Written by National Association of Women Judges|March 24, 2021|News
Coalition for Mediation Awareness in Tennessee
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD GOES TO MEMPHIS JUDGE DEBORAH HENDERSON
NASHVILLE, March 5, 2021. On March 12, 2021, as part of the celebration of Mediation Month proclaimed by Gov. Bill Lee, Shelby County TN General Sessions Judge Deborah M. Henderson will be honored in Nashville for her innovative and lasting contributions to the field of mediation. Henderson will receive the Grayfred Gray Public Service in Mediation Award at the annual meeting of the Tennessee Association of Professional Mediators (TAPM).
Judge Henderson single-handedly established the Shelby County General Sessions Court's mediation program. She recently led the way to have courts refer cases to a local mediation center during COVID-19.
At the March 12 event via Zoom, other distinguished guests will include former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Myra C. Selby, Howard University Law Professor Herman La Rue, and past award recipients. At the TAPM meeting, Selby will present an advanced training program on Mediation of Health Care Disputes. She and Prof. La Rue will lead a panel discussion on Race and Gender Fairness in Alternative Dispute Resolution.
"I am honored to receive this award," said Judge Henderson. "Mediation has become an integral and valuable component of our system of justice."
"Judge Henderson is a champion for mediation in Tennessee and a deserving recipient of the Grayfred Gray Public Service in Mediation Award," said TAPM President Mamie Huff. "Judge Henderson's court mediation program is an example of how parties in disputes can resolve their differences through negotiations facilitated by professional mediators."
"Since the initial receipt of federal funds to be used for rental assistance, mediators throughout Tennessee have volunteered their time to mediate rental arrearage settlements based upon monies available through the CARES Act. In addition, with the reopening of courts and in anticipation of case backlogs, training has recently been untaken to ensure the availability of additional mediators to assist the courts in addressing backlogs resulting from the COVID pandemic," said Cindy Ettingoff, TAPM's Vice-President.
Governor Bill Lee proclaimed March 2021 as Mediation Month in Tennessee, in recognition of the contribution of mediation and to encourage its further growth in the State. Mediation is a growing profession. There are now more than 1,300 mediators listed by the Tennessee Supreme Court to assist the courts in resolving disputes, and additional trained mediators volunteering their time at community mediation centers across the state. Per the Tennessee Commission on Alternative Dispute Resolution, mediators self-reported 6,504 mediations last year, with 72.8% of the cases fully or partially resolved through mediation.
About CMAT and the Grayfred Gray Public Service Mediation Award: The Coalition for Mediation Awareness in Tennessee (CMAT) was formed in 2006 to maximize the resources and expertise of various groups who provide alternative dispute resolution services. TAPM is a member of the Coalition.
CMAT presents the annual Grayfred Gray Public Service in Mediation Award to persons who make innovative and lasting public service contributions through alternative dispute resolution in Tennessee. The award is named after its first recipient, Grayfred Gray, Emeritus Professor, University of Tennessee College of Law, and founder ofUT's outstanding Mediation Clinic. Past recipients of the award also include Janice Holder, Marietta Shipley, Shelby R. Grubbs, Robert P. Murrian, Jocelyn Wurzburg, Larry Bridgesmith, Carol Berz, Jean Munroe, Anne Sides, Stephen L. Shields, Margaret M. Huff, Linda Warren Seely, the Executive Directors of Community Mediation Centers, Jacqueline Kittrell, and Justice Connie Clark.
About TAPM: The Tennessee Association of Professional Mediators promotes professional mediation as the primary approach to conflict resolution in Tennessee.
More about Judge Henderson and her public service: Judge Deborah M. Henderson, who has served on the Shelby County TN General Sessions Court since 2006, is a strong supporter of mediation as a way to resolve disputes by agreement. She single-handedly established the Shelby County General Sessions Court's mediation program. She has been instrumental in expanding the program into other General Sessions Courts and recently led the way to have courts refer cases to a local mediation center during COVID-19. Before serving on the General Sessions Court, she was in private practice with an emphasis in domestic relations, probate and juvenile law. She also served on the juvenile defender staff for Memphis and Shelby County and was a special master for the Chancery Court. In 1997, she was appointed to the Tennessee Board of Accountancy, where she worked for 6 years. Judge Henderson received a B.A. in history from Christian Brothers College and a J.D. from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphrey's School of Law.
Tennessee Association for Professional Mediators 615-775-9686 Joy Reed