This year’s International ODR Forum will be held in New York City, June 3-5, at PACE Law School. The lineup of speakers is impressive, and the agenda explores the relationship between online dispute resolution technology and the legal system. On the afternoon of the 4th, I will speak on a panel addressing issues related to ethics and ODR.
Molly Dow, the PeaceTones Executive Director, just let us know that PeaceTones has been shortlisted for the NAMATI Justice Prize. In the words of the NAMATI organization, “We are recognizing grassroots organizations, large and small, across the globe, who are finding ways to put law into people’s hands.” The institutional partners for the prize are: BRAC, The World Justice Project, and UNDP. PeaceTones has come a long way from that conversation Jeff Aresty and I had in Liverpool back in 2007.
The Winter 2015 edition of the ABA Dispute Resolution Magazine (Volume 21, Number 2) is just out. This edition is all about technology and dispute resolution, with articles by Colin Rule, Ethan Katsh and Orna Rabinovich-Einy, and others, including me. A copy of my “Glimmers on the Horizon” article, about looming ethical issues in ODR, can be found on the “selected publications” tab on this web site.
The InternetBar.Org (IBO) will host a hackathon in Austin, Texas, on February 21-22. Holistic Solutions, Inc. (HSI) is one of the sponsors. Here’s the description of the event posted by IBO:
Tech for Justice is a concept developed by the Internet Bar Organization that emphasizes the importance and necessity of using technology to address our most pressing concerns related to access to justice. Following the success of our initial Tech for Justice hackathon in San Francisco, the Tech for Justice Austin Hackathon will be the initial implementation of our + model. This legal hackathon will gather programmers, lawyers, technologists, UI& UE designers, public and private sector organizations and government agencies to tackle how to allow EVERYONE to avail themselves of our justice system, or to find methods of achieving informal justice. With buy-in and support from leadership of the Texas state legal system, the hackathon will put shoulder-to-shoulder those working on the front lines of access to justice for the poor and the powerless with young innovators, programmers and entrepreneurs.
When: Feb. 21 – 22, 2015 – 9AM – 8PM
Location: Capital Factory, 701 Brazos Street, Austin, TX 78701
Partners: TX Supreme Court, TX Judicial Council, TX Office of Court Administration, Texas Legal Services Center, Legal Services Corporation, National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution, Internet Bar Organization.
The hackathon web site is at: Hackathon+
Today, Friday the 13th of February – an auspicious date – at the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law Midwinter Meeting I will present a talk based on the theme of “What We Should Know About the Ombudsman.” The talk will use the development of the Army MEDCOM Ombudsman program to illustrate best practices in the design and implementation of organizational Ombudsman programs. For a copy of the notes I will use in the presentation, click here: Ombudsman Notes Please keep in mind that these are notes from which I will be speaking, not a full set of comments.
I also will sit in on a session on arbitration to discuss my recent article in the the ABA Dispute Resolution magazine examining the use of ODR platforms for labor arbitration.
The UNCITRAL Working Group III (Online Dispute Resolution) is meeting this week in New York to continue discussions about a system to handle cross-border e-commerce disputes. I will be at the meetings for the first couple of days, with a student from SMU who is interning with Youstice, one of the European platforms in line to do cross-border work in the EU.
The latest edition of GPSolo magazine (January-February 2015), contains an article by Jeff Aresty, Robin Page West, and me about the advantages that various ODR platforms can have for small firms and sole practitioners. GPSolo is the publication of the ABA’s Solo, Small Firm, and General Practice Division. The article can be found on pages 22-26 of Volume 32, Number 1, or in the online filing cabinet of publications on this web site.
This afternoon Jeff Aresty, Don Philbin, Colin Rule, and I presented to the Texas Bar’s “Alternative Dispute Resolution 2015″ conference. Colin and Don demonstrated ODR platforms and I spoke briefly about the impact of technology on third party ethics. Basically, I suggested that the platforms Don and Colin were demonstrating would become more prevalent in the future, but that at the moment technology of some kind is used by all or almost all lawyers and third parties. My message was my usual one – any use of technology has an impact on the ethics of practice. I concentrated on confidentiality and security (with a focus on record keeping), and third party competence – those are the issues that I think are most on the minds of practitioners, and the most critical in dealing with parties. The presentation today was a short version of comments that I have made many times before, and which can be found in some of the publications on this site.
As my friends, colleagues, and students will attest, I don’t often seem at a loss for words. The attack on Charlie Hebdo, however, left me numbed by the repetition of killing for truth, and prompted me to draw what I would guess are a couple of dozen quick sketches of Charlie Brown in various shades of sorrow, anger, disgust, and, perhaps finally, resignation.
Every time one of these terror events occurs there seems to be a renewal of the assertion that the Muslim community does not publicly condemn those who kill in the name of Allah. Maybe, just maybe, a glimmer of silver lining this time could be that not only has the Muslim community spoken out quickly and loudly, some who have accused them of silence before are actually hearing the condemnations. Maybe that’s a little bit of silver lining. But it’s pretty cold comfort.
On one end of the spectrum in the US, Bill Maher, a noted and loudmouthed liberal, offers the opinion that with so many “bad apples” there must be “something wrong with the orchard.” At the other end, conservatives of all stripes have mouthed the expected words – not all Muslims are terrorists – but their actions, too, push us further toward division, suspicion, isolation, and intolerance. Overall, there are a lot of voices shouting out condemnation for the acts in Paris – and, as usual, the only ones I am sure are not listening at all are the ones who committed the acts, and the ones who will come after them to commit more.
I’m as sad, and angry, and bewildered as Charlie. And it cements in my mind the conviction that there is nothing so dangerous as an individual who is absolutely sure he or she knows the truth.
January brings two ODR courses. I will teach a short course in ODR for the McGeorge School of Law (U. of the Pacific) in early January, and then an online ODR course will run with Werner Institute students at Creighton University from January through early March.