ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION - Hon. Diane M. Strickland (Retired)

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Hon. Diane M. Strickland (Retired)
The McCammon Group

Title: Mediator/retired circuit judge
Birthplace: Summit, N.J.
Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of North Carolina; law degree, University of Virginia
Current professional activities:  Mediator, chair of the Boyd Graves Conference; Fellows Council Virginia Law Foundation; master of the bench emeritus, The Ted Dalton Inn of Court
Family: Married for 40 years to Art Strickland, an attorney; children:  Nicole, 30; Danielle, 28; and Ryan, 26
Hobbies: Reading, working out, gardening, and serving on boards
Previous employer: Commonwealth of Virginia
Fan of:  AHALA Children’s Rights Foundation
Favorite vacation spot: “Visiting our daughter in Mexico”
Recently read: “Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
Mentors: “My parents who instilled a work ethic, my husband who insisted that I join him in law school, my ministers who have nurtured me spiritually and my children who teach me all the important lessons in life.”

What does your day-to-day workload consist of?
“Every day is different. Some days are occupied by conference calls, reading pleadings, depositions, contracts, business or medical records in preparation for mediations.  Other days are spent actively mediating cases, where my role is to afford the parties and counsel an opportunity to be heard, to ask questions to clarify positions and to facilitate a resolution.  I also devote time to serving on the boards of several nonprofit organizations and to coordinating the work of AHALA Children’s Rights Foundation.”

Why did you decide to specialize in ADR? “One of my primary motivations for becoming a judge was to provide service to people addressing legal problems.  Becoming a mediator was a natural progression, offering a more effective, hands-on way to assist.  I enjoy working with counsel and parties to help them devise their own solutions to their disputes.  I receive far greater satisfaction assisting parties to create their own accord than I did decreeing a resolution from the bench.  Mediation is a kinder, gentler, more effective world.”

Are you seeing an increased interest in ADR?  “Most definitely.  Parties and counsel realize that mediation avoids the delays, expenses and stresses of litigation.  Statistics from the Virginia Supreme Court reflect a continuous decline in the number of civil jury trials over the past decade. By contrast, the number of mediations in the Commonwealth is steadily and dramatically increasing.  The ever-growing number of judges and attorneys entering the mediation field attests to the increased interest and use of Alternative Dispute Resolution processes.”

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