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July 2, 2007
Contact: David Madden (415) 355-8930
Ninth Circuit to Present Awards for
Achievements in Alternative Dispute Resolution
SAN FRANCISCO – Individual and institutional achievements in the field of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) will be recognized with awards at this month’s 2007 Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Attorney Susan M. Doherty, ADR program coordinator for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California, has been selected to receive the 2007 Robert F. Peckham Award for Excellence in Alternative Dispute Resolution. The award recognizes judicial employees who have significantly advanced the delivery of effective court-based ADR programs in the circuit.
Also to be honored is the University of California Hastings’ College of the Law, selected to receive the Ninth Circuit ADR Education Award recognizing a law school that has significantly advanced ADR scholarship and research.
Senior Circuit Judge Dorothy W. Nelson, chair of the Ninth Circuit's Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, will present the awards to Ms. Doherty and Professor Chris Knowlton, director of Hastings’ Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution, on July 16 during the conference’s opening session at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel.
Ms. Doherty is in her second stint as ADR program coordinator for the Central District bankruptcy court, which serves Los Angeles and six adjoining counties. More than 150 certified attorneys, many of them bilingual, currently serve on the court’s Bankruptcy Mediation Program Panel, helping litigants resolve their disputes more promptly, at less cost, and without the stress and pressure of litigation. Ms. Doherty helped start the program in 1994 after being hired as a career law clerk for Bankruptcy Judge Barry Russell, and served as program coordinator until taking a leave of absence in 1999. She returned to the court in 2004, resuming her positions with Judge Russell and the mediation program.
Ms. Doherty received her undergraduate degree in 1974 from Brown University and her J.D. in 1984 from the University of Southern California Law School. She was a law clerk for Judge Russell from 1984 to 1986. She also has experience in private practice and with the Office of the U.S. Trustee, practicing before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
“Susan is very deserving of this honor. Her hard work and organizational skills have contributed greatly to the growth and success of the court’s mediation program,” Judge Nelson said of the 2007 Peckham Award winner.
Hastings’ Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution, established in 2003, has grown into one of the largest ADR education programs in the country, providing elective course selections for more than 450 students each year. The center includes a mediation clinic in which students participate in an intensive academic seminar on mediation, then serve as mediators in small claims court and for the City and County of San Francisco's Equal Employment Opportunity division. Students can gain additional practical experience on the negotiation and mediation teams that compete in bar and university-sponsored competitions, nationally and internationally.
“Hastings’ has rapidly become an academic leader in the ADR field. The knowledge and opportunities for experience available to its student are exceptional,” Judge Nelson observed.
The Peckham and ADR Education awards were established in 2001 and 2005, respectively, by the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit, governing body of the federal courts in nine western states and two Pacific Island jurisdictions. The Peckham Award is named for the late Judge Peckham, a former chief district judge of the Northern District of California, who helped pioneer use of legal means other than court trials to resolve disputes.
The Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference meets pursuant to Section 333 of Title 28 of the United States Code for "the purpose of considering the business of the courts and advising means of improving the administration of justice within such circuit." The circuit consists of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the district and bankruptcy courts and related court units in nine western states and two Pacific Island jurisdictions.
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