Article, Utah State Bar Members Step Up To Help South African Judiciary, 0620 UTBJ, Vol. 33, No. 3. 51

AuthorBy Nathan D. Alder
PositionVol. 33 3 Pg. 51

Article, Utah State Bar Members Step Up To Help South African Judiciary

Vol. 33 No. 3 Pg. 51

Utah Bar Journal

June, 2020

May, 2020

By Nathan D. Alder

I received a call from Judge Ben Hadfield (ret.) late one Sunday afternoon. He called to see if I knew of any way to create a training opportunity for five judges interested in mediation. The state court training had only two open spots, but he needed five. Wow. What were we going to do?

Mind you, Judge Hadfield was not calling to see how he and four of his Utah judicial colleagues could be trained as mediators. Months before the pandemic and ensuing crisis, which of course would have foreclosed any thought about such a thing happening in the near future, he was seeking the opportunity for South African judges. The notion of judges traveling across the globe to be trained in Salt Lake City to help launch their own country’s court-annexed alternative dispute resolution program started to set in. Wow, was right. What an opportunity for us, as Utah practitioners, to give and share our knowledge and experience with people from another country. At the same time, what an incredible chance for us to learn from them.

I never doubted we could do this, even with the limited amount of time to organize it. The Utah mediation community is cohesive, caring, and rich with talent, good will, and volunteers. I knew that within just a few phone calls Judge Hadfield would be off and running and would be able to report back to his colleagues in South Africa that a training itinerary was taking shape and that they should buy plane tickets. Within a few days our core group had assembled – Professor Jim Holbrook at the S.J. Quinney College of Law (U of U), Professor Ben Cook at the J. Reuben Clark Law School (BYU), Steve Kelson (a mediator and leader in both the Utah State Bar’s Dispute Resolution Section and the Utah Council on Conflict Resolution), Judge Hadfield, and myself. Within the next few weeks, we had secured a location (BYU Salt Lake Center) through the good offices of BYU Law Dean Gordon Smith, two receptions (one at each law school), and visits at both federal and state courts, and we had started to build a training schedule with calls to interested volunteers. As expected, no one turned us down. What amazed me was to learn that a local charity, the Wagner Foundation, was willing to help underwrite some of our costs to put on the training...

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