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IJODR

The latest edition of the International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution has been published – I served as the editor-in-chief for this volume.  The next edition of the journal should be published concurrent with the June, 2017, International Forum on Online Dispute Resolution.  Here is my editor’s introduction to the current volume:

This edition of the Journal has three points of focus, all relevant to the continuing development of Online Dispute Resolution, and the integration of technology into all aspects of conflict engagement. 

First, the ODR Forum in China prompted commentary from two experienced ADR and ODR scholars and practitioners. Carrie Menkel-Meadow and Colin Rule, through a point–counterpoint exchange, explore the fundamental question of whether Online Dispute Resolution is Alternative Dispute Resolution. Menkel-Meadow has been referred to as one of the ‘mothers’ of Alternative Dispute Resolution, and Colin Rule was certainly ‘there at creation’ for Online Dispute Resolution, so it is hard to imagine two worthier advocates to debate where the continually blurring line between ODR and ADR now lies.

The second point of focus is the ongoing discussion of the state of ethics and standards of practice related to the use of technology for conflict engagement.  Leah Wing, Co-Director of the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution, has contributed an essay addressing ‘Ethical Principles for ODR’. Her essay approaches the subject of ethics and standards with the broadest view, discussing the general ethical principles that, she argues, should guide the development and practice of ODR. Daniel Rainey and his students at Southern Methodist University (SMU) have produced a set of Model Standards for the practice of mediation, annotated to address the impact of using information and communication technology to conduct mediation. Their work is framed by the basic Model Standards approved by the Association for Conflict Resolution, the American Bar Association and the American Arbitration Association. Susan Nauss Exon, Professor of Law and former Dean at La Verne College of Law, joined the SMU group and added annotations and recommendations regarding revision of the Model Standards, and perhaps creation of a new set of Model Standards for fourth parties.

Finally, two articles address the impact of ODR in international environments, one commercial and one more traditionally oriented to ADR. Jie Zheng discusses the role of ODR in commercial disputes in China, while Frank Fowlie, the inaugural Ombudsman for ICANN, recounts his work with the Ombudsman of Balochistan, Pakistan. In both cases, the ability to integrate technology into complex dispute resolution systems in varied cultural contexts demonstrates opportunities for the future of ODR.

17
Jan 2017
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Texas Association of Mediators Conference

The Texas Association of Mediators will hold their annual conference in San Antonio next month.  I am scheduled to deliver the plenary keynote, and Jeff Aresty and I are scheduled to conduct a session on access to justice.  Here are the conference program descriptions of both:

Plenary Keynote:  Mediation and Technology:  Evolution, not Revolution

Since the introduction of the desktop computer, information and communication technology (ICT) has become an integral part of our social existence and our professional existence. Like many fundamental changes, ICT has affected the practice of mediation, and conflict engagement generally, in an evolutionary way. The plenary presentation and discussion will focus on the impact of that evolutionary process and highlight the significant impact the use of ICT has had on the ethics and standards of practice for mediators.  The plenary presentation may also suggest that we, as third parties, should engage in a little creative revolution in the use of ICT.

Access to Justice in the Digital Age

Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) was first developed to handle unique disputes created online during e-commerce transactions that could only be handled by an online dispute resolution system. Today, perhaps the most rapidly developing area of ODR is that related to the justice system and access to justice. The workshop will address the revolutionary work being done in access to justice, and will particularly address the role of non-lawyer third parties as a key element in improving access to justice.

17
Jan 2017
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2017 International ODR Forum

Planning is well underway for the 2017 Online Dispute Resolution Forum, to be held in Paris on June 12 and 13.  The Forum will be convened by a partnership of the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution (NCTDR), UNESCO, the ICC and others, and will feature speakers and platform demonstrations from around the world.  A one page information flyer can be obtained here:  ODR 2017

 

20
Dec 2016
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ODR Class

mcg

From January 4-7, 2017, I’ll be at the University of the Pacific in Sacramento, California, teaching an Online Dispute Resolution class to students in the McGeorge School of Law.

17
Nov 2016
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Thoughts from W. B. Yeats – Timely Again

THE SECOND COMING – 1919 (As published first in 1920)

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

10
Nov 2016
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Access To Justice – Self Represented Litigants

scv_bldg2

In 2103, the Supreme Court of Virginia created the Virginia Access to Justice Commission.  One of the sub-committees, Chaired by Judge Deborah V. Bryan, focuses on self-represented litigants.  One would assume that, because of my work with the integration of technology into dispute resolution systems, and my ongoing interest in access to justice, I have just been asked to join the Commission’s sub-committee.

24
Oct 2016
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Technology and Conflict Engagement

mq1

Today I will join David Larson’s Hamline University Law School class to discuss technology and dispute engagement.  I’ll focus on three basic issues:  the NMB’s use of technology in mediation and arbitration, the annotated Model Rules for mediation, and the impact of technology on access to justice.  Here is a link to the power point handout for the class:  technology-dispute-engagement-and-access-to-justice, and here is a link to the latest version of the annotated Model Rules:  model-standards-annotated-for-odr-september-2016-clean-copy

14
Sep 2016
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Access to Justice and ICT

bowen-e1461191972392

This morning, I was privileged to be a guest speaker at the William H. Bowen School of Law, the University of Arkansas Little Rock.  I was asked to speak on the topic of Technology and Access to Justice, with an emphasis on mediation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR).  A copy of my speaking notes (not a fully written article – just speaking notes) are available at the link below.

AccesstoJusticeandTechnology

The Power Point notes are available at this link:

Technology and A2J Handout

30
Aug 2016
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Model Rules for Mediation

As a way to start a conversation about the impact of technology – online and offline – on the various practices that make up conflict engagement in all its forms, I have worked with a group of SMU graduate students to draft a set of annotations to the Model Rules for Mediation published by the ABA, ACR, and AAA.   At the moment, at least one law review article is being written in response to the annotations, and they will be the subject of discussion at several upcoming conferences, including, I hope, the 2017 ODR Forum in Paris next June.  To see a copy of the annotations, click on the link below.

MODEL STANDARDS ANNOTATED FOR ODR AUGUST 2016

24
Aug 2016
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Another New Book

Routledge

Routledge has just announced a new, soon-to-be-released, book:  The Mediation Handbook.  A preliminary look at the chapters and authors can be found at this link:  Handbook.   A pre-release order form can be found at this link:  Release.  Chapter 2, Online Technology:  The New Frontier for Mediation and Conflict Engagement, was co-authored by Alan Tidwell and me – an excerpt from the chapter is included below, as a gentle advertisement for the book.

Information and communication technologies (ICT) now link the globe, yet even with their tremendous growth and innovation we have barely begun to feel the depth of their impact. The International Telecommunications Union announced that as of 2015 “… there are more than 7 billion mobile cellular subscriptions worldwide, up from less than 1 billion in 2000. Globally 3.2 billion people are using the Internet, of which 2 billion are from developing countries” (ITU, 1, 2015). The fledgling world of online dispute resolution, including mediation, peacemaking and peacebuilding, has yet to be fully realized. The impact of this ever increasingly networked world has the potential to remake conflict engagement.

Any observer of the conflict engagement movement would acknowledge its diverse and wide-ranging character. Mediators, peace activists, lawyers, aid workers, community organizers, and more coalesce under the broad conflict engagement banner. That same diversity of practice and perspective is replicated in the world of online dispute resolution (ODR). Before delving into the diverse ways in which technology is being used by conflict engagers, we offer a definition and make two caveats. Firstly, online dispute resolution was initially used to describe the ways in which the internet could be used to facilitate mediation, negotiation, or other similar processes in the realm of e-commerce. Over time, however, ODR has broadened to include the use of any ICT through the broad range of dispute resolution and prevention. We suggest that the most useful definition is that ODR is the intelligent application of information and communication technology to any of the varied modes that make up the practice of conflict engagement. Following that, the first caveat concerns our use of the phrase conflict engagement to include a broad church of practitioners, scholars and readers including those interested in alternative dispute resolution, mediation, peacemaking, peacebuilding and many more. We do this because there are many ways that we, as third parties, engage with those who are in the cycle leading up to conflict, are in active conflict, and are dealing with the aftermath of conflict—and not all of our intervention efforts are aimed toward resolution. So, we will use the broader term to suggest that the entire sweep of conflict engagement is, and should be, affected by the use of ICT. The second caveat is that technology has been an integral part of conflict engagement since its inception. It simply was not often noticed. Just as a fish does not notice water, people have a hard time recognizing the ways in which the technology surrounding them affects their work. Our argument is that because of the ubiquitous nature of ICT in our everyday lives, it is absolutely inevitable that ODR technology will play a central role in all forms of conflict engagement—especially for our purposes here the practice of mediation—as we move further into the 21st Century.
Mediators, and indeed all conflict engagement professionals, do three things wherever they work: they help parties manage communication; they help parties deal with and understand data; and they help parties manage group dynamics. Three of the basic features of information and communication technology and ODR are that they create and use a vast array of communication channels; they help us deal with and understand information in ways not possible in the past; and they help us redefine and expand the concept of what a group is. Given these parallels, how can ODR technology not basically impact mediation and conflict engagement?
06
Aug 2016
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