Lisa M. Denig ('20) has been announced as one of the New York Law Journal's Attorney Innovators of the Year for her work to advance presumptive mediation in the New York State Supreme Courts. The innovation awards recognize creative and inspiring approaches and forward-thinking firms and individuals, and a reception will be held on Tuesday, October 27 at Marriott Marquis in New York, N.Y.
Creating and implementing the New York State Presumptive Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program served as Denig’s Capstone project during her time at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.
Denig has worked as Special Counsel for ADR Initiatives for the NYS Office of Court Administration since May 2019. She serves as the coordinator of Chief Judge Janet DiFiore’s initiative to bring early, presumptive ADR to all civil litigation matters in New York State. The NYS Presumptive ADR Program seeks to reduce the backlog associated with litigating in NYC’s Supreme Courts and to increase satisfaction levels for both litigants and attorneys.
Working with various stakeholders that included the ADR Advisory Committee, the Statewide Office for ADR, the Administrative Judges of each Judicial District, court staff and bar associations, Denig helped to create ADR plans that would require litigants to attempt some form of ADR early in the life of a civil case. This includes settlement conferences with judges or court staff, mediation, arbitration, or summary jury trials.
Denig also worked with the New York Court’s Department of Technology and her ADR colleagues to create and implement a digital data tracking system that would allow for systematic monitoring of the program. The data tracking system generates reports that show how many cases each court is referring to ADR and will eventually reveal whether or not cases are being resolved with greater frequency and earlier in the life of the case under the new program.
The ADR initiative also consists of an extensive training piece that focused first on training court staff in settlement and mediation techniques and has expanded to begin training volunteer attorneys as mediators. Denig presented the structure, goals, and challenges of the program to numerous bar associations and outside mediator organizations in an effort to educate the public regarding the program and to gather suggestions and input that would make the program more efficient and user-friendly.
Denig previously served as the Bureau Chief of Special Litigation in the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office. She was the Westchester Women’s Bar Association President and led Habitat for Humanity of New York’s Putnam County.
Denig earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Vassar College and Juris Doctor from the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University.
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