Date(s) - 02/11/22
11:30 am - 1:30 pm

COLERA Virtual Arbitration Academy – Session 6

Evidence, Examination, Opening & Closing Statements

Virtual Meeting

COLERA is offering “free arbitration skills training” to our members.  Each session is approximately two (2) hours in duration and will begin at 11:30 a.m.

Evidence and Examination

Labor and Management advocates have investigated and prepared the theory/theme of their respective cases and are now at the point of arbitration. A substantial number of hours have been devoted to addressing the issue(s) throughout the grievance process. Make all this time and effort count by putting your best case forward when it comes to preparing your witnesses to testify as well as dealing with evidentiary issues that may arise during the course of the hearing. This presentation will cover the fundamentals of evidence-based issues, including making and meeting objections, parol evidence, and hearsay. Guidance and suggestions will also be discussed regarding witness preparation for testimony on direct examination and effective cross-examination.


Our speaker for this session is Arbitrator Susan Fernandez.

Ms. Fernandez received her BA in 1979 from The Ohio State University and her Juris Doctor degree in 1987 from the University of Akron School of Law. She is a SERB neutral and is on the roster of arbitrators with the American Arbitration Association and Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services. Ms. Fernandez is a panel member with the State of Ohio and Ohio Civil Service Employees Association (OCSEA) AFSCME. Ms. Fernandez was an adjunct law professor from 2011 to 2018. During that time, she taught labor law at the University of Akron School of Law and at Cleveland State University, Cleveland Marshall School of Law.

Ms. Fernandez was also a 30-year career attorney (1987-2017) at the National Labor Relations Board, Region 8, Cleveland, Ohio. While at the NLRB she held the positions of Field Attorney, Senior Trial Attorney, and Supervisory Attorney. Ms. Fernandez investigated, prosecuted, and settled a wide variety of unfair labor charges filed by employers, labor organizations, and employees. She served as a hearing officer and decision writer in representation cases. Ms. Fernandez also served as an NLRB speaker at OSBA sponsored programs as well as employer, labor organization, and civic groups. She is a member of the American Bar Association, Ohio State Bar Association, Ohio State Bar Foundation Fellow, and the Central Ohio Labor and Employment Relations Association.

Opening and Closing Statements

A good opening statement provides the first impressions of a case, and the best opening statement provides a road map to the end result.  This session will discuss how opening statements do so by telling the facts of your case in an understandable format.  Our presenter will teach you how to tell a story that results in your ending.  She will discuss what information should be shared, how to layout the rule analysis, and what information should be withheld until your closing statements.  She will also discuss how to create your closing statements, and how they differ from your opening while highlighting the pros and cons of oral vs. written closing statements. Lastly, she will talk about remedies, and clearly request the desired remedy in your closing statement.


Our speaker for this session is Arbitrator Sandra Mendel Furman.

Sandra Mendel Furman – NAA, Arbitrator and Mediator, SERB Fact-Finder, and Conciliator.  Neutral since 1979, Arbitrator Mendel Furman has an active mediation and arbitration practice in labor/employment, equal employment opportunity, fact-finding, conciliation, and is a Rule XVI approved mediator in several Ohio courts.  Her entire practice involves ADR.  Arbitrator Mendel Furman works with industries including aviation, health care, education, police, fire, manufacturing, defense, automotive, public service (municipal, county, township, and state), communications, cemetery, mental health/developmental disability, grocery, postal service, bakery, railroad, transportation, water and sewer, and veterans (past/present).  In addition, Arbitrator Mendel Furman is a Member of Arbitrator Panels for the SEIU/RESCARE, OSTA/State of Ohio, SEIU/State of Ohio, and AFGE/DOD.  She has sat on multiple other panels in her career, including the Postal Service, OEA, and OCSEA.  She is also a member of the roster of arbitrators for the AAA, SERB, FMCS, and AMS. In addition to her more than twenty-four years of experience as a full-time neutral, Arbitrator Mendel Furman also has past employment experience as in-house counsel for Ohio Council 8, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, and the OEA.  In addition, she was in private practice from 1987-1992 and from 1994-1997.  Arbitrator Furman attended Brandeis University where she received a Bachelor of Arts and Capital University where she received her Juris Doctor.  Arbitrator Mendel Furman is a frequent CLE/panel presenter at FMCS and SERB seminars.  She trains and coaches parties in multiple ADR areas.  In addition, she is a member of the NAA, COLERA, and the Columbus Bar Association.  She is also an avid reader, dog owner, and parent of a perfect adult child.


Meeta Bass, COLERA President, and Arbitrator/Mediator

Pricing and Registration

This webinar is free of charge for COLERA members. Nonmembers can still participate at a cost of $25 for each session. Whether you are a member or a non-member, please book your seat below to reserve your spot and receive the information to join the webinar.

Event Recording

A video recording will become available to COLERA members after the event; please check the members’ only video archive following the event.

Webinar Join Information

This online event will take place via Zoom meeting. Please book your seat below and you will receive the Zoom join information via email to save. Please keep the Zoom details and join link secure and do not forward, distribute, or share in a public space to discourage unknown individuals from being disruptive.

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