Press Release

The Academy of Court-Appointed Neutrals Opens Applications for the First Ever Incubator Program to Train and Mentor Neutrals to Serve Courts

The Academy of Court-Appointed Neutrals (ACAN) has opened application for its new “Incubator” program. This first-of-its-kind program will offer training and mentorship for up to 12 aspiring court-appointed neutrals. The program will kick-off with a one-day session in Washington, D.C. in January 2023 and continue with four virtual meetings throughout 2023. The January one-day session will be a deep dive into basic skills and issues with a faculty made up of very experienced Judges and court-appointed neutrals. Each of the four quarterly virtual sessions will focus on special topics that cohort members identify as important to them in their work.

Academy President David Tenner explained, “earlier this year the Academy changed its name from the Academy of Court-Appointed Masters, as part of ACAN’s efforts to broaden both the array of professionals who serve as court-appointed neutrals to assist courts and the opportunities that those professionals have to serve the administration of justice. This innovative Incubator program furthers those critical goals by facilitating systems in which appointments can be made from broad, diverse pools, based on merit and suitability for the case and to create new pathways for talented professionals to become a neutral.”

Explaining the approach, ACAN Training Committee Co-Chair Amy Gernon noted, “the Incubator program will build on ACAN’s basic training on substantive content and will provide a ‘learning laboratory’ in which participants engage in mock exercises to illuminate how neutrals can become more effective members of their legal community. U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman (D.D.C.), former Federal Judicial Center Director and U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel (Ret. N.D. Cal.), Ken Feinberg, ACAN Board Member Amy Gernon, ACAN Treasurer Deborah Greenspan, Michael Lewis, Ellen Reisman, and ACAN President-Elect Randi Ilyse Roth have signed on to teach.” Roth, a program co-designer added, “One key feature of the Incubator program is mentorship. The mentorship component is designed to facilitate meaningful relationships between participants and well-respected neutrals. ACAN Fellows who have already agreed to serve as mentors include Karl Bayer, Judge Keegan Federal (Ret., Ga. Sup. Ct.), Ellen Reisman, ACAN President David Tenner, and Mark Zauderer. We will secure additional mentors after the cohort is selected.”

The Academy will be accepting applications until December 5, 2022 and expects to make decisions on who will be part of this first cohort by mid-December. Interested applicants can apply here.

For more information about this exciting program, please contact ACAN Fellows and Incubator program designers Amy Gernon ([email protected]) and Randi Ilyse Roth ([email protected]).