DATE: April 28,  2004                            CONTACT: Laura Kiernan
                                                                                   Court Public Information Officer
                                                                                   (603) 271-2646


News Advisory

Wolfe Attends ABA Dispute Resolution Conference in New York City

CONCORD—Sullivan County Superior Court clerk Peter Y. Wolfe, who has played a lead role in the development of alternative dispute resolution programs in New Hampshire,  participated in the sixth annual conference on dispute resolution sponsored by the American Bar Association in New York City from April 15-17.

            The conference included over 100 presentations on dispute resolution. Wolfe, who received a scholarship from the State Justice Institute to attend the event, coordinates the ADR program in New Hampshire. Established in 1992, the New Hampshire program  provides various alternatives to court proceedings for resolution of disputes, including mediation, arbitration and neutral evaluation of cases in civil, family and probate courts.  

            Experts agree that litigants who participate in alternative dispute resolution programs feel that through their participation, they are having a direct impact on the outcome of their cases. ADR also helps reduce the backlog of cases waiting to come before a judge and cuts costly litigation expenses. ADR is particularly helpful for self-represented litigants in marital cases, giving the parties an opportunity to resolve disputes in a low-cost informal setting.

            Among the programs included in the New York City conference were a discussion of expanding the role of women and minorities in dispute resolution and ADR for families. Participants were also updated on ADR research and practices nationwide including new ideas on the role of the courts and their obligation to provide quality assurance in the delivery of ADR programs. Lead practitioners also conducted skills training in the latest innovations in dispute resolution practices.

            Wolfe, a 1981 graduate of Franklin Pierce Law Center, serves as chairman of the Superior Court ADR Committee which created a court rule that required litigants in Superior Court to participate in some form of ADR.  In 1995, for his work with ADR, Wolfe received the New Hampshire Bar Association’s President’s Award for distinguished service to the legal profession. Since then, he has been instrumental in establishing a probate mediation program and drafting legislation for marital mediation in Superior Court.

            “At this conference I was able to learn what other states are doing in this area and see how we can put some of their ideas to use in our courts, “ Wolfe said. “ It helps put New Hampshire in touch with a network of experts in the field around the country who will continue to serve as resources for us,” Wolfe added.

             The State Justice Institute was established by the federal government to award grants to improve the quality of justice in state courts. Grants from the institute, which is headquartered in Alexandria, Va., are also intended to promote better communication between the state and federal courts to help resolve common problems.

            More information about the State Justice Institute is available on the SJI website at