Lawyers working in the field of alternative dispute resolution may wonder: How is the role of counsel in alternative dispute resolution different from the role of counsel in litigation? What is appropriate advocacy at mediation? What conflicts or potential conflicts exist for lawyers who act as mediators in alternative dispute resolution?
In 2000 an ADR Working Group was created under the umbrella of the Law Society Access to Justice Committee to examine the Legal Profession Act, Law Society Rules and Professional Conduct Handbook and answer the overarching question: Is there adequate guidance for lawyers when acting as counsel to parties or when acting as ADR neutrals?
During the year, one key initiative of the Working Group was to invite several prominent ADR lawyers — Jane Morley, Q.C. of Victoria, Ron Smith of Kelowna and Joyce Bradley of Vancouver — to author a series of articles, both to educate on current ADR issues and to provoke discussion among lawyers. The Law Society thanks these lawyers for sharing their valuable insights and experience.
Another initiative was to host focus group discussions last Spring to consult with lawyers on what is and is not working well for them in ADR, and on what new rules or rule changes might be needed to support the integrity of the system.
A report from the Working Group is expected in 2001.