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Coalition for Mediation Awareness in Tennessee
Marnie Huff:  615-812-5557; marniehuff@bellsouth.net




 Nashville, February 22, 2011.  Two Tennessee leaders in the mediation field, Shelby Grubbs and Robert Murrian, will be honored Feb. 24 for their lasting contributions to the field of mediation in Tennessee.  

The Coalition for Mediation Awareness in Tennessee will present Murrian and Grubbs with the fourth annual Grayfred Gray Public Service in Mediation Award at a luncheon Feb. 24 at the Lipscomb University Institute for Conflict Management, Ezell Center, Nashville TN. Other distinguished guests include past award recipient, Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder, and Erica Ariel Fox, a lecturer of law at the Harvard Program on Negotiation and author of the forthcoming book, Beyond Yes: Seven Steps to Negotiating Your Leadership and Your Life.  The luncheon is open to media.

 “As Chair of the Tennessee Supreme Court Commission, Shelby Grubbs had the vision and foresight to shepherd the acceptance of alternative dispute resolution to the mainstream legal system in Tennessee.  He and Magistrate Bob Murrian also developed mediation programs at the federal level in response to civil justice reform in the early 1990’s,” said Nashville mediator Marietta Shipley.

 “We have witnessed mediation become an integral and very valuable component  of the civil justice process during the last two decades.” said Bob Murrian, who chaired the committee that established Tennessee's first court-annexed federal mediation program when he was a U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee. 

 “Mediation skills can be used outside of litigation,” said Shelby Grubbs, who was the first Chair of the Tennessee Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission.  “For example, in the context of reaching a business agreement or a political compromise, interest-based negotiation in a respectful atmosphere can achieve more rational outcomes for all sides in a dispute.” 

There are now 981 mediators listed by the Tennessee Supreme Court to assist the courts in resolving disputes, and additional numbers of trained mediators volunteering their time at 13 community mediation centers across the state.  The Tennessee Commission on Alternative Dispute Resolution reports that mediators handled 6,035 cases in 2010, with 71% of the cases fully or partially resolved through mediation.

“We are excited to be partnering with the Coalition to bring greater awareness of the advantages of mediation to the average citizen,” said Larry Bridgesmith, President of the Tennessee Association of Professional Mediators, a member of the Coalition. “Whether it is a property dispute, a divorce or a problematic business dealing, mediation is an economical and thoughtful alternative to drawn-out litigation that can be a burden on everyone involved. It is reassuring to know that Tennessee’s Supreme Court understands the benefits of mediation and is working hard to promote use of conflict resolution procedures.”

 “Mediation usually solves problems faster and at a reduced cost, bringing a greater sense of satisfaction to the parties involved,” said Richard Murrell, President-Elect of the Tennessee Association of Professional Mediators. 

 About Feb. 24, 2011 luncheon honoring Robert Murrian and Shelby Grubbs:  Members of the public may purchase tickets for $30 online at http://www.tennmediators.org/pg17.cfm

 About CMAT and the Grayfred Gray Public Service Mediation Award:  The Coalition for Mediation Awareness in Tennessee (CMAT) was formed in 2006 to maximize the resources and expertise of various groups who provide alternative dispute resolution services. The Coalition assists the courts and community organizations in providing programs and activities that educate the public and the legal profession about the benefits of mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.

 CMAT presents the annual Grayfred Gray Public Service in Mediation Award to persons who make innovative and lasting public service contributions through alternative dispute resolution in Tennessee.  The award is named after its first recipient, Grayfred Gray, Emeritus Professor, University of Tennessee College of Law, and founder of UT’s outstanding Mediation Clinic.  Past recipients of the award also include Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder, and Marietta Shipley. 

 Shelby R. Grubbs is a member of the law firm Miller & Martin PLLC and practices in the firm's Chattanooga and Atlanta offices.  His outstanding public service includes chairing both the Tennessee Commission on Dispute Resolution in 1994-1996 and the Tennessee ADR Commission in 1996-1999.

 Robert P. Murrian practices at Reeves, Herbert & Murrian, P.A. in Knoxville.  He was an early adopter of ADR, conducting mediations in the 1980s as a settlement judge while on the bench as a U.S. Magistrate Judge.  He chaired the committee that established Tennessee's first court-annexed federal mediation program and chaired the Federal Court/Knoxville Bar Association Joint Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution in 1994-2002. 


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