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.
Registration for the Section of Dispute Resolution webinar on mediation is now open. This CLE webinar, “Reflective Practitioner Group for Mediators: A New Way to Come Together,” will discuss the newest initiative of reflective practitioner. For more information and registration please visit the Event page.
Registration for the Section of Dispute Resolution program “Arbitration Case Law-Annual Update Webinar” is now open. A panel of experts will discuss not only the United States Supreme Court rulings on arbitration but also the recent class action arbitration, FINRA and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. For more information and registration please visit the Event page.
Registration for the ABA Section of International of Law 8th Annual Conference on the Resolution of CIS-Related Business Disputes is now open. Panelists will discuss the latest trends and practical tips as well as the new legislation that will take effect in September 2016. After the five breakout sessions, attendees will be able to take part in open mic debate. For more information and registration please visit the Event page.
On August 22, 2016, the American Bankers Association, The Consumer Bankers Association and the Financial Services Roundtable (collectively, the “Associations”) submitted a letter conveying the Associations’ comments on the CFPB’s proposed rulemaking on Arbitration Agreements No CFPB-2016-0020 submitted May 24, 2016. The Associations believe that the rule is not in the public interest or for the protection of consumers, and it is not consistent with the Bureau’s March 2015 Empirical Study of consumer arbitration.
On August 3, 2016, FINRA filed with the SEC a proposed rule change to amend FINRA Rule 12504 of the Code of Arbitration Procedure for Customer Disputes and FINRA Rule 13504 of the Code of Arbitration Procedure for Industry Disputes. The proposed rule change will provide a means for arbitrators to act upon a motion to dismiss a party or claim prior to the conclusion of a party’s case in chief if the arbitrators determine that the non-moving party previously brought a claim regarding the same dispute against the same party, and the dispute was fully and finally adjudicated on the merits and memorialized in an order, judgment, award or decision. For more information please visit the FINRA page.
Recently the American Arbitration Association (AAA) launched a service that does not require parties to name the AAA as the organization that will administer arbitration between the parties in order to gain access to the AAA’s resources. The AAA’s À La Carte Services do not require end-to-end case administration, but permit parties to use various services as stand-alone procedures. Parties are able to pick and choose the processes for their specific needs. One of the benefits to litigants is that they will not have to incur the costs of a full-blown arbitration but can still use the resources of the AAA as needed. For more information please visit the AAA’s website.
The ADR Committee is very proud to announce the formation of two new Subcommittees: the Women in Dispute Resolution Committee and the Dispute Counseling and Advocacy Committee. Please email the Committee Cochairs (Tiffani Lee, Louis Burke, Harout Samra) if you are interested in joining either of these great new subcommittees.
According to the Huffington Post, on March 11, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education proposed regulations that would bar pre-dispute arbitration agreements covering for-profit educational institutions.
"The Department of Education tonight released a new draft of regulations on student debt relief, in advance of the third round of rulemaking meetings to be held next week, and in a press release accompanying the proposal the Department appears to take a hard line against the fine-print language that for-profit colleges have been using to force students to resolve their disputes with a school through secretive arbitration proceedings, rather than in court.”
Recently Director Richard Cordray of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) gave a speech at the American Constitution Society as part of the Access to Justice Series. During this speech Director Cordray talked about the effects on consumers of mandatory pre-dispute arbitration clauses and the steps the CFPB is taking to mitigate what they believe are harmful effects of these clauses. For the text of the Director’s speech please visit the CFPB page.
Governor Edmund Brown of California recently vetoed a bill (AB 465) passed by the California legislature that would have prohibited the arbitration of claims arising under the state Labor Code in employment agreements. In vetoing the bill, Governor Brown referred to the fact that most studies show that arbitration is faster and less expensive than litigation and that evidence about the outcomes of employee arbitration vs. litigation is unclear. He also noted that California already has many procedural protections for employees in arbitration and that a blanket ban on mandatory arbitration agreements is likely to be in violation of the Federal Arbitration Act and would merely lead to expensive litigation and uncertainty. For more information see Edward Lozowick’s January 15, 2016, Practice Points.
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.
Welcome you to Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee’s webpage!
We encourage you to join and be involved in the ADR Committee. We have an ambitious plan for the year ahead and hope that you will be a part of it.
The best way to become more involved and visible within the committee is to join one of our many subcommittees. Just email the Committee’s cochairs (Tiffani Lee, Louis Burke, Harout Samra) to let us know which subcommittees you are interested in joining. The specific subcommittees are:
- Sound Advice: This committee arranges for podcasts of 5 to 10 minutes on topics of interest
- Roundtable: This committee organizes webinars that feature guest speakers on topics of interest.
- Settlement Counsel
In addition, we consider articles and “news and development” pieces for our quarterly newsletter and website on a rolling basis throughout the year. Please let us know if you are interested in publishing with us.
These are just a few highlights. There is a lot going on in our committee, and we want to encourage you to become an active member. Please reach out to us if you would like to increase your level of involvement or have any great ideas about member benefits we could offer.
We look forward to meeting you!
Louis F. Burke, Tiffani G. Lee, and Harout Jack Samra
Cochairs, Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee
Our active subcommittees include:
- Book Task Force
- Settlement Counsel
Find contact information for committee and subcommittee chairs: