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ODR Webinar

On October 17, I will be one of the speakers on an ODR webinar produced by the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission.

09
Sep 2017
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ODR and the Law

I have just been invited to speak at an international law conference in St. Petersburg, Russia.  The event will be held in the Hermitage museum (the old Winter Palace of the Tsars) in May, 2018.  I have tentatively accepted the invitation, pending logistics and arrangements.

05
Sep 2017
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Mary Parker Follett Award Announcement

The Association for Conflict Resolution has formally announced the Association’s award recipients for 2017.  I am honored to be the recipient of the Mary Parker Follett award.  The announcement can be found at this link:  Award.

ACR describes the award as follows:

The Mary Parker Follett Award is presented to an individual who has shown a passion and willingness to take risks; in tackling a contemporary problem or opportunity in the field of dispute resolution; has used innovative and experimental techniques; and draws upon the talents and ideas of all persons involved. Mary Parker Follett (1868-1933) was an early advocate of resolving conflict by encouraging parties to integrate interests into negotiations. During the mid-1920s, Follett shifted her focus from community group processes to the field of business. Business leaders sought her advice on how to manage their enterprises, and she became a featured speaker at national and international business conferences. Her talks were drawn together and published posthumously in the influential book Dynamic Administration.

Information about Mary Parker Follett can be found at this link:  Network.

22
Aug 2017
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ODR Forum Summary

Jie Zheng, a PhD researcher with the Department of Interdisciplinary Study of Law, Private Law and Business Law, at the University of Ghent/Universiteit Gent, has written a summary of the recent ODR Forum held in Paris.  Her summary can be found, with a mention of those of us who were speaking about ODR and ethics, here:  PARIS

09
Aug 2017
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VA Parenting Order Pilot Project

When the schedule is set, probably in early September, Daniel will be in Memphis to conduct introductory training for Veterans Affairs staff who will be responsible for referring vets to the IBO parenting orders access to justice pilot project.  This is one of the IBO access to justice projects to which Daniel is donating his time and expertise.  When all of the training is done and the attorney/mediators are in place, VA staff will be able to refer vets to an online portal that will give them information about parenting order issues, and will put them in touch with volunteer attorney/mediators who will help them develop agreements and prepare to request court orders.   The system is free to vets during the pilot and will be free going forward for vets referred from the VA if the project rolls out nation-wide with parenting orders and other issues.

29
Jul 2017
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Airbnb

In July, HSI principal Daniel Rainey and HSI associate Alan Tidwell were in Dublin, Ireland, presenting a training program for the customer service (CX, or Customer Experience) team at Airbnb.  The training was entitled, “Mediation Techniques for Customer Service.”

29
Jul 2017
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The Invisibles Project

The photo above is of the opening ceremony for the WJF, featuring an interview with Justice Ginsburg.  In a working session, Jeff Aresty, Jeff Thompson, Kristina Yasuda, Scott Cooper, and I were able to present the basic parameters of a pilot program that we have designed – “The Invisibles” – to a group of very experienced rule of law experts.  My intro to the presentation is here:  Invisibles Intro.

12
Jul 2017
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World Justice Forum V

On July 10-13, the World Justice Forum V will meet in the Hague.  I will be part of a panel discussing a digital identity and access to justice project we are calling “The Invisibles.”  The project will work to re-establish identities for refugees in a secure online space.  The project, if successful, could be expanded  to any undocumented “invisible” community.

26
Jun 2017
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Journal

The latest edition of the journal is now out – it was in the packets at the ODR Forum in Paris last week.  This edition includes an editorial from me as the issue editor-in-chief, and articles by:  Colin Rule and Any Schmitz, Ethan Katsh and Orna Rabinovich-Einy, Zbynek Loebl, Graham Ross, and Ana Goncalves and Irena Vanenkova.  The next issue, due out at the end of this year, will feature articles assessing the state of ODR in MENA (the Middle East/North Africa).

19
Jun 2017
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ODR Forum, cont.

These are the notes from my opening remarks at the standards panel last Tuesday in Paris:

To set the frame for our discussion today, let me start with a few words about what I see as two “branches” of ODR – Wholesale ODR and Retail ODR.

By using the term wholesale and retail I am not referring to the dollar amounts involved in the ODR transactions. Rather, I am referring to the numbers of cases handled by ODR technology, and the dependence on algorithms to drive wholesale ODR.

Wholesale ODR can be most easily seen as the e-commerce platforms that handle millions of cases per year (eBay – at least 60 million per year, Ali Baba – over 100 million cases per year), and in the rapidly emerging online court systems like the one Tyler Technologies wants to build using Modria. There are so many cases that it is imperative that algorithms are developed to handle cases without the intervention of human mediators.

Retail ODR can be thought of as the kind of work I have done with the NMB. We may only have 60-80 mediation cases open at one time, and we may do only 5000 or so arbitrations every year, but the dollar figures can be large, and the need for individualized attention to the parties and the issues is pressing. For example, there is a case going on now in mediation with the potential, if a consensual agreement is not reached, to have an economic impact on the US economy of up to 1.5 billion dollars per day. So, again, wholesale and retail in this context are not about dollars and cents, but about case throughput and the need for smart systems.

In the past it has been difficult to get ADR practitioners to accept strongly enforceable standards or rules. There are standards and model rules, and they can be encouraged and enforced to some degree, but the wider ADR community has traditionally seen strong standards of conduct as a force working against creativity in the field. This may be changing a bit with the graduation of masses of dispute resolution students from universities, many of whom want their credentials to mean something more than a 40 hour court-approved mediation course.

Standards have an entirely different footing in the wholesale world. There, it is much easier to get consensus about the need for strong standards, and perhaps even certification and accreditation. Why? I think because of four reasons.

1 – The raw number of people affected by wholesale systems is huge, and the resultant impact can be equally huge.

2 – Wholesale systems are driven by algorithms, and it is much easier to talk about binding rules for fourth party systems than it is for human third parties.

3 – The fear that designers and coders will build bias into their systems, intentionally or unintentionally. Alma Abdul-Hadi Jadallah and I wrote about this in a general sense for the 2005 Cairo ODR Forum.

4 – The nature of algorithms, particularly learning systems that move toward a singularity (the ability of code to itself write code), are perceived as potentially dangerous or harmful. The latest edition of the Administrative Law Journal in the US has an article arguing that the nature of algorithms makes it desirable to create a regulatory agency to oversee and control algorithm development and deployment. (The article is called “An FDA for Algorithms.”)

While fourth party development and algorithms may be not urgent matters for Retail ODR, there is one area in which I think there will be some crossover, and where algorithm development may soon impact, for good or bad, depending on your point of view, Retail ODR providers. That area involves Big Data and the algorithms that can mine information from data provided by practitioners. The third parties alone may have retail practices, but all of their data taken together can be mined for patterns, hidden meanings, suggested outcomes, etc.

But, for now, the essential difference between Wholesale ODR and Retail ODR in terms of standards is that Wholesale ODR standards seem aimed to address what the system should do, while Retail ODR standards seem to address what the human third party should be expected to do.

Why have standards in the first place? I think because whether we are talking about fourth parties or third parties, interveners should have a good idea of how they should behave, and those in conflict whom we serve deserve a solid understanding of how the intervening parties will and should behave.

16
Jun 2017
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