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Ninth Circuit ADR Awards Presented in Oregon

October 29, 2012 / Ninth Circuit Public Information Office

Justice Susan Leeson, center, with Chief District Judge Ann Aiken of Oregon, left, and Magistrate Judge Valerie Cooke of Nevada, chair of the Ninth Circuit ADR Committee.

The Honorable Susan Leeson, a retired Oregon Supreme Court justice now working as a federal court mediator, and the Willamette University College of Law were honored recently for individual and institutional achievements in the field of alternative dispute resolution.

Justice Leeson received the 2012 Robert F. Peckham for Excellence in ADR Award, while the law school received the 2012 Ninth Circuit ADR Education Award. The awards were presented on October 22, 2012, during a meeting of the Ninth Circuit ADR Committee.  Federal judges, members of the bar and Willamette law school students attended the event, held at the federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon. 

Justice Leeson is credited with rejuvenating the Oregon federal court's mediation program. She led efforts to revise the court's ADR Local Rule; reorganized the court's Pro Bono Mediation Civil Panel; contributed to the development of ADR resources on the court's Internet website; set up systems to generate statistics on ADR use; and worked tirelessly to promote the program to the bar and public. Her innovations include establishing a pro bono foreclosure mediation panel.

Justice Leeson served on the Oregon Supreme Court from 1998 to 2003 and on the Oregon Court of Appeals from 1993 to 1998. She earned a B.A. from Willamette University in 1968; an M.A. and Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate School in 1970 and 1971, respectively; and a J.D. from Willamette University College of Law in 1981.

The ADR Education Award was accepted by Richard Birke and Sukhsimranjit Singh, the director and associate director, respectively, of the Willamette University College of Law's Center for Dispute Resolution. Established in 1983, the center offers a broad ADR curriculum. Its faculty includes noted instructors, researchers and lecturers who have contributed significantly to advances in the ADR field nationally and internationally.

The Peckham and ADR Education awards were established in 2001 and 2005, respectively, by the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit, governing body of the federal courts in nine western states and two Pacific Island jurisdictions. The Peckham Award is named for the former chief district judge of the Northern District of California, who helped pioneer use of legal means other than court trials to resolve disputes.

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