Atlanta, GA — The Georgia Supreme Court Commission on Dispute Resolution and the Dispute Resolution Section of the State Bar of Georgia have awarded the 2015 Chief Justice Harold C. Clarke Award to Edith B. Primm, Esq., Director of the Justice Center of Atlanta, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the field of alternative dispute resolution in Georgia.
Chief Judge Sara Doyle, Georgia Court of Appeals and Commission member, presented the award to Ms. Primm on Thursday, December 10, at the Justice Center.
Primm has held senior staff positions at the Justice Center since 1979, just two years after its founding. Under her leadership, the Justice Center is now nationally and internationally known as a premier provider of ADR services and mediation training.
The Supreme Court of Georgia appointed Primm to the Commission in 2008 and appointed her Commission Chair in 2009. As Chair, Primm kept the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution – the Commission’s executive office – open and functioning while the Office’s state funding was cut from $365,000/year to zero. She implemented an aggressive strategy to make the Office self-supporting on fees. By keeping the state office open, she also guaranteed that the court-connected dispute resolution system could continue to operate to the benefit of litigants statewide.
After she ensured the Office’s fiscal and administrative independence, she resigned as Chair in 2012. She continues as a member of the Commission. In recognition of her leadership during the fiscal crisis, the Supreme Court of Georgia in 2012 issued a Resolution noting her distinguished service and contribution to the administration of justice in Georgia.
“Edie Primm is one of the pioneers of alternative dispute resolution,” said Commission Chair Judge Charles E. Auslander III, State Court of Clarke County. “Dispute resolution in the courts, in fact, dispute resolution in Georgia, owes its existence to visionary leaders like Ms. Primm and Justice Clarke.”
A lawyer by training, Primm has served as a mediator or arbitrator in many significant local and national cases, including: the Presidential Parkway case in Atlanta; gender discrimination cases involving Merrill Lynch and Smith Barney; breast implant cases against major manufacturers; and Dalkon Shield cases involving IUD devices made by AH robins.
Primm helped create the U.S. Postal Services’ mediation program in the Southeast, and she was one of the first mediators with U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Today, she her personal passion is mediating special education cases to make sure that children with special needs get the services they deserve from their schools.
Primm is only the second winner of the Clarke Award. The inaugural Clarke Award was given in 2013 to Ansley B. Barton, Esq., mediator, mediation trainer, and founding director of the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution.
The Commission and the Dispute Resolution Section created the Clarke Award in 2013 to honor the memory of the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold C. Clarke. From 1990 to 1994, when Clarke served as Chief Justice, he led the Supreme Court and the State Bar of Georgia in creating a system that helped courts manage their heavy dockets and that offered litigants productive ways to resolve their legal disputes outside of litigation. Today that system helps settle tens of thousands of civil cases a year through processes like mediation, arbitration, and early neutral evaluation.