Remembering Our Beginnings
by Terry Trantina, Esq.
From my files as the Inn's first Executive Director, are a few old items that tell
some of the story.
The idea for what came to be called the Justice Marie L. Garibaldi American Inn of
Court for Alternative Dispute Resolution was conceived by Bob Margulies, myself
and Judge Harper as we sat during a meeting and presentation of the New Jersey
Bar's Dispute Resolution Committee in 1997. We were discussing how to get
ADR going in the State of New Jersey and we all came to the idea at once of
starting an Inn dedicated to ADR. Both the Judge and Bob were very
familiar with the Inns and I was familiar with how the State of Florida really
got the ball rolling in that state, i.e., getting buy in from the state's law
firms. New Jersey's law firms were big supporters of the Inns and an Inn
seemed the way to educate and start ADR from within so to speak. Bob was partnered
with Hal Braff who was very prominent within the Inns. My partner was
Herman Michels, recently retired as the head of NJ's appellate courts and one
of the most respected judges in the state. Judge Harper was still on the bench
and knew everyone in the big law firms as did Judge Michels. Judge Michels
asked Justice Garibaldi, who was still on the NJ Supreme Court and was
responsible for "CDR" (complimentary dispute resolution) in NJ.
I received word directly from Justice Garibaldi by phone that she was okay with
it. I was sitting in my law office and picked up the phone and said "hello,
this is Terry Trantina, how can I help you?" Justice Garibaldi responded
very pleasantly "Hi, this is Marie." I said "Marie who?" She said
just as pleasantly "this is Marie Garibaldi." I immediately stood up at my desk
(as if I was in court) and said "How can I help you Justice
Garibaldi?" She said that Herman had conveyed the request that her
name be used for a new Inn dedicated to ADR and that although usually Inns were
named after Judges that had passed away, she did not mind at all and thanked us
for thinking of her. Thereafter, she attended a few meetings as an
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Please also see our 20th anniversary commemorative video at this link.