Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee
The Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee is concerned with developments and optimum use of all forms of alternative dispute resolution, including arbitration, mediation, summary jury trials, mini-trials, early neutral evaluation, as well as effective settlement and negotiation techniques. Alternative dispute resolution is considered both within the formal litigation process and pre-suit. The committee sponsors numerous programs to enhance the advocate's skills in all dispute resolution procedures because knowledge of ADR techniques is particularly essential for trial lawyers.
The Sections of Dispute Resolution and Litigation will hold the webinar “Solutions for Common Ethics in ADR” on September 30, 2015. This webinar will address such questions as, “What ethics rules govern arbitrators?” and “Do any ethic rules govern foreign counsel participating in an arbitration in the United States?” For more information and registration please visit the Event page.
This year’s theme for ABA Section of Dispute Resolution’s Mediation Week is “Mediation: Success, Challenges, Trends and the Next Generation: Looking to the past, present and future.” Programs held during ABA Mediation Week will provide neutrals, advocates, and policymakers the tools necessary to bridge the gap that often prevents amicable resolution of disputes. For more information and access to the Toolkit of resources please visit the Event page.
The Section of International Law will hold their Section Fall Meeting in Montreal QC, Canada on October 20–24, 2015. This event will include several different ADR topics such as "The Wide World of Sports Mediation" to "Evidence in International Arbitration and Implications for Confidentiality." Also there will be a discussion on the online dispute resolution projects in Canada and European Union and the viability and possible effects of these new dispute resolution experiments on cross-border civil disputes. For more information and registration please visit the Event page.
The American Arbitration Association has revised the AAA’s Construction Arbitration Rules and Mediation Procedures effective July 1, 2015. Among the significant changes is the addition of a mediation step. Subject to the ability of any party to opt out of the mediation process, all cases with claims that exceed $100,000 are expected to proceed to mediation at some point during the arbitration. The updated rules include amendments that directly address preferences of users for a more streamlined, cost-effective, and tightly managed arbitration process that avoids the high costs of litigation.
The National Futures Association reports that it has seen a slight increase in claims for the first half of 2015 compared to last year. NFA received 26 claims as of June 30, 2015. Please visit NFA's website for the most recent statistical data on NFA arbitration filings.
Delaware legislators recently passed the Delaware Rapid Arbitration Act. This Act gives business entities formed in Delaware greater capacity to resolve business disputes in a rapid and efficient manner through voluntary arbitration conducted by expert arbitrators under strict timeliness. To ensure that no person is subject to the Act without his or her express and voluntary consent, the Act precludes its use in cases where there is a danger that vulnerable parties’ rights are at stake. Thus, this Act may not be used to adjudicate controversies between business entities and consumers of their goods and services, or controversies involving persons who have not expressly agreed to arbitrate the matter at issue. This law will go in effect May 4, 2015.
On February 26, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved a proposed rule change to amend Rule 12100 and 13100 of the Customer and Industry Codes to refine and reorganize the definitions of “non-public” arbitrator and “public” arbitrator. According to the Notice of Filing, dated July 3, 2014, the proposed rule change was designed to address concerns regarding the perceived neutrality of the public arbitrator roster raised by both investor representatives and financial industry representatives.
On September 18–20, 2014, the Section of Litigation held its annual Fall Leadership Meeting in Nashville, TN. The ADR Committee was represented by Cochairs Bruce Rubin and Louis Burke, Web Editors Mitchell Marinello and Chris Moore, Eric English, member and Chair of the Settlement Counsel sub-committee, Marnie Huff, member and Chair of the Membership Subcommittee, and Marcos Ramos, member and designee from the Section’s Diverse Leaders Academy. The main purpose of the meeting was to prepare a plan for next year’s activities, including some new initiatives that the Section has encouraged committees to undertake.
The ADR Committee developed an ambitious plan for speaker presentations, Roundtable discussions, and published materials for the coming year, including practice tips to be published regularly in the ADR newsletter and on the ADR webpage. We also were approached by several other committees interested in partnering with us in making presentations. We would greatly appreciate your participation and assistance in volunteering ideas and helping us prepare upcoming programs.
The ADR newsletter and webpage each continue to receive excellent quarterly evaluations from the ABA. We would really like your help to keep our track record going strong. Please volunteer to write an article or news and development piece—or skip a step and just write something and send it to us. It is a great way to market yourself and to build your ADR practice. If you need ideas for articles, please contact one of the web editors. They will be pleased to send you a list of potential topics.
You can contribute articles and case notes for our website and/or the next issue of our newsletter. Writing an article or case note is not time consuming, raises awareness of ADR issues and relevant cases for your colleagues, and helps market your practice to other practitioners.
Even as the benefits of belonging to the ABA continue to grow, our membership is declining. There are many reasons, chief among them that there are fewer law students. That's why the ABA Section of Litigation is launching a program to send members to law schools to tout the benefits of membership. We're looking for ways to attract newer lawyers to the ADR Committee.
To be sure, newer lawyers will often get to represent clients in arbitrations and mediations, and we have published articles on what to know when you embark on your first one. But what can experienced lawyers, arbitrators, and mediators do beyond writing and speaking about "how to do it?" And should veteran arbitrators and mediators have a monopoly on those roles? If not, how does a newcomer get the name recognition and business opportunities that come with it?
Our committee is looking for ways to help newer lawyers, arbitrators, and mediators. If you have thoughts on this, please let us know. Send an email to Bruce Rubin or Carlos Rodriguez Vidal. Are you aware of any programs that aim at that goal? Are you a mediator who would let someone looking for mediator experience to accompany you in a mediation session? Do any court panels of arbitrators in your jurisdiction have a selection process that might need improvement to increase the odds of opportunities for comparative "rookies"? Are you connected to an arbitration or mediation organization that has targeted the need to include newer arbitrators and mediators?
We are your new committee cochairs. This message will bring you up to date on our activities.
First, we encourage you to join one of the many subcommittees we have. This is the best way to become more involved and more visible within the committee. All you need to do is send an email to Bruce Rubin to indicate which subcommittee or subcommittees you are willing to join. All of our subcommittees relate to arbitration and mediation. The specific subcommittees are:
1. Sound Advice—this committee arranges for podcasts of 5 to 10 minutes on topics of interest
2. Roundtable—this committee organizes, with help from the ABA, webinars that feature guest speakers on topics of interest. The programs typically last an hour
12. Settlement Counsel
Second, we always need articles and “news and development” pieces for our quarterly newsletter and website. Please contact Jean Baker, our Publications Subcommittee cochair, or call her at (202) 223-7093. She can let you know if the topic has been taken, and what the ABA publication requirements are.
We look forward to meeting you and working with you.
Bruce Rubin and Carlos Rodriguez-Vidal
Cochairs, Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee
Our active subcommittees include:
- Book Task Force
- Settlement Counsel
Find contact information for committee and subcommittee chairs: