Supreme Court Names Bridgesmith New Chair of Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission, Reid and Randolph Appointed to Commission

January 15, 2020

The Tennessee Supreme Court announced  Larry Bridgesmith has been selected as chair of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission, and J. Marcus Rudolph and Lori Thomas Reidwill join the Commission.  The appointments were effective January 9, 2020.

“I am excited to assume this role with the Commission in support of the work being done by the Tennessee Supreme Court and its Administrative Office of the Courts,” said Bridgesmith.  “Forty years of legal practice and 20 years of involvement in alternative dispute resolution have taught me that this nation’s commitment to “justice for all” remains a distant, and to this point, an unattainable dream. I look forward to working with the Commission, the leadership of the Supreme Court and the AOC to help make this dream a reality. This is a project I have prepared for all my professional career. I am deeply honored to be asked.”

Bridgesmith is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Vanderbilt Law School and the Coordinator of the Program of Law and Innovation.  He seeks to teach law students how to integrate the practical, legal, and academic “best practices” into dispute resolution and legal innovation in service to client relationships.  He was the founding executive director of the Institute for Conflict Management at Lipscomb University.   Bridgesmith co-founded LegalAlignment, which provides technology tools and legal project management training to assist lawyers in managing the delivery of legal services more efficiently with greater transparency and price predictability. He is also the co-founder of Accelerate Institute, which is a knowledge management company focused on implementation of artificial intelligence.

“Larry Bridgesmith is a pillar of dispute resolution and legal innovation in the legal, mediation, and education communities in Tennessee,” said Justice Sharon G. Lee, Supreme Court Liaison to the Commission.  “Larry is the perfect leader for the Commission as it continues to incorporate technology into the oversight of the Rule 31 Mediation Program and explores new models to provide mediation services.”  

Bridgesmith has received numerous awards for both his work in mediation and dispute resolution and access to justice.  He was recognized by his peers as the Grayfred Grey Mediation Public Service Award winner in 2012. The Grayfred Grey Award seeks to honor those who have made “innovative and lasting public service contributions through alternative dispute resolution in Tennessee.” 

In 2017, Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services awarded Bridgesmith the Janice M. Holder Award for assisting in the implementation of legal technology in Tennessee.  The Janice M. Holder Award seeks to recognize an individual who has made significant contributions to expanding Access to Justice in Tennessee.  Bridgesmith received the award along with Cat Moon for their work with Music City Legal Hackers organizing its first legal hackathon focused on access to justice. 

Bridgesmith will replace Ed Silva, whose term as chair expired on January 9th.  J. Marcus Rudolph and Lori Thomas Reid will replace Mary Ann Zaha and Virginia Lee Story, whose second three-year terms expired, and therefore were not eligible for reappointment. 

“The Tennessee Supreme Court is honored these individuals have agreed to serve on the Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission,” said Justice Lee. “Both have demonstrated their commitment to helping Tennesseans in need through mediation and we are excited to see what expertise and perspective for new opportunities they will bring to the Commission.”

Rudolph serves as the Juvenile Court Intake Counselor for the Family Service Department of the Knox County Juvenile Court. He is a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 Listed Family Mediator specially trained in domestic violence issues. Rudolph is a dedicated advocate for mediation as he frequently mediates with pro se parties on juvenile issues and with private parties in family disputes.

Rudolph serves as the Vice-Chair on the Board of Directors of the Community Mediation Center in Knoxville. Rudolph’s appointment expands the Commission’s connection and partnership with the community mediation and Juvenile courts.

Reid is a Tennessee and Illinois licensed family law attorney in Franklin with Reid Family Law. Reid’s specialties include prenuptial agreements, divorce, post-divorce, and juvenile court custody cases

Reid is a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 Listed Family Mediator. She is an active member of the Williamson County Bar Association and was awarded the Professionalism Award by the Bar in 2011. Reid previously has worked for Puryear, Newman & Morton, PLLC and Reid and Prestwood, PLC.

 “The Tennessee Supreme Court has selected a talented and dedicated group of professionals to join the Commission.  They each have helped the Commission in successful projects and programs and I know they will bring the same level of enthusiasm to their new roles,” said Silva, former Chair of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission.

The Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission and the AOC are using technology to modernize and increase efficiency in the Rule 31 Mediation Program.  In November, the AOC launched a new portal for Rule 31 Mediators to use to renew their listing, report continuing education courses, and report pro bono mediations.  Education providers and trainers are also able to apply for course approval and report attendance in the new portal. People seeking to become a listed Rule 31 Mediator will be able to use the portal in 2020 to submit application materials.                                                               

The AOC seeks to battle the medical debt problem with online solution by exploring the use of Online Dispute Resolution (“ODR”) tools to help parties communicate 24/7 and provide a more accessible way to resolve debt conflicts.   The Sycamore Institute reports that 24 percent of Tennesseans with a credit report had medical debt on their credit history in 2016 – the 10th highest rate in the country.  Further, 93 of 95 counties in Tennessee have medical debt above the national average. The Alternative Dispute Resolution and Access to Justice Commissions approved ownership and sponsorship of a medical debt ODR pilot to explore ways to improve the current process by improving transparency and outcomes for all involved.

The Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission is an initiative of the Tennessee Supreme Court.  The ADRC administers the procedure for training and approving mediators for use by the courts pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 31, which established court-based alternative dispute resolution on a state-wide basis. The Commission is responsible for evaluating the success of Rule 31 ADR proceedings and for suggesting rules and revisions in rules regarding alternative dispute resolution proceedings.  For more information, go to https://www.tncourts.gov/programs/mediation or call 615-741-2687.