PBCBA BAR BULLETINS JUNE 2020 BULLETIN - Page 9

e Severe Lack of Diversity urges firms to actively ates for at least thirty ees. o the Rooney Rule in res any team with a interview at least one le these are admirable ary and very little has e made it difficult iator candidates to pprentice mediations ion. They argue that ates are not qualified, s liability exposure lawyers. Nonsense, e covers any errors eme Court considered changing the rules. argue that there are ow can that be when s approximately 21.5 e only five thousand ategories of Certified ey really should be excessive number of e there are too many . Perhaps it should these firms to mentor ediator candidates of ain in good standing The lack of diversity diverse the pool, the r new ideas, growth, can be used to push sing a diverse list of ors. gul and rapper, JayZ $204 million-dollar ced there were few bitrators for him to d to the court, which of African American iminatory under the ork State. Again, this s a need for greater case that had been mediated twice before however, remained unresolved. I accepted the case, and after several hours, it was clear that the lack of diversity was an important issue. The two previous mediators had been white males. The injured plaintiff was the only person of color involved. I suspect that I was selected because I’m a person of color. The plaintiff felt that his interest wasn’t being protected because he had never seen anyone who looked like him. Fortunately, I was able to assist in getting the case resolved. The plaintiff, just as JayZ, felt the process had been discriminatory. How can the mediation process be fair and equitable if people of color aren’t involved in meaningful numbers? The pool of mediators should reflect the racial, ethnic and gender diversity of the community. Sixteen percent of Florida’s population, over three million, are African American. How can we justify having just over two hundred mediators of color in all Certified categories? There are seven mediators of color in the 15th Judicial Circuit, covering Palm Beach County, an area of 1.5 million people. These statistics are an indictment of the mediation industry and clearly indicate that the problems are both systemic and institutional. Diversity is about strength, not weakness. There is something about every group that can improve the whole. The ADR community must do better. For additional ADR tips and resources, please go to the ADR Committee page of the updated Palm Beach County Bar Association website at www.palmbeachbar.org. Lawrence Gordon is the President of Phoenix Mediation, LLC. He has been a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator since 2010. He is a former multiterm member of the Florida Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee. He was the first non-lawyer to serve on the Board of Directors of the Palm Beach County Trial Lawyers Association (now known as the Palm Beach County Justice Association). all from a prominent m about mediating a LLETIN 5