NASHVILLE, February 26, 2015.  On March 6, 2015, as part of the celebration of Mediation Day proclaimed by Gov. Haslam, Stephen L. Shields will be honored in Nashville for his pioneering and lasting contributions to the field of mediation. A Memphis-based mediator and trainer, Shields is a member of the Tennessee Access to Justice Commission’s Mediation Committee that works to assist unrepresented (“pro se”) litigants with mediators at no or reduced costs.

The Coalition for Mediation Awareness in Tennessee will present the eighth annual Grayfred Gray Public Service in Mediation Award to Shields at the Lipscomb University Institute for Conflict Management, Ezell Center, Nashville TN. Other distinguished guests include past award recipients, Grayfred Gray, Hon. Janice Holder, Larry Bridgesmith, Jocelyn Wurzburg, and Marietta Shipley, and Nashville-based  writer and "organizational storyteller" David Hutchens, who will present an all-day advanced skills training workshop on “Telling Stories and Making Meaning."

“Mediation has become part of the fabric of the law and its practice,” said Steve Shields. “More broadly, mediation has become a means of empowering those who may not otherwise have their voices heard and thus it enhances freedom and democracy.” 

“Mediation offers a unique opportunity to resolve disputes efficiently in terms of both time and money, which results in a greater sense of satisfaction to the parties involved,” said Ruth Hillis, President of the Tennessee Association of Professional Mediators (TAPM) a member of the Coalition.

“This year, TAPM and the Coalition will bring opportunities for education, mentoring, and collegial discussion to mediators across Tennessee. By spreading awareness, we remove barriers to mediation services so ordinary people in both rural and urban areas can find mediators to assist them. Our legal system is overburdened and sometimes unresponsive. Those in conflict can use mediation to deal with difficult situations in a safe and cost-effective way,” said Jackie Kittrell, TAPM’s President-Elect. 

Governor Haslam proclaimed March 6, 2015 as Mediation Day in Tennessee, in recognition of the contribution of mediation and to encourage its further growth in the State.  More than 1,000 mediators listed by the Tennessee Supreme Court assist the courts in resolving disputes. Additional trained mediators volunteer their time at community mediation centers across the state. Per the Tennessee Commission on Alternative Dispute Resolution, mediators self-reported 5,451 cases mediated in 2014, with 71% of the cases fully or partially resolved through mediation.

About March 6 luncheon:  Members of the public may purchase tickets online by clicking: Tennessee Association of Professional Mediators. The luncheon is open to media.

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. The Coalition assists the courts and community organizations in providing programs and activities that educate the public and the legal profession about the benefits of mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.

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 of UT’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, and Anne Sides.

More about honoree and his public service:

Stephen L. Shields

Steve L. Shields, a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 Listed General Civil Mediator, has mediated cases involving employment disputes, discrimination claims, and disputes that arise between business partners, among other issues. He has dedicated hundreds of hours to training professionals in skills that serve them and their clients well in conflict management. He is a Partner in the Memphis law firm of Jackson, Shields, Yeiser & Holt and has been listed in Best Lawyers In America since 1991.

Shields is a member of the Tennessee Access to Justice Commission’s Mediation Committee that works to assist unrepresented (“pro se”) litigants with mediators at no or reduced costs. He was one of the original organizers of the Mediator-of-the-Day Program in the Memphis General Sessions Courts, providing volunteer mediators for pro se litigants. He has provided hundreds of hours of mediation services and mentoring/training others to do the same work. He is working with other Rule 31 mediators across the state to implement a Mediator-of-the-Day Program in their communities. Shields is an Adjunct Professor at the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis where he teaches Alternative Dispute Resolution and is Director of the Mediation Clinic. In 2012 and 2013, he coached the law school’s Mediation Team. He is Past President of TAPM (2013), Past Chair of the Tennessee Bar Association’s ADR Section (2012–13), and Past Chair of the Memphis Bar Association’s ADR Section (2014). He is also Past President of the Memphis Bar Foundation and Past Chair of the Memphis Bar Labor and Employment Section.

Contact information
Coalition for Mediation Awareness in Tennessee:
Marnie Huff:  615-812-5557;