The Indianapolis Bar Association’s ADR Section and the Bar’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono jointly hosted their first annual Mediation Day on August 3, 2010 at Baker & Daniels downtown Indianapolis office. The purpose of the Mediation Day was to provide a service to the Marion Circuit Court and community by volunteering time to mediate several screened cases for litigants who qualify for modest means mediation.
“We truly believe that this joint collaboration between the ADR Section and Pro Bono Committee is a win-win for all involved. It allows the litigants to resolve difficult and emotional issues surrounding their children effectively and economically in a manner in which they can problem solve in a safe environment and control the outcome of their case,” said Jill Goldenberg-Schuman, ADR Section Chair and partner at Cohen Garelick & Glazier.
Attorney volunteer mediators waived their normal $100.00 per hour fee for modest means mediations. The litigants paid his or her share proportionate share of the modest mean rate based on a sliding scale and the dollars earned were donated to the Indianapolis Bar Foundation. Commissioner Sheryl Lynch in Paternity Court screened non domestic violence cases for inclusion in the project.
“It is a win for the Paternity Court as we can help alleviate the heavy demand in their court due to its high volume case load and at least try to settle some difficult cases. It is a win for the law firms and its staff who house the program as they can provide a great service simply by donating space and time and their staff have the ability to participate/volunteer in something they might not otherwise have had the opportunity, “ Goldenberg-Schuman added. “Finally, the mediators win because not only do we have a chance to help out the litigants and give back to our community and court systems, but it allows the mediators an additional chance to hone their skills.”
To speed the process a pro tem judge was on site to approve mediated agreements in the ten cases set for mediation that day. Staff members from Baker & Daniels assisted with copying and clerical support.•