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Our Newest Neutrals
The New Use of an Old Tool: Judge Pro Tem Statute

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The McCammon Group (TMG) is an alternative dispute resolution provider comprised of over 70 retired judges and practicing attorneys who possess a variety of subject matter backgrounds.  Founded in Virginia in 1995, TMG has since expanded into Washington, D.C. and Maryland.  Although based in the mid-Atlantic, TMG Neutrals serve throughout the country and abroad.

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Welcome to Your Dispute Resolution Resource brought to you by The McCammon Group.  This is a venue where you, our customer and colleague, can browse and learn about the latest topics in the ADR world and find useful information to help in your law practice.    


In this post (our first), we invite you to acquaint yourself with our newest additions and most recent accolades, and to enjoy a thought-provoking article on the Judge Pro Tem statute in Virginia. 

Our Newest Neutrals 
After a broad civil litigation career and twenty-four exemplary years on the bench, Judge Parker has recently retired.  He will continue his lifetime of service to the citizens of Southeast Virginia as the Executive Director of the Camp Foundation, but now also joins The McCammon Group to serve the mediation, arbitration, judge pro tempore, and special master needs of lawyers and litigants throughout the Commonwealth.  


KLTA true trial lawyer, Ken Thompson has represented plaintiffs and defendants alike in matters ranging from personal injury and mass tort litigation to governmental relations and complex commercial matters.   A Fellow of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers, he has been listed in Best Lawyers in America, Maryland Super Lawyers, and was recognized by The Daily Record for "Leadership in the Law."  Well known for his service to the community and the Bar, Ken is on the Board of Trustees of Good Samaritan Hospital and the Baltimore City Bar Foundation.  He will continue his law practice at DLA Piper's Baltimore office, but now also joins The McCammon Group to serve the mediation and arbitration needs of lawyers and litigants throughout Maryland and beyond.


 Hon. Rufus G. King, III (Ret.) - Washington, DC

RGK 2Hon. Rufus G. King, III (Ret.) - Judge Rufus King has received the 2010 Judge Ricardo M. Urbina Lifetime Achievement Award.  This award honors those who have made outstanding contributions to the Hispanic community in equality, fairness, social justice, as well as, unwavering commitment and achievements in public service.  Judge King joined The McCammon Group in September of 2008, and since that time, he has acted as the Director of Professional Development in Washington, DC and as a mediator/arbitrator.   


 William C. Wood, Esq. - Richmond, VA

wcw newCongratulations to William C. Wood for his 2010 Virginia State Bar (VSB) Lifetime Achievement Award from the Family Law Section.  This award recognizes and honors an individual in the Commonwealth of Virginia who has made a substantial contribution to the practice and administration of Family Law.  The award is given at the discretion of the VSB Family Law section Board of Governors.



The New Use of an Old Tool: Judge Pro Tem Statute
 By: Hon. Robert W. Wooldridge, Jr. (Ret.)
Published in Virginia ADR


RWWIn recent decades the volume of civil matters filed in state and federal courts across the country has risen substantially.  At the same time, the capacity of the judicial system to handle them has had trouble keeping pace.  Public resources are increasingly limited; that is especially so as of late, and shows no sign of abating.  Criminal dockets warrant their fair share of those limited resources.  As a result, it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain the level of access to justice in civil matters that we have come to expect and to which litigants are entitled.


Those factors have led many to turn to arbitration as an alternative to an overburdened judicial system.  While arbitration has become the forum of choice in many parts of the country, it has been less so in Virginia, where state and federal courts have remained comparatively effective and efficient.  In recent years, parties and counsel have turned more frequently to mediation - not so much due to constraints on the judicial system but rather because of the benefits of resolving matters short of trial and avoiding the cost and uncertain outcome of litigation.


The increasing limitations of the judicial system have caused many parties and counsel in Virginia to turn to the new use of an old tool:  appointment of judge pro tempore.  Such a remedy presents an interesting hybrid of public and private resources.


The Statute

Section 17.110 of the Code of Virginia provides that all parties or their counsel in a pending circuit court case may enter into a written stipulation appointing a judge pro tempore for their matter.  Upon approval by a judge of the court in which the case is pending and the taking of an oath, the judge pro tempore acquires the same power, authority and duties as a circuit court judge.  The parties may choose to have the judge pro tempore decide their entire matter, or instead limit him or her to specific issues of fact or law. 


Advantages and Disadvantages


By using a judge pro tempore, parties choose the judge they wish to hear their matter.  They may do so because both sides have experience and are comfortable with that judge.  They may do so because that judge has expertise in the particular subject matter at issue.  Sitting judges are among the last of the generalists in the legal arena because their job requires it of them.  

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