Minutes May 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011, at 2:00 p.m.
2nd Floor Conference Rood
South Carolina Bar Building
950 Taylor Street
Columbia, SC 29201

The Council met at the date, time and place indicated above.

Members Participating:
James L. Bell, Chairperson-Elect
Robert Hassold Jr. (By Telephone)
Sean F. Keefer (By Telephone)
Thornwell Sowell III (By Telephone)

Joan S. Brown, Bar Staff
Call to Order, Roll Call and Welcome: Mr. Bell, on behalf of Mr. Griffith, called the meeting to order and welcomed those participating.

Approval of Prior Minutes:  The Section Council received the Minutes of the December 10, 2010, and March 25, 2011, meetings and adopted them by motion, second and unanimous vote.

Reports/Old Business:
a. ADR Commission Update: 
There was no report since the Commission had not met subsequent to the last Council meeting.

b. DR Section’s Web Page Update: Mr. Hassold reported the addition of a picture to the site and praised the “What’s New” section at the top of the Web page. He reported that he was working on updating the “About the Section” portion of the page and would submit it to the Council for review very soon. There was a decision made to collect general mediation forms and place a link to them on the Web page. This would be in addition to the link to the forms provided in the Appellate Court Rules.

c. Sea Island Mediation Network Donation: There was no report on this issue. Following discussion of the need to get the $1,600 allocated to the proper use, Mr. Bell stated that he would contact R. Nicholas Felix, Esq., for ideas on where best to allocate the funds and report the recommendation at the next meeting. It was suggested that a training would be the best use of the funds, possibly one concerning the use of mediation in DSS cases, especially in small domestic abuse cases. Ms. Brown reported that the ADR Commission had been exploring the issue of mediation in DSS cases and that there was currently a measure pending before the Supreme Court on that topic. Mr. Bell was to contact William L. Howard Sr., Chair of the ADR Commission, to discuss the matter further.

d. The C. C. “Cotton” Harness III Peace Award: The Council discussed whether to bestow the award to one or more individuals, mentioning James C. Sarratt and Mary L. Bryan as two possible recipients. Mr. Bell agreed to form a committee to decide this year’s award recipient.

e. 2011-2012 Goals: The Council carefully reviewed the attached goals for the 2011-2012 year. They were approved as written and several projects commenced.

i. Item 2(d): Mr. Keefer agreed to call Roland Franklin to request that he work with him on an article for the South Carolina Lawyer magazine on collaborative law to include civil as well as family law. It would be headlined as a multi-practice approach. Mr. Keefer anticipated that the article would be in final form in one month. Mr. Bell was to appoint an editorial board, and Mr. Keefer agreed to serve as the head of the board. Ms. Brown was to request volunteers from the full Council to sit on the board.

ii. Item 2(e): Mr. Hassold and Mr. Sowell had both recently given speeches on ADR. It was decided that the Council would work with the CLE Division to coordinate more seminars with ADR components.

The Council also discussed creating a training group tentatively called the South Carolina Institute on Dispute Resolution. A committee was formed to draft bylaws headed by Mr. Bell, who would talk to Judge Howard for ideas, and comprised of Council members, Mr. Hassold and Mr. Keefer. Other non-council members were also mentioned as possible participants. Ms. Brown informed the Council that this matter would have to be brought before the Board of Governors of the South Carolina Bar. The goal was a rollout by fall. The committee would talk to both law schools for ideas and assistance. Information on the training group would be added to the Section’s Web page.

iii. Item 2(f): Collaborative law was mentioned as a new and innovative ADR trend. Mr. Keefer reported that he promoted collaborative law on Twitter, giving daily tweets on ADR.

iv. Item 6: Mr. Sowell was to work on compiling rules, statutes and regulations that incorporate or affect ADR for posting on the Section’s Web page.

B. New Business:  
a. Rule for Payment of Mediators:
The Council members discussed this matter at length, remarking that many lawyers do not take the obligation to pay mediators seriously enough and do not care whether the mediators are paid or not. Remedies suggested were including strong language in the mediation agreements regarding payment and fee shifting. Mr. Hassold reported that he had a dun letter that worked well for him and added that he would email it to Ms. Brown to distribute to the Council members.

b. Discussed was the possibility of inviting a professor from both South Carolina law schools to sit, ex officio, on the Council.

Adjournment: There being no further business, Mr. Bell adjourned the meeting.

Next Meeting: Mr. Bell scheduled the next meeting for 2:00 p.m. on June 24, 2011.