NYSDRA announces formation of Advisory Board and Hon. Lawrence Marks as Chair

September 8, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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The New York State Dispute Resolution Association (NYSDRA), a leading nonprofit in the state dedicated to promoting alternative dispute resolution (ADR), recently unveiled its new Advisory Board.

Leading the Advisory Board is Hon. Lawrence Marks, who, prior to his retirement in 2022, was the chief administrative judge of New York State.

In this role, Marks had the extensive responsibility of managing the daily operations of the statewide court system, with a budget surpassing $3 billion and supervising more than 16,000 employees across over 300 locations. With his three-decades-long experience in policy, management and the legal landscape of the court system, Marks brings a wealth of knowledge to NYSDRA’s new board.

In response to his appointment, Marks shared his admiration for NYSDRA’s work. He highlighted the association’s pivotal role in addressing conflicts outside the traditional courtroom, emphasizing the growing importance of ADR in New York State. Marks expressed his enthusiasm about chairing the Advisory Board, especially in strengthening the role of ADR in the coming years.

“NYSDRA provides invaluable services to New Yorkers across the state in resolving conflicts outside of the traditional courtroom process and, more generally, in advocating for increased and more effective use of ADR,” Marks said. “ADR plays a critical role in resolving a wide range of disputes and there is a real need to expand and strengthen that role in the years to come. I am so pleased to chair this new Advisory Board and work together to support and grow NYSDRA’s vital participation in these efforts.”

Joining Marks on the board is a lineup of experts: T. Andrew Brown, who has held esteemed positions as the past president of the New York State Bar Association and the former vice chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents; Courtney Bryan, who directs the nonprofit Center for Justice Innovation; Ross Kartez, known for his tenure as the past chair of the State Bar’s Dispute Resolution section; and Dr. Maria Volpe, a sociology professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the helm of the Dispute Resolution Center at the City University of New York.

The NYSDRA Board of Directors, under the leadership of Dr. Bernie Tracy, expressed optimism regarding the formation of the Advisory Board.

“The Advisory Board brings together a dynamic group of thought leaders who share NYSDRA’s dedication to promoting alternative dispute resolution methods,” Tracy said. “With their support, we are poised to create innovative solutions that advance justice and equity.”

Theresa Hobbs, the NYSDRA’s executive director, shared this sentiment, noting that the board’s inception symbolizes NYSDRA’s commitment to innovative dispute resolution practices across New York.

Under NYSDRA’s umbrella, there’s a vast network of 20 Community Dispute Resolution Centers (CDRCs) spread across New York State. In the fiscal year 2022-2023 alone, these centers provided community legal education to more than 330,000 individuals, with more than 53,499 individuals benefiting directly from the CDRC network. With the new Advisory Board in place, there’s anticipation for even greater collaborative efforts to identify strategic initiatives and respond to emerging trends in ADR.

Justice Marks graduated with honors from the State University of New York at Albany in 1979 and later earned his J.D. from Cornell University Law School in 1982. While at Cornell, he served as an editor for the Law Review.

Early in his career, Marks clerked for the Hon. Thomas C. Platt with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. He later became an associate at Hughes, Hubbard, and Reed LLP before joining the Legal Aid Society, where he held positions as associate appellate counsel and senior supervising attorney.

Marks also taught as an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Brooklyn Law School. Beyond his direct legal roles, he has co-authored a legal treatise on New York Criminal Procedure Law.

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