Monday, January 25, 2021

New MDFL Local Rules Take Effect 2/1/21

After careful deliberation and based on the Lawyer Advisory Committee's report and the public comments, the Board of Judges recently approved revisions to the Middle District of Florida's Local Rules. The revised Local Rules become effective February 1, 2021. Stated goals for this revision are to: modernize and simplify; accommodate changes in national and local practice; eliminate overlap with federal rules and statutes; eliminate references to specific federal rules and statutes; address re-occurring complaints and issues; and accord with best practices. In regard to mediation, Chapter Four of the new rules specifies that:  To refer an action or claim to mediation, the judge must enter an order that: (a) designates the mediator or directs the parties to select a mediator and to notify the judge of the selection;(b ) establishes a mediation deadline; (c) requires a lawyer to confirm a mediation date agreeable to the mediator and the parties and to notify the judge of the date; (d) requires the attendance of lead counsel, the parties or a party’s surrogate satisfactory to the mediator, and any necessary insurance carrier representative;(e) notifies the parties that unexcused absence or departure from mediation is sanctionable; (f) requires the mediator to report within seven days after mediation the result of the mediation and whether all required persons attended; and (g) directs that the substance of the mediation is confidential and that no party, lawyer, or other participant is bound by, may record, or without the judge’s approval may disclose any event, including any statement confirming or denying a fact — except settlement — that occurs during the mediation. See more here-

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Happy Zoom Year! Join Us 1/22/21!

Please join us later this month for the first program of our webinar series this year in conjunction with the University of Florida Institute for Dispute Resolution. Along with my longtime colleague and fellow mediator and arbitrator at our mediation firm, Michelle Jernigan, I'll go through current dispute resolution options in Florida as reopening of the courts remains uncertain until Covid-19 no longer presents a significant risk to public health and safety. Meanwhile, mediation, arbitration, nonbinding arbitration and early neutral evaluation are proving to be as effective online as they were in person. Which means of resolution fits the particular fuss? We'll discuss the features of each form of ADR. Join us for this free Webinar, scheduled for Noon on Friday, January 22, 2021, and you'll be eligible for one general CLE credit from The Florida Bar and self-reported CME to the Dispute Resolution Center. Please register here today--