The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington has long been a leader in the use of alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”). The court adopted Civil Rule 39.1 in 1978. The rule has served as a model of bench-bar cooperation and its basic principles have been adopted by a number of federal courts. Our federal judiciary encourages parties and their counsel in nearly all civil cases to attempt to resolve their dispute through one of the ADR options available under the rule – including mediations (CR 39.1(c)), arbitration (CR 39.1(d)), non-binding summary jury trials (CR 39.1(e)), or judicial settlement conferences (CR 39.1(f)).
The ADR Committee assists the court in administering Rule 39.1, and is responsible for supporting the process of certifying mediators and arbitrators. In order to qualify as a neutral under the rule, an attorney must certify that he or she (i) has been a member of the bar of a federal district court for at least seven years (or has had at least seven years of judicial experience), (ii) is a member of the bar of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, (iii) has devoted a substantial portion of his or her practice to litigation, and (iv) has met the training requirement established by the Court’s General Order of January 17, 1997 (the training program currently consists of fifteen hours of mediation training or experience during the three years prior to certification, a portion of which may consist of observing or presiding over mediations).
Anyone desiring to become a neutral under CR 39.1 may visit the court’s website (downloadable application and certification forms can be found at the site), or may contact: