On Friday, February 24, I will give the keynote address: “Technology and Mediation: Evolution, not Revolution.” I will also work with Jeff Aresty to conduct a workshop on “Access to Justice in the Digital Age.”
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.
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:
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.
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
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?
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.
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
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.
The Power Point notes are available at this link:
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.