J. Anderson Little was presented with the John B. McMillan Distinguished Service Award December 1, 2022, at the Fearrington Barn in Fearrington Village as part of the 18th Judicial District Bar’s annual holiday party. State Bar President Marcia H. Armstrong presented the award with State Bar Executive Director Alice Neece Mine.
Over the span of many years, Mr. Little has committed his time and talent to the State of North Carolina and its court system. Perhaps most notably, Mr. Little was instrumental in the creation of the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process that is now a common part of the practice of law in North Carolina. He chaired the NCBA committee that developed the pilot and statewide program of Mediated Settlement Conferences in superior court. He sought and obtained legislative and judicial enactment of authorizing statutes and rules to implement the program. Additionally, he was the first chair of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Dispute Resolution Section, and he served on the NC Dispute Resolution Commission for many terms, twice as the commission’s chair by appointment of Chief Justices Lake and Parker. His leadership efforts led to the establishment of mandatory mediation and other settlement procedures in civil trial courts of North Carolina. Mr. Little was awarded the NCBA Dispute Resolution Section Peace Award in 2006.
Many lawyers know Mr. Little for two other reasons. For almost 30 years he has mediated cases—an estimated 6,000 of them. Mr. Little is also known for his mediation training programs for aspiring mediators. His guidance has provided large groups of professionals, attorneys, and nonattorneys, both in North Carolina and in other states, the skills necessary to help resolve disputes and improve outcomes in all types of disputes. Mr. Little has been influential nationally with his work with the American Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section. He has presented numerous CLEs and CMEs as well as published through the ABA a highly regarded book on mediation, Making Money Talk: How to Mediate Insured Claims and Other Monetary Disputes (ABA 2007). As part of his service to the ABA, Mr. Anderson served on the Dispute Resolution Section Publications Committee.
Mr. Little currently serves as president and lead trainer of Mediation, Inc., where he trains lawyers, judges, and nonlawyers about mediation.
Mr. Little’s work has been tremendously influential both for the art and practice of mediation and for the court system and its many varied ADR programs along with the thousands of participants. His contributions will continue to influence the ADR professionals, the participants, the general public, the courts, and the ADR programs for years to come. He is truly a hero to many mediators and deserving of the John B. McMillan Distinguished Service Award.
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