Opinion 675

QUESTIONS PRESENTED May a Texas lawyer, acting as a mediator, prepare and provide the parties to the mediation a proposed written agreement that memorializes the terms of the parties’ agreement reached during the mediation? If so, may the lawyer-mediator propose terms for inclusion in the written agreement in addition to the specific terms agreed to by the parties during the mediation? STATEMENT OF FACTS A Texas lawyer acts as mediator in a dispute between two parties who reach an oral agreement during the mediation. The lawyer-mediator drafts a written settlement agreement, incorporating the agreed terms, and presents it to the parties for review and signing. The lawyer-mediator suggests some provisions in the draft agreement that do not conflict with the parties’ oral agreement but were not expressly discussed during the mediation session. DISCUSSION Under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, serving as a mediator constitutes acting as an “adjudicatory

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Professionalism Committee Hard at Work To Expand Mentoring Opportunities and Speakers Database

By Kenda Culpepper The mission of the State Bar of Texas Professionalism Committee is to increase professionalism and improve the development of new lawyers. The committee was revitalized in 2012 by State Bar President Buck Files, and it has striven to accomplish its mission by tackling four key subjects: mentoring, promoting professionalism through CLE and different events, providing access to good ethics speakers, and promoting the Texas Lawyer’s Creed. All of the resources and databases described in this article can be found here. Just click on the relevant program or subject matter on the site for more information. Expanding Mentoring Opportunities One of the key missions of the SBOT Professionalism Committee is to increase the number of mentoring resources across the state. In years past, lawyers came out of law school with a job that provided a wealth of mentoring opportunities. Whether they were practicing with a large or small

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State Bar ADR Courses

The ADR Section of the State Bar of Texas is pleased to invite you to these courses. Click on the links for more information. Handling Your First (or Next) Arbitration: Effective Use of Arbitration (live) Austin – Nov 3, 2017 MCLE Credit: 6 hrs (includes 3 hrs ethics) MCLE No: 928004951 More Info  Register for Course  Webcast So You Want to Be a Mediator: Establishing a Mediation Practice (webcast) Nov 30, 2017 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm CT MCLE Credit: 2 hrs (includes 0.50 hrs ethics) Register for Webcast So You Want to Be an Arbitrator: Establishing an Arbitration Practice (webcast) Nov 30, 2017 from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm CT MCLE Credit: 2 hrs (includes 0.50 hrs ethics) Register for Webcast Alternative Dispute Resolution 2018 (live) Austin – Jan 26, 2018 MCLE Credit: 6.50 hrs (includes 3 hrs ethics) MCLE No: 928011617 Register for Course

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TMCA Symposium–You Are Invited

The Texas Mediator Credentialing Association will hold its annual Symposium in Fort Worth this year—at the Texas A&M School of Law. The date is Saturday, October 28th, and you can register here. The event offers 6.25 hours CLE and includes the 3 hours of mediation ethics needed for renewal of your TMCA credential. Early Bird registration is $130 for TMCA Credential holders and $150 for those who aren’t yet credentialed. Hotel reservations are available at the discounted rate of $149 per night at the Sheraton Fort Worth Downtown Hotel, which is located directly across the street from the Texas A&M University School of Law. To get this reduced rate, you must call the hotel at 817-335-7000 and ask for the special rate for the “Texas Mediator Credentialing Association.” You cannot get this special rate if you book online. Please note parking will be free of charge for all attendees (including those staying at the Sheraton)

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Texas: Trial Court Properly Set Aside Arbitrator’s Sanctions Orders Based on Evident Partiality

In Builders First Source-South Texas, LP v. Ortiz, the Fourteenth Court of Appeals held, in an interlocutory appeal, that the trial court had jurisdiction to set aside an arbitrator’s sanctions orders on the basis of evident partiality. The trial court also had jurisdiction to require arbitration before a new arbitrator, but the parties had to go through the AAA process for the appointment. The trial court erred to stay the proceedings pending completion of arbitration. According to the court’s opinion, Ortiz allegedly suffered workplace injuries. An arbitration provision was contained in his employment agreement with Builders First. The AAA appointed an arbitrator who submitted a sworn disclosure to the effect that none of the parties, lawfirms, or party representatives appeared before her in past arbitrations. The disclosure confirmed that the arbitrator checked for conflicts. About a year later, the parties conducted a telephone hearing with the arbitrator. The arbitrator and

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