Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Multnomah County eCourt Transition Attorney-Assisted Mediation Program

A big shout out to our Multnomah County Circuit Court volunteer attorney-assisted mediators, Julia Hagan, Saville Easley, Bill Howe, and Craig Cowley for their participation in and commitment to the success of the Multnomah County eCourt transition Attorney-assisted Mediation Program. This spring, in preparation for Multnomah County Circuit Court’s eCourt filing transition, several of our family law attorneys partnered with Multnomah County as volunteer trial assignment mediators. The transition to eCourt required extensive staff training sessions which reduced the number of slots available on the trial assignment docket. The goal of this temporary program was to reduce the number of matters actually needing judge time by triaging cases on the docket and requiring participation in attorney-mediated discussions.

Parties to divorces, custody actions, or support modifications who are unable to settle their dispute and have come to the end of the legal action are typically scheduled to be assigned to a judge for trial. Instead, during this 10 week experimental program, they were diverted to meet first with an assigned neutral attorney-mediator. In each case, the parties met at the courthouse at the scheduled time with the attorney-mediator. The attorney-mediator  listened to each side, provided them with information, and offered them guidance toward reaching an agreement. Not every case settled using the attorney-mediator but most did, making the program very efficient. Thank you to everyone who helped make this program a success.

To the Multnomah County Court Staff — A special thank you for your hard work and dedication implementing our new eCourt system. Your efforts make a big difference in our legal community. Thank you for your time and energy this year to get the new system in place. We truly appreciate you!