Jan 2013 headline  
In This Issue
Our Newest Neutrals
Passing The Torch
Excellence in Civil Litigation
The McCammon Group Joins The Council for Court Excellence in DC
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About Us


The McCammon Group (TMG) is an alternative dispute resolution provider comprised of over 75 retired judges and practicing attorneys who possess a variety of subject matter backgrounds.  Founded in Virginia in 1995, TMG has since expanded into Washington, DC and Maryland.  Although based in the mid-Atlantic, TMG Neutrals serve throughout the country and abroad.

Our Neutrals 

We hope this publication will keep you up to date on the latest topics in the world of dispute resolution and that you find useful information to help in your law practice.    


Do you have a client, colleague, or partner that would benefit from this information? Click on the forward email link at the bottom of the page.
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Happy New Year!


As 2013 begins, we move closer to the completion of our eighteenth year of meeting the ADR needs of lawyers and their clients in the mid-Atlantic.


So much has happened over these past eighteen years. Fundamentally, lawyers have come to embrace mediation and related ADR processes as it assists them in pursuing what is best for their clients in a more effective, cost efficient, and private way, that diminishes damage to the relationships of those involved. Lawyers no longer regard mediation as an "alternative;" it is now mainstream.


Thanks to the ingenuity of lawyers, variations of the classic mediation model are emerging and other Dispute Resolution processes are flourishing (arbitration, private judging, judge pro tempore, settlement conferences, etc.).


As an indicator of the maturing of ADR, some of the leading Neutrals are now reaching retirement. (We announce in this issue the retirement of The Honorable Robert L. Harris, Sr. (Ret.), an icon in Virginia and Washington, DC.)


In looking back at these dynamics, the Neutrals at The McCammon Group thank all those lawyers who have had confidence in engaging our services to aid them as they serve their clients.


Now, a new generation of outstanding Neutrals is emerging, building on the philosophies, approaches, and good work of their predecessors. (We also announce in this issue the addition of our newest Neutrals.)


As we move forward, our society faces an increasing population, more sources of conflict, fewer public resources to fund the judicial system, and greater demands from clients who need solutions that are achieved earlier and with less cost than ever before.


In this context, Dispute Resolution, in all its forms, will continue its growth as lawyers look for more and better tools to serve their clients.


The Neutrals of The McCammon Group look forward to the opportunity to assist as you continue to diligently seek to accomplish what is best for your clients.


And we all wish you a Happy New Year!

 Our Newest Neutrals


Honorable Joanne F. Alper (Ret.)
Retired Judge, 17th Judicial Circuit Court, Arlington JFA   

Joanne Alper's accomplished legal career began with a broad civil litigation practice including a focus on family law. Her leadership within the bar was highlighted by service as President of the Arlington County Bar Association and as Chairman of the Family Law Section of the Virginia State Bar. Later, she was appointed to the Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court where she ascended to Chief Judge before being appointed to the Circuit Court. She served that court with distinction for fourteen years adjudicating many complex commercial and professional liability cases before her retirement in May 2012. Judge Alper now brings this diverse subject matter background to The McCammon Group to serve the mediation, arbitration, judge pro tempore, and special master needs of lawyers and litigants throughout Virginia and beyond. 

Retired Chief United States Copyright Royalty JudgeJSS 

After serving a six year appointment to the United States Copyright Royalty

Board, James Sledge has retired. The first Chief Judge of the Board, Judge Sledge

led the three judge court through its start as the primary, independent regulatory agency for copyright licenses and royalty distribution. Prior to this appointment,

Judge Sledge served fourteen years as a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the

Northern District of Alabama. He has also served as Chair of the Judicial Division of the American Bar Association, and as Chair of the National Conference of Federal Trial Judges. Judge Sledge brings this distinguished expertise to The McCammon Group to serve the mediation, arbitration, judge pro tempore, and special master needs of lawyers and litigants throughout the nation.

Passing The Torch 
RLHAfter almost eighteen years of extraordinary service as a renowned mediator in Virginia and Washington, DC, and with well over 2,500 cases under his belt, The Honorable Robert L. "Bob" Harris, Sr. has announced that he will retire on May 31, 2013. 

"It feels like the right time to pass the torch," Harris said.  With the goal to travel and spend more time with his family, Judge Harris leaves behind an impressive legacy. 


Because of the strength of The Group as a whole and the increasing number of distinguished Neutrals following in his footsteps, Harris says he knows his loyal customers are in "the best of hands."


Born and raised in Spring Hope, North Carolina, Harris didn't go straight to college after graduating from high school; instead, he worked as a salesman selling china and cookware to raise the money for college at William & Mary and law school at Wake Forest. Practicing these "people skills" in his earlier years has certainly been one of the keys to his mediation success.


Judge Harris served in Richmond, Virginia on the General District Court bench from 1982-85, and the Circuit Court bench from 1985-95 (Chief Judge from 1992-94).


After retirement from the bench, Judge Harris joined The McCammon Group and hit the road running, bringing in cases and getting them settled.  He has often said that he received more letters of gratitude in the first six months as a mediator than he did in his entire career as a lawyer and a judge. 


His abilities to listen, empathize, and empower people to hang in there and find resolution have astonished people time and again.  His talents were saluted by the marketplace early and often.  (He was even dubbed the "Mediation King" in a 2002 Richmond Times-Dispatch article.)


It is rare for an individual to be a star in any one career, let alone two, but Judge Harris hit the trifecta, starring as a lawyer, a judge, and finally, as a mediator, where he found his true calling.


As he departs in the coming months, we congratulate Judge Harris for all he has accomplished as a pioneer in the field of ADR and for all that he has done in serving disputing parties and their lawyers.


As he leaves The Group, it is hard not to think of one of his many mantras: "Today is another day in which to excel."


Excel indeed!  

Excellence in Civil Litigation Award


On Thursday, October 11, 2012 the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys honored John H. OBrion, Jr., Esq. with the Excellence in Civil Litigation Award at their Annual Meeting at The Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Virginia.


This award honors those distinguished jurists, civil litigators, or other professionals who exhibit the highest standards of ethics, demeanor, and temperament, and exemplary conduct in and out of the courtroom.


We join the VADA in recognizing John OBrion's outstanding career as a litigator, mentor, and mediator. 

The McCammon Group Joins The Council for Court Excellence in DC 


The McCammon Group has joined the Council for Court Excellence in Washington, DC as a corporate Board Director.


In this partnership, The McCammon Group seeks to uphold the Council's mission to identify and promote justice system reforms, improve public access to justice, and increase public understanding and support of our justice system.


The Council for Court Excellence, a non-profit, non-partisan civic organization, has been a leader in justice reform for thirty years, advancing the cause of court reform and community justice needs in the local and federal courts and related agencies in the Washington Metropolitan region. The Council is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, composed of active members of the legal, business, civic, and judicial communities. In the shared vision of expansive justice system reform, this volunteer Council has succeeded in many major initiatives.


The McCammon Group is pleased to join the Council's exemplary history of service to the District in creating important and necessary reform.