A warm welcome from the Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution!  We are an organization dedicated to imaginative, empowered conflict resolution.

    Our outreach promotes and educates residents to a diverse set of non litigated solutions that can provide real benefits to the psyches of those in conflict, as well as to their wallets!  Our programs for professionals, including a nationally-recognized certification process, ensure that parties to conflict will have deeply knowledgeable professionals to guide them to creative, value-driven and mutual agreements.  We also serve as a guiding hand to new mediation practitioners as they navigate the field, and search for ways to build skills.

    Whether you are a practitioner, or seeking mediation services, we invite you to explore all the services of  MCDR as we build a better world -- one mediation at a time.

   A Message from Stirling Phillips, 2019 President

    It is my pleasure to serve as the 2019 MCDR President.  Working together with the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors we will build on the efforts of our past presidents; I thank them for their service.   I have served as a volunteer mediator for over eight years, a court family mediation administrator and recently began a private mediation practice. Prior to that, I worked as an attorney for the federal government, in house counsel and as a management consultant.

    We seek to realize the vision of MCDR promoting cooperative non-adversarial approaches as a first resort rather than the last.  By utilizing education, training, promoting mediator standards through the certification process and partnering with other organizations, we will work to fulfill the mission of MCDR promoting and expanding the use of ADR throughout the state of Maryland.  

    At MCDR, our primary goal is to successfully mentor practitioners within three seemingly disparate aspects of individual development: Business, Spiritual, and Professional. One way we will accomplish this goal is to expand the use of Master classes refining the skills of our members.  We strongly believe in the certification process and hope to expand the number of mediators taking MCDR certification assessment. We plan to vigorously make the case that certification is an important part of professional development and germane to the bottom line of the private practitioner.    

    Another key goal is marketing MCDR more broadly so that other organizations that may need its services and that of its members are sufficiently knowledgeable of how MCDR can serve as a resource.  As a state-wide organization, we will continue making efforts to provide services throughout the state of Maryland and act as an advocate before state bodies promoting the interests of the MCDR community.

   Going forward we will need your help achieving these and other goals. We must work as team. I invite you to take the next step, making the most of your membership by getting involved. Please contribute to our efforts by participating in MCDR programs such as marketing and membership, serve on one of our several committees, volunteer.  Please let us know how you would like to help in an email to MCDRadmin@earthlink.net

   Finally, please remember MCDR in your giving.  Funds are needed to help support our programs, outreach, and advocacy efforts.  Remember, since MCDR is a 501(c) (3) organization your donations will be tax-deductible.  We offer two ways to donate:  Send us your check payable to Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 247, Bethesda, MD 20817, and on the Home Page of this website please click the Making a Donation tab.

Thank you. We look forward serving MCDR, the community and our stakeholders

Stirling Phillips, 2018 President                 




Barry Weissman, CDFA and Treasurer of MCDR was invited by Heather Fogg with MACRO to guest the June 19 Mediators Confidential webinar.  The topic of the day was Building Your Professional Practice based upon his popular workshop having the same title.  An active Q&A followed Barry's brief presentation.  Some 45 ADR professionals covering the entire state anonymously participated in the webinar. 

Earlier this year Ellen Kandell was nominated by her peers to join the National Association of Distinguished Neutrals. To see her profile go to:http://www.nadn.org/ellen-kandell

Martin Kranitz, Ramona Buck and Ellen Kandell will be speaking next week at a joint program of the Baltimore City and County Bar Associations.  Come learn about mediator certification and MCDR’s performance based system on October 3, 2017 at 5pm in the Grand Jury Room, Circuit Court, 401 Bosley, Towson.  This Program is free.


Save the Date for the next MCDR Certification Day event to be held on Sunday, November 12, 2017 in either Bethesda or Annapolis.  More details on this event to follow.  For more information about the Certification process, please visit the Certification tab shown above.

Ellen Kandell, past president of Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution just had a chapter published in an ABA book, "Mediation for Estate Planners, Managing Family Conflict", edited by Susan N. Gary.    Ellen’s chapter is: "A Mediator's Perspective: Situations mediators May Face" with an Appendix:  "Helpful Tips for Counsel to Assist with Facilitating Mediation".

In Vienna, Austria this summer Ellen F Kandell, Esq. will be one of 70 international dispute resolution professionals who have been selected by the International Bar Association to participate  as an assessor in the 2016 Mediation and Negotiation competition.    Ellen is one of several MCDR members who are certified by both MCDR and the International Mediation Institute (IMI).

On April 14, 2016, several of your board members represented MCDR at the annual Maryland District Court ADR Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. Harold Cohen, Tim Stranges, Malie Beers-Arthur, and Ed Ketchen interacted with many judges, district court staff members, and fellow ADR practitioners during this evening.

Are you interested in becoming certified internationally?  Alternative Resolutions LLC is delighted to announce that Ellen F Kandell, Esq. is one of the 70 international dispute resolution professionals selected by the International Bar Association to participate as an assessor in the 2016 Mediation and Negotiation competition.  The competition will be held in Vienna, Austria this summer.  Ellen, certified by MCDR, is one of several MCDR members who are certified by the International Mediation Institute (IMI).  Please contact us for more information about IMI certification.

Were you at our recent Quarterly meeting?  Almost a dozen extra chairs had to be brought into the room!  As the evening drew to a close, we wished we had more time....  Jonathan S. Rosenthal, Esq., Director of MACRO is a truly dynamic speaker. A lot of good information was shared; a lot of good questions were asked.  We wish again to say thank you to Jonathan.  Note:  Jonathan successfully completed the process and is Certified in Mediation through MCDR.  

For Our Members:  Please be sure to visit our Members' Benefits tab for information about a new option for Long Term Care; Mass Mutual, another highly respected company is offering MCDR members and their families an even greater discount!  As with all of our member benefits, these are your benefits; MCDR receives no compensation whatsoever.  If you have any questions about these benefits please contact our Director of Member Benefits, Kevin Peters: 1-301-770-5243  

Early March, 2016 Barry Weissman, MCDR Treasurer, was invited to speak at the Bethesda/Chevy Chase Business Networking Association (BNA).  Over 50 small business owners were in attendance.  Given this opportunity, Barry presented a statement from David Zoll, Chairman of the Marketing and Outreach Committee.  Please take a moment to read the statement about the media and high profile disputes that could and should be resolved in mediation.  Please contact David for more information.

Are you thinking about MCDR Performance-Based Assessment and Certification?  Are you nervous or have concerns?  A Certification day is coming up soon!  Please read this important testimonial.

And just a couple of years ago: 

       The MCDR Certification Committee has been collaborating with the Talbot County Circuit Court to ensure mediator quality. Rob Ketcham, Chair of the Certification Committee, reports that the Talbot County Circuit Court project is entering its second phase.  On October 24, 2013 Judge Bo Earnest sent out a memo to Talbot County Roster Mediators which reads as follows:                      

       “Talbot County ’s program of mandatory mediation in civil cases has now been in place for approximately six months.  I  am happy to report that at this point we have a settlement rate of close to 50% for the non-domestic civil cases that have gone to mediation.  We are also having success with domestic cases.  These results are similar to, or better than, the settlement rates in counties that have had mediation in place for many years.

        In January, 2013, twenty three of our roster mediators participated in the advanced training that we offered.  At this time, ten of our thirty seven roster mediators are certified through a performance based assessment, either by Community Mediation Maryland or the Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution (MCDR).  

        I believe that the quality assurance provided by certification is critical where the Court is requiring mandatory participation in mediation for all litigants.  Accordingly, in order to remain on the Talbot County Roster, all mediators will need to be certified by May 1, 2014.  To that end, the County will offer another certification training on January 27 and 28, 2014.  This advanced training will emphasize the mediator skills required to pass a performance-based assessment and will be free of charge.  Shortly after the training, representatives of MCDR will come to Easton to do mediator assessments." 

         Thank you all for your assistance in making this program a success.     Donna Duquette, J. D., Past President


The Maryland legislature has passed a bill correcting problems with the Maryland Mediation Confidentiality Act. The changes are designed to keep intake conversations confidential and to ensure that participants may decide if they want to exempt some but not all communications from the Act. The Maryland mediation community, including MCDR, worked together to get the bill passed. 

A Blog posting about the recent MCDR Quarterly Meeting held in Annapolis at the JECC

Building a Conflict Resolution Practice:

Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution

Blogged By David J. Smith, June 26, 2018:

Career Awareness, Coaching, Conflict Resolution, Mediation and Conflict Intervention Techniques, Peacebuilding

   Conflict resolution and peacebuilding includes not only global work, but also domestic career pathways.   In the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia), there is a tendency to assume that everyone who is interested in conflict and peace issues is looking for NGO, foreign affairs, and international policy careers.  That is not the case.  Professionals working on local issues of violence, disagreement, and polarization are more important today than ever before!

   Early in my career I was a family mediator (and also worked in community mediation, which I still do on occassion), so I am always interested in those who are trying to make a difference in their own local communities.   Last night, I attended the summer quarterly meeting of the Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution, which is a practitioner association of those working mostly in private settings as mediators.  The focus of the meeting was on “Building Your Professional Practice,” an important issue for those trying to make a go of it as a full-time (or part-time) paid conflict resolver.

   The panel was moderated by Barry Weisman, who is the treasurer of MCDR and not a lawyer (I point that out, because many domestic mediators have law degrees). Barry focuses on advising and mediating those going through divorce and separation.  Starting off the discussion, he focused on the importance of marketing for mediators.  For him, the starting point is taking a personal inventory: who are you, what are you wanting to do, what are your strengths.  He emphasized the need to match strengths with the conflict and clients.  He talked about the Four Personality Types as a way of understanding potential clients: mediators need to match their own style with those of the clients.

Four Quadrant theory.pdf

From Think Two by Two

Barry also discussed the importance of marketing materials including business cards and brochures.  A website presence is also important including an up-to-date LinkedIn profile.

   The next panelist was Charles Franklin who is president of Franklin Technical Services, LLC. Charles is an engineer who mediates. He emphasized the importance of networking.  Keeping curiosity alive will thrust you into new spaces and with new audiences that we benefit from mediation and conflict intervention approaches. He also talked about mentorship and bringing younger professionals into the field: a point that I also emphasis in my work. The more diverse your network, the better, he felt.

   Harold Cohen is the past president of MCDR and a mediator.  He has a PhD and is a board-certified healthcare management.  Harold has extensive experience in the field of emergency response and is a nationally registered paramedic.  He works closely with the Executive Fire Officer Program in Emmittsburg, MD.   This was of interest to me because of my work with the Forage Center.   Harold also emphasized networking and being part of communities of professionals.  He stressed that one should expect it to take from 3-5 years to build a practice.

   Bob Morgan, the only lawyer on the panel, recently concluded his career as a litigator and is moving to mediation.  He is still learning, and was thankful for the professionals on the panel and organizations like MCDR.  He was disappointed in that promised referrals from colleagues did not happen, but recognizes that it is hard work building a practice.   He shared his business card to show how one might create a tagline emphasizing mediation: his is “achieving resolution.”

   Finally, Heather Fogg shared her thoughts and ideas. She is the quality assistance director of the Maryland Program for Mediator Excellence (MPME). Trained as a psychologist, she emphasized that mediators need to play to their strengths and be self-aware particularly of where one needs to grow.   MPME is a resource for mediators and allows practitioners to be part of a greater community.

     A few questions followed the presentations asking about definitions and practice limits.  The biggest take away for me was the importance of networks and matching skills and abilities to the task.   Panelists agreed that finding one’s niche is important then marketing it to the right audience the key to success.

   David J. Smith is a career coach and author of "Peace Jobs: A Student’s Guide to Starting a Career Working for Peace” (IAP 2016).  He works with those just starting in the field including recent grads, as well as older professionals looking to make a career change.  David is based in Rockville, MD and can be reached via e-mail at: davidjsmith@davidjsmithconsulting.com  or via his website.

   David is a conflict resolution educator, peace building trainer and career coach.  His professional experience has spanned the legal, think tank, international, quasi-government, and higher and secondary education sectors.  He has taught at all higher education levels: community college, 4-year undergraduate (private, public, and religious), graduate, and international.  In 2003-2004 David was a U.S. Fulbright Scholar teaching at the University of Tartu in Estonia.  From 2005 -2012 he was a senior program officer and senior manager at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington where he managed programs for colleges and universities and developed training for faculty and students.  He works with all groups and educational institutions to support peace building awareness.

   His book, Peace Jobs: A Student's Guide to Starting a Career Working for Peace (IAP 2016) can be purchased from the publisher or Amazon.

This Blog Posting is reprinted with permission, David J. Smith (c) 2018



The Mediation Confidentiality Act passed on April 9, 2012.

This act extends confidentiality protections to cases which are not court referred.

MCDR participated in a collaborative effort with  other mediation organizations to get this important bill through the legislature.

Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution
10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 247
 Bethesda, Maryland   20817

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MCDR is the oldest membership-based organization in Maryland dedicated to promoting the use of mediation and supporting

the mediation profession.  We have a proud history of successfully advocating for allowing multiple professions to practice mediation,

halting attempts to restrict the practice some fifteen years ago.  MCDR is the first organization to establish performance based criteria

now in use as a national model, part of an ongoing dialogue on quality assurance and mediator credentials.

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