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Connecting the Dots: A gathering of Florida’s ADR lawyers, professors, and law students

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Connecting the Dots: A gathering of Florida’s ADR lawyers, professors, and law students

The Alternative Dispute Resolution Section’s Law School Liaison Committee recently launched a project designed to convene conversations between ADR professionals and Florida law schools.

Kim Torres, immediate past section chair, initiated the concept to foster ADR initiatives, create mentoring pathways for section members and law students, boost the conversation about all things ADR, and promote ADR Section membership.

Ana Cristina Maldonado

Ana Cristina Maldonado

Under the leadership of Law School Liaison Committee Chair Ana Cristina Maldonado, the first World Café-style gathering took place February 24 via Zoom. Committee members Torres, Oscar Sanchez, Fran Tetunic, John Salmon, Christy Foley, Hadas Stagman, Patrick Russell, and Shari Elessar reached out to the law schools in anticipation of the event, titled “Connecting the Dots: A Gathering of Florida’s ADR Lawyers, Professors and Law Students.” More than 60 people signed in during the evening, including professors and students from 10 of Florida’s 12 law schools and many ADR Section Executive Council and committee members.

“Our goal was to create a Florida-wide ADR network by connecting law school ADR professors, law students, and ADR practitioners,” said Maldonado. “We are blown away by the enthusiasm of the group and the potential for it to grow into a tremendous resource for the ADR community.”

The evening began with introductions and then transitioned into nine breakout rooms to foster interaction and encourage networking. The round one question was, “What are you working on that is ADR-related that you are excited about?” Participants logged their answers and ideas in a shared Google Doc and reconvened to report their answers. The round two breakout rooms joined together different groups of participants tasked with answering two questions, “What can the ADR Section — and this group — do for law schools and students?” and “What do you envision for the future of this group?” After bringing everyone back together to discuss the findings, graphic recording artist Viola Clark revealed a visual narrative of the evening’s discoveries.

Maldonado said she chose the World Café format for “Connecting the Dots” because of its ability to allow for conversations while capturing the collective wisdom of all the participants.

“A tremendous amount of energy is created when you combine students who are new, motivated, and hungry for mentorship; people in the middle who are doing the hustle and balancing life and work and climbing the hill; and elder statesmen and women with all their experience to impart,” said Maldonado. “The ADR Section is a perfect host for these conversations to incubate connections and innovations and help envision the future of ADR in our state.”

Plans are in the works to convene future conversations between the section, experienced practitioners, and law schools. If you are interested in participating at any level in the “Connecting the Dots” project, contact Maldonado at [email protected].

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