New York Courts dot gov
New York StateUnified Court System

Mediation Settlement Day

Mediation Settlement Day is an annual event designed to raise awareness about the many benefits of mediation and the wealth of available resources for people in conflict. Organizations throughout the United States and beyond coordinate efforts to celebrate and promote mediation on the same day each year.  On this day and throughout the month of October, organizations conduct special programs to promote mediation and to educate potential parties and attorneys about the mediation process.  The aim is to encourage parties to try mediation for the first time and to reinforce its value and effectiveness to those who have benefitted from it before.

What is Mediation?
Mediation is an efficient, user-friendly means for resolving conflicts and disputes. Instead of asking a judge to make a decision in court, parties in conflict meet with a trained mediator who helps them communicate with one another and if possible, reach an agreement that satisfies everyone. If the people in the dispute are not able to reach an agreement that is acceptable to everyone involved, they are still free to ask a judge to hear their case and make a decision in court.

Annual Kick-Off Event
A lively Kick-Off Event is held in advance of Mediation Settlement Day to bring the community together to celebrate mediation. The Kick-Off Event begins with an opportunity to network and learn about mediation training and services. The MSD Honorary Chairperson delivers the key note address, and a Front-Line Champion Award is presented to an individual who has made meaningful contributions to the field of mediation.

Honorary Chair
This year’s Honorary Chair was Judge Elizabeth S. Stong of the U.S Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York. Judge Stong has been active in the dispute resolution community for more than twenty years, including as mediator, arbitrator, and mediator trainer.

Past Honorary Chairs have included The Honorable Janet Reno (2003), former U.S. Attorney General; former U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young Jr. (2004); Kenneth Feinberg (2005), Founder and Managing Partner for Feinberg, Rozen, LLP; Lenny Wilkens (2006), former N.Y. Knicks Head Coach; Michael Greco (2006), former ABA President; The Honorable Milton Mollen (2007), former Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, 2nd Dept.; Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. (2008), Director U.S. EEOC District Office; former Chief Administrative Judge of the New York State Unified Court System Ann Pfau (2009); New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly (2010); Michael Sardo (2011), Creator and Executive Producer of USA Network's Fairly Legal; Gary Belsky (2012), award-winning writer and editor and Kenneth R. Feinberg (2013), Director of the One Boston Fund 2013, and founder and Managing Partner at Feinberg, Rozen, LLP, The Honorable Sol Wachtler, Professor at Touro Law School (2014), and Gerald P. Lepp, retired ADR Administrator for the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York.

Who should attend Mediation Settlement Day and Kick-Off event activities?
Anyone interested in becoming a mediator or learning more about mediation as an alternative means for resolving disputes. These free events provide excellent networking and learning opportunities for individuals, attorneys, mediators, as well as corporate and law firm representatives. No advance registration is required.

Who Sponsors Mediation Settlement Day?
Mediation Settlement Day is sponsored by: FINRA Dispute Resolution and the NYC Bar Association, ADR Committee in conjunction with the New York State Unified Court System and over one hundred national and regional alternative dispute resolution programs, bar associations, community-based programs, public service and non-profit organizations, and schools. Professional mediators and for-profit organizations can participate by hosting or attending events surrounding Mediation Settlement Day. View the list of sponsoring organizations.

Visit our online photo gallery for pictures of previous kick-off events and Mediation Settlement Day programs.

Why Become a Sponsor?
Sponsorship of Mediation Settlement Day is free and reflects your organization’s support and acknowledgment of mediation as a useful means of resolving disputes. Sponsorship benefits include recognition of your organization on the Mediation Settlement Day information website and an opportunity to network at the MSD Kick Off Event.

How Can Sponsors Promote Mediation on Mediation Settlement Day?
Sponsors can commemorate Mediation Settlement Day by:

  1. Sending announcements of the events to clients, parties, judges, arbitrators;
  2. Attending the Kick-Off Event and distributing your organization's literature;
  3. Providing a place in their own facilities, with an expert to explain, promote, and field questions about mediation;
  4. Providing extra neutrals to mediate cases;
  5. Arranging for mediators to serve at reduced rates on Mediation Settlement Day or holding special training sessions;
  6. Obtaining a local or state government proclamation for Mediation Settlement Day.

What is the Frontline Champion Award?
The Frontline Champion Award recognizes individuals who have made a meaningful impact on the field of mediation or helped others through their commitment to the effective practice of mediation. This year’s Frontline Champion was Judge Kathleen A. Roberts (Ret.), Mediator, Arbitrator, and special discovery master since 1995. Judge Roberts is highly regarded for her skillful facilitation, careful neutral evaluation, and persistence in resolving all types of disputes, as well as for her ability to manage complex arbitrations and provide well-reasoned awards.

Past winners include Professor Carol Liebman, Columbia Law School (2006), former Chief Judge Tina Brozman, Southern District Bankruptcy Court (2007), Roger Brach, Safe Horizon Brooklyn/Manhattan, Bill Powell – Center for Dispute Settlement Inc. and Bill Carroll – Mediation Center of Dutchess County (2008 tri-champions recognized for 25 years of volunteer service as mediators in the Community Dispute Resolution Centers Program), Professor Lela Love,  Director, Cardozo Law School’s Kukin Program for Conflict Resolution (2009), Margaret Shaw Esq. (2010), JAMS mediator, Maria Volpe Ph.D., Professor of Sociology, Director of the Dispute Resolution Program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice-City of University of New York (2011), Distinguished Mediator and Arbitrator, Roger M. Deitz (2012), Commisioner Timothy Germany, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (2013), Kenneth Andrichik, Senior Vice President, Chief Counsel, and Director of Medition Strategy, FINRA Dispute Resolution (2014), and Gerald P. Lepp, retired ADR Administrator for the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York.


The Unified Court System, in collaboration with FINRA Dispute Resolution, hosted its annual Mediation Settlement Day Kickoff event on Thursday, October 13, 2016 at the New York Law School. The program began with an open house of networking and learning opportunities on how to become a mediator, followed by a panel discussion on Moving the Needle: Diversity and Inclusion in Dispute Resolution and the keynote address.

(L-R) Kenneth Andrichik, Senior Vice President, Chief Counsel and Director of Mediation and Strategy, FINRA, Maurice Robinson, EEO Officer, New York City Housing Authority, Abigail Pessen, Chair Dispute Resolution Section of the New York State Bar, Judge Elizabeth S. Stong, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York, Rebecca Price, Director, ADR Program, Southern District of New York, Dan Kolb, Davis, Polk and Wardell LLP, Sasha Carbone, Associate General Counsel, American Arbitration Association, Judge Kathleen A. Roberts (Ret.), Mediator, Arbitrator, and special discovery master, and Daniel Weitz, Statewide ADR Coordinator for the New York State Unified Court System.