Justice Marie L. Garibaldi American Inn of Court for Alternative Dispute Resolution

In April 23, the Justice Marie L. Garibaldi American Inn of Court for Alternative Dispute Resolution in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, successfully held its inaugural virtual Inn meeting. Nearly two-thirds of the members were able to attend, along with Ernest Barrens, the American Inns of Court director of chapter relations for the Northeast Region. The meeting began with an abbreviated virtual meet-and-greet session, mimicking the Inn’s traditional in-person pre-meeting cocktail happy hour. After announcements, the formal meeting opened with a brief presentation from Matthew E. Draper, Esquire, treasurer of the New York branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, who gave an overview of his organization and some of its programs. The panel program, which was moderated by Inn and Programming Committee member Lisa D. Love, Esquire, featured Inn Member Jennifer L. Brandt, Esquire; Rekha Rangachari, Esquire, executive director of the New York International Arbitration Center; and Salman Ravala, Esquire, an accomplished international advocate from New York.

The attendees were engaged, and the panelists entertained questions throughout. Thankfully, there were also no ostensible technical glitches. (In preparation for the meeting, several weeks in advance, the Inn encouraged members to attend any one of several test sessions of the platform, allowing members to connect, work out any technical audio and video set-up issues, and ask questions about the software’s capabilities.) The next Inn meeting will also be delivered via Zoom.

In January, the Inn held a historic joint meeting with the Justice Stewart G. Pollock Environmental American Inn of Court in North/Central New Jersey, combining environmental law and justice with the principles of mediation. The event was spearheaded by Sheryl Mintz Goski, Esquire, of the Garibaldi Inn, and Vanessa Day, Esquire, of the Pollock Inn, who established a dedicated joint planning committee of members from both Inns.

After a networking cocktail reception, there was an evening program over dinner. The program began with brief welcoming remarks from the two Inn Presidents—Theo Cheng, Esquire, and Stefanie A. Brand, Esquire—followed by a short presentation on the important work of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Dispute Resolution. The presentation was given by Linda L. Taylor, who has been with the department for over 30 years and currently serves as the head of that office.

The joint planning committee had assembled an intricate and realistic hypothetical fact pattern involving a contaminated property needing remediation that had passed through several different owners. The committee also drafted confidential information for some of the relevant parties and provided a helpful glossary of terms commonly used in environmental statutes. The meeting attendees then worked in small groups to discuss the issues raised by the facts and attempted to mediate a resolution amongst the various stakeholders and constituencies. During the post-mediation reporting, it was apparent that a variety of different approaches and outcomes had developed out of the interactive exercise. The successful joint meeting helped promote civility, excellence, and professionalism between the two Inn organizations.

Photo: Some of the members of the joint planning committee from the Garibaldi and Pollock Inns at the January meeting. Left to right are Marty M. Judge, Esq.; Linda L. Taylor; Robert E. Margulies, Esq.; Tirza S. Wahrman, Esq.; Sheryl Mintz Goski, Esq.; and Vanessa Day, Esq.