2009 Awardee

HARRISBURG (May 15, 2009) - The Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee will present its Sir Francis Bacon Award to Pittsburgh lawyer Ann L. Begler, founder and principal of the Begler Group, on June 2 during the association's Annual Meeting at the Hilton Pittsburgh.

The Sir Francis Bacon Award recognizes an individual who has made a significant impact in bringing mediation and other forms of dispute resolution to Pennsylvania. Sir Francis Bacon (1516-1626) was a Renaissance writer and served British monarchs in a legal capacity as knight, attorney general and solicitor. He authored the essay, "Of Negotiating," which featured the frequently-quoted line, "It is generally better to deal by speech than by letter, and by the mediation of a third than by a man's self."

Active in the PBA since her graduation from law school, Begler is a founding member and recent co-chair of the PBA Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee. The committee addresses current issues of mediation, arbitration and other alternative dispute resolution processes, including mediation and arbitration of private and court-connected alternative dispute resolution programs. The committee conducts professional education programs in alternative dispute resolution and studies and recommends standards of practice. The committee also proposes and monitors legislation regarding alternative dispute resolution.

Begler is one of the planners and designers of the PBA Law Firm Dispute Resolution Program.

She facilitated the PBA Commission on Women in the Profession's first retreat and has served on the commission's executive committee.

As former chair of the PBA Equal Rights Committee, Begler secured funds to partner with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to conduct a gender bias study, which culminated in the court's creation of the Committee on Racial and Gender Bias and the later formation of the Interbranch Commission on Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness.

Since 1994, she has served in the PBA House of Delegates for Zone 12 (Allegheny County). From 1997 to 2000, she also served on the PBA Board of Governors representing the same zone.

In addition, she has been active with the PBA Committee on Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility, PBA Family Law Section and PBA Health Law Committee, among others.

In June of 2007, Begler was presented with the Anne X. Alpern Award by the PBA Commission on Women in the Profession for her lifelong work with the association, her legal efforts on behalf of sexual assault victims, her extensive contribution to furthering alternative dispute resolution and her ongoing mentoring of other lawyers. She also was presented a special President's Award at the 2007 PBA Annual Meeting.

Begler has supported a number of the Allegheny County Bar Association's committees and sections, including its Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution and Family Law Section.

She also is active in several sections of the American Bar Association.

Begler's firm, the Begler Group, provides mediation, advanced facilitation and organization change management services. Begler is also of counsel to the Pittsburgh law firm of Frank, Bails, Murcko, Gubinsky and Gale P.C.

In addition to her ongoing private practice, Begler serves as a mediator for the Pennsylvania Superior Court's Mediation Program in the Western District. Begler is a mediator for the EEOC and is on the ADR Panel for the Western District Court's ADR Program. Begler served on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's Committee on Medical Malpractice Mediation. Her organizational consultation practice includes work with family-owned and other privately-owned businesses and professional practices, as well as with a range of nonprofit corporation and municipal entities.

She has written about mediation, conflict resolution and organizational change for professional publications and has lectured frequently on the subjects before other lawyers and professionals.

Begler is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University School of Law. She has completed certificate programs in organizational development and group process facilitation.

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access to legal services; and serve the 29,000 lawyers who are members of the association.