Home / Uncategorized / ODR Becoming “Normal”

Apr 15th


By danielrainey

Posted in Uncategorized
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I just attended the 2014 ABA Section of Dispute Resolution conference in Miami, Florida.  In addition to the weather (the first real Spring weather I’ve felt this year) there were other “warming” things about this conference.  First, of course, it was good to see colleagues face-to-face with whom I interact over the phone or online throughout most of the year.  But this year the attention to technology and the attendance at the two ODR panels on which I participated was heartening.  Ethan Katsh, Colin Rule, Jeff Aresty, and I conducted a panel entitled “Building an Online Justice System.”  In years past, the four of us have joked that we would be happy if the audience outnumbered the presenters at ODR panels.  This year, there was a good, knowledgeable crowd, with interest in the topic, and an awareness that things may, in fact, be changing a bit in the legal world.  The other panel on which I participated with Susan Exon (La Verne Law School in California) and Harold Coleman (AAA in Los Angeles) was at one of the worst time slots in the conference – mid-afternoon on the last day of the conference with a sunshine-filled day outside.  The room was packed to hear us talk about the fourth party impact on mediator ethics.  As Colin said at dinner one evening, we don’t have the “is ODR legit?” discussions any more – we still have the “what is ODR and how do I fit in?” discussions, but there seems to be general acceptance of a conviction that some of us have had for a long time:  the ubiquitous nature of information and communication technology in our society cannot help changing the practice of conflict engagement in all its forms.

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