Division 1 (Litigation & Dispute Resolution),

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