The Origins of MCDR

In the late 1980's a group of highly experienced, committed ADR practitioners met to discuss current and future needs of ADR professionals in Maryland.
As the organization was starting to form, certain values were put forth that hold to this day.  Participation by the stakeholders remains highly valued; consensus decision-making, although difficult to attain, remains a goal often reached.  Consensus was achieved and leadership came forward.  
During this time the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR) was the dominant professional organization, focusing on Labor Relations.     

In 1991 our group organized a large highly successful conference for ADR practitioners held at Howard County Community College. Over 120 individual practitioners attended.  During this time a groundbreaking, definitive decision was made not to align with and join a SPIDR chapter. 

Lagging far behind so many States in breadth and depth of ADR applications, our group recognized so much work had yet to be done in Maryland.  ADR had just begun to appear and there were many questions about prospective court rules and regulatory issues.

Until the early 1990s the organization struggled, falling into an almost dormant state.  Finally, a group of mediators met to develop a consensus:  How is mediation progressing in the various court systems throughout Maryland. Non-court mediators asked to participate and the group became active.  Our group became known as  The Maryland Committee on Dispute Resolution.  Meetings were held in Columbia four or five times per year.  Interest grew.  Officers were nominated and procedures established.  The Maryland Committee for Dispute Resolution became open to people interested in all types of dispute resolution.  Peer support and informal trainings were offered to members and non-members alike.   

MCDR grew in lockstep with the courts' interest in using mediation as the primary ADR technique.  The courts determined that standards must be established for court mediators. In the mid-1990s the Rules Committee of the Circuit Courts of Maryland proposed changes to the rules (S73A - originally established in 1991) concerning court mediators. These proposed changes greatly concerned MCDR, resulting in MCDR acting, as it still does as a powerful advocate for ADR professionals.  Determined to have an impact on the decisions made by the Court of Appeals, MCDR invested time, energy and member training skills into educating, lobbying, and testifying before the court of appeals. MCDR was successful in containing and helping to define the approach used by the court.  As a result, MCDR, evolved into the Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution becoming a cohesive, tightly focused organization operating as a not-for-profit, Federally Tax Exempt 501(c)(3) corporation .

MCDR Past Presidents

Immediate Past Co-Presidents

David Lewis, Esq. and Charles Franklin  2019-2020

Stirling Phillips  2018-2019

Maile Beers-Arthur and Tim Stranges  2017

Harold Cohen  2016

Lisa Battalia and Harold Cohen  2015

Donna Duquette  2013-2014

Ellen Kandell  2011-2012

Barbara Blake Williams  2010

Roslyn Zinner  2008-2009

Doug Brookman  2007

Nancy Hirshman  2006

Rob Ketcham  2005

John Speigel  2003-2004

Louise Phipps Senft  2002

Roger Wolf  2001

Ramona Buck  1999-2000

Doug Brookman  1997-1998

Martin Kranitz  1991-1996

Peter Maida, Convenor


The Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution (MCDR) remains a growing, vibrant 501(c)(3) organization, which has been in operation for more than two decades. Devoted to the personal and professional growth of dispute resolution practitioners throughout the State of Maryland, MCDR offers performance-based assessments for mediator certification and networking opportunities with successful private-practice mediators across the broadest range of sectors, including but not limited to: Divorce, Family, Labor, Energy, Telecom  and the list goes on.  MCDR acts as the ADR professional development organization.  The executive board is made up of  a diverse group of highly experienced ADR professionals from the private sector, as well as from federal, state and local government. 

MCDR enjoys important ADR partnerships across the State of Maryland, and Washington, D.C.  MCDR is well known for its collaborative efforts working in concert with the Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office (MACRO), and the Maryland Association for Community Mediation Centers (CMM). MCDR promotes the widest application of ADR including communities, the workplace, courts, and schools among others.

MCDR is the preeminent private ADR organization in the State of Maryland.

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

 Professionals in Conflict Resolution
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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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