Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution

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[edit] General Information

  • Official name: Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution
  • Country: USA
  • City: Odenton
  • Type of organization: non-profit organization
  • Date of creation: 1991
  • Interests: Mediation
  • Fields of expertise: Communication & Promotion

[edit] Description

“In the late 1980's a group of practitioners met and began to organize. The early focus, and virtually all our energy was devoted to getting started.

We talked about the needs of professionals in Maryland, but we didn't have any specific, defined purpose that propelled us forward. In fact some of our deeply held values held us back. We were inclusive, so we became very heterogeneous. We valued participation and consensus decision-making which created burdens as the organization was trying to form. Because of the need for consensus, coupled with a fluid membership, it was hard to choose leaders.

In 1991, we organized a large successful conference for practitioners that was held at Howard County Community College. Over 120 persons attended.

During that period we made the decision not to become a SPIDR (Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution) chapter. In the late 80's SPIDR's early members were focused on labor relations. It didn't seem like a good fit for the needs of Maryland.

Still there was so much to be done in Maryland. Maryland was well behind many States in both breadth and depth of ADR applications. There were questions about prospective court rules and other regulatory issues. ADR was just beginning to appear on the scene in Maryland.

The organization fell into a state of dormancy until the early '90s when it was resurrected from its own ashes. A group of mediators held a meeting, initially in order to develop a consensus on how mediation was progressing in the various court systems in Maryland. Other non-court mediators asked if they could attend and we began anew.

Initially, we held meetings four or five times a year, largely for peer support and to do some informal in-service training. We met frequently in Columbia since it was centrally located, and had, at the time, a free facility. As interest grew, we progressed more formally, nominating and collecting officers. We selected our name (originally the Maryland Committee on Dispute Resolution) to indicate our openness to all people interested in all types of dispute resolution. We operated largely on a consensus basis.

As we were growing, so was the court's interest in mediation and the need of the court to establish standards for court mediators. In the mid '90s, we received word that the Rules Committee of the Circuit Courts of Maryland were proposing changes to the rules (S73A - originally established in 1991) concerning court mediators. These proposed changes concerned us.

We were determined to have an impact on the decisions made by the Court of Appeals, and as a group invested much time, energy and skill into educating, lobbying and testifying before the court of appeals. Not only were we successful in containing the approach by the court, we also became a cohesive and more tightly focused organization.

The Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution (MCDR) is a vibrant 501(c)(3) organization, which has been in operation for more than a decade. It is devoted to the personal and professional growth of dispute resolution practitioners in the State of Maryland. MCDR is a prime vehicle for mediator certification and networking. It serves as an ADR professional development organization and its executive board is comprised of a diverse group of professionals with a vital thread - a genuine commitment to alternative dispute resolution and conflict management. Members are from the private sector, federal, state and local government.

Today, MCDR enjoys significant ADR partnerships across the State of Maryland, as well as within the general Washington DC Metropolitan Area. It is well known for its collaborative efforts with the Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office (MACRO), and the Maryland Association for Community Mediation Centers (MACMC). The organization continues to promote the use of ADR in communities, the workplace, courts, schools, etc.

MCDR serves as the preeminent alternative dispute resolution organization within the State of Maryland. It's continual outreach can be confirmed by the over 298 members and "Friends of MCDR" listing.

Today, the organization has a voluntary certification procedure, provides excellent programs which offer subject matter experts, and is a significant information resource for Confidentially in ADR, Mediator Quality Assurance and Training.”

[edit] Mission

“MCDR promotes and expands the use of the high quality Appropriate Dispute Resolution statewide by:

  • Promoting ADR and consumer education/marketing
  • Setting standards of practice and certification of members.
  • Strengthening education/skills of practitioners
  • Eliciting commitment of practitioners to the field
  • Being a resource to practitioners and community (support and nurture)”

[edit] Vision

“MCDR will change the way disputes are resolved in Maryland. Our vision is a Maryland where all individuals use cooperative, non-adversarial approaches to resolve their disputes, a Maryland where cooperative, non-adversarial approaches to resolve conflict will be the first resort, not the last”.

[edit] Goals

“MCDR helps practitioners grapple successfully with three seemingly disparate aspects of individual development: business, spiritual, professional:

  • Develop funding sources, dues statewide that will allow us to hire an Exec. Director


  • Develop workshop and other educational methods designed to help practitioners become aware of their own strength and weaknesses, & develop skills;
  • Expand membership by 100% and involve new and inactive people by linking them with tasks they are able and willing to do;
  • Develop web-site with directory, users guide, etc.;
  • Obtain participation and involvement by non-mediators;
  • Create tv commercial to be shown (‘PSA’);
  • Create a high visibility practitioner conference - to increase membership and practitioners education - First Annual¼;
  • Do educational piece at State Bar annual meeting;
  • Have regular and dependable quarterly meeting on topics of interest;
  • Have small group discussions about subjects that are provocative and ‘taboo’;
  • Establish speakers bureau;
  • Do specific outreach with people who in a position to refer;
  • Create information and referral service;
  • Provide liability insurance for members.”

[edit] Contact

8288 Telegraph Rd., Suite A, Odenton, MD 21113 - USA

Tel: 301-929-5252


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