Can you guess which mediators are in the 5,000+ Club at WAMS? Only Harry Goldman and Larry Levy have mediated at least 5,000 cases during their careers. Both are still very busy and likely to be seen most days at WAMS, so please be sure to congratulate them when you next cross paths. It’s quite an accomplishment!
At the end of 2011, the WAMS staff celebrated the holidays by shopping to fulfill the needs of various local charities. Some of our favorite worthy causes in 2011 were:
- Mary’s Place Homeless Women’s Shelter, (www.churchofmarymagdalene.com)
- St. Charles Borromeo Community Food Bank, (www.stcharlesb.org)
- Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, (www.toysfortots.org)
- Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Foundation, (www.tpcba.org)
2011 marks the 30th anniversary for WAMS as well as a significant career milestone for Harry Goldman, Larry Levy and Bill Rush. WAMS honored them for their 25 years of service as WAMS Super Mediators at our Twelfth Night celebration in early January. Historically, Twelfth Night was an annual event in medieval Europe and colonial America that provided a catharsis of social tensions, frustrations and anxieties. Seems like a very appropriate day to honor these mediators who have done the same for 25 years. Congratulations!
Riveka Crooms, WAMS Compliance Manager, was recently awarded as one of Pierce County’s Adult Volunteers of the Year for her work in the youth diversion program in Juvenile Court. Congrats!
Bill Rush is taking his wife on a cruise to the Far East via the Suez Canal and Somali coast, hoping to avoid pirates along the way. Bon Voyage!
Kudos to Cliff Freed for providing pro bono mediation services in a church-employment matter. Everyone involved was very appreciative.
Thank you and well done Kathleen Wareham for serving on the 17th Annual NW Dispute Resolution Conference Committee, helping to line up sponsors, speakers and topics to make the conference a continuing success. The conference takes place on the first weekend in May each year at the University of Washington School of Law.
WAMS is delighted that Teresa Sidlowski has joined the organization to provide staffing support in the Tacoma office and bookkeeping help with the Lemon Law and other programs based in the Seattle office. Teresa has an extensive background in accounting, finance and office management, so WAMS is fortunate to have someone with her experience on a part-time basis.
In other news, WAMS mediator Bill Joyce recently contributed to a regional survey of mediators, attorneys and judges regarding confidentiality in the mediation process. The study was conducted by the Albers School of Business & Economics at Seattle University. The findings from that study were just published as “The Promise of Confidentiality in Mediation: Practitioners’ Perspectives” in The Journal of Dispute Resolution (Vol. 2009, No.1), a publication of the University of Missouri School of Law.
First, WAMS is supporting the American Cancer Society by sponsoring a Relay for Life Team at the Mt. Tahoma High School Relay for Life on June 12 and 13. Relay for Life is the world’s largest not-forprofit fundraising event. More that $2 billion has been raised since Relay was first held in 1985. This is a worldwide movement that takes place in 19 countries outside the United States. The American Cancer Society Relay for Life represents the hope that those lost to cancer will never be forgotten, that those who face cancer will be supported, and that one day cancer will be eliminated. For more information about this program, please visit www.RelayForLife.org.
Next, WAMS mediator John Cooper has recently been advised by the International Mediation Institute (IMI) in The Hague (Netherlands) that he has been added to its list of Certified Commercial Mediators. The IMI is an international collaboration of several ADR organizations around the world whose objective is to establish a panel of certified mediators for international commercial disputes. IMI’s website is found at http://www.imimediation.org.
WAMS House Counsel, Diane McGaha, recently attended an ADR conference in Perth, Australia, where she participated in a round-table discussion of marketing for new mediators. ADR in Australia is still a relatively new concept in some ways, but in the area of mediator certification, Australia is at the forefront of the industry. Legislation is pending that would establish national certification standards for mediators to ensure a minimum level of competency for anyone practicing as a mediator. Two of the most interesting growth areas for mediation in Australia involve disputes about aboriginal rights and business transition planning for family-owned wineries.
In other news, we are pleased to announce the addition of Melody Malloy to our Seattle staff. Melody joined us in March 2008 as a hearings assistant. She gave birth to a baby girl, Saige Christine (8 lbs. 9 oz.), on May 11, 2008.
Tamara Roberts, case administrator, gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Aaron Lee (6 lbs. 15 oz.) on November 21, 2007. Congratulations!
WAMS House Counsel Diane McGaha hadn’t been back to Brazil since 1974, so it was quite an adventure to return as part of a June 2007 risk assessment tour of a girls’ school sponsored by WAMS: Bahia Street (www.bahiastreet.org). The school was founded in Salvador, Bahia by University of Washington anthropology professor, Dr. Margaret Willson, after she had conducted a research study in the area. Through their mutual interest in Brazil, Diane and Margaret met several years ago and have worked together to further the mission of Bahia Street in a variety of ways. The Bahia Street trip provided an opportunity for Diane and other trip participants to visit the school, meet the students and gain a greater understanding of the challenges confronting everyone involved with this program in one of the poorest communities in the world. Despite erratic and limited funding, dysfunctional families who aren’t generally supportive of education for girls and facilities that can only be classified as “barely habitable” by American standards, the Bahia Street school is achieving remarkable results. Girls who might otherwise have no opportunity for an education, much less a professional career, are being educated through college and given a meaningful, self sufficient future. With the help of WAMS and other outside funding sources, the Bahia Street school is achieving success in educating young women that has thus far been elusive elsewhere in Brazil.
In other office news, WAMS is pleased to welcome Leona Shuler and Natalie Snyder to our staff.
Leona started at WAMS in June 2007 as an office manager/paralegal. She works primarily in the Seattle office, but helps in the Tacoma office when needed. Natalie joined us in October 2007 as a case administrator/paralegal in the Seattle office.
Michael Nigrey, Staff Attorney, left WAMS as of June 1 to accept an opportunity to join a litigation practice. Best wishes to Mike.
WAMS staffers Diane, Judy and Penny recently traveled to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi to lend their hands to the ongoing Hurricane Katrina recovery effort in the historic town of Bay St. Louis, which was devastated by the full force of the hurricane as it came on shore. In addition to utilizing their cooking, painting, caulking, yard work and listening skills, the WAMS team helped the volunteer group develop an administrative structure and conflict resolution process that will enable the leaders to better manage the allocation of their resources and responsibilities. There is still an overwhelming amount of rebuilding to be done, and volunteer groups are accounting for a significant portion of the progress being made. WAMS will stay involved with this venture and encourages other employees and interested friends to participate in this challenging and rewarding project. For more information about how to help with a donation of time or money, contact Diane McGaha at WAMS (firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-467-0793).