Introduction A funny thing happened on April 1, 2020. After over 30 years and 7,500 cases as an in person, high-touch mediator, I grudgingly became, out of necessity born by COVID-19, a virtual, online mediator. The first month was admittedly a very rocky one for me. I worried about my ability to handle the very easy technology and that I might accidentally bump the participants off the platform. I also hated to see myself on the screen. Initially, I felt, albeit incorrectly, that this made me the center of attention – something I have always felt is the opposite of the mediator’s role. Today, overRead More →

A common question at my initial free consultation with clients is, “Will I need to have a lawyer?” or, “Am I going to have to hire a lawyer?” Clients often have a look of surprise on their face when I tell them “ You are not required to consult with an attorney but I strongly encourage it.” You may wonder whether they are surprised at the fact that they are not required to consult with an attorney or at my strongly encouraging them to do so. The answer is both. Before we explore the issue of the role of lawyers in mediation, we need toRead More →

ODR history was made this week when a court case, issued in the new Online Civil Money Claims Court for England and Wales, was resolved by use of an online tool that enabled the parties to participate in an advanced version of blind bidding. After 3 months in the court process, including an unsuccessful telephone mediation, the parties were able to settle the dispute (over unpaid fees for a counselling course) within an hour of first use of the blind bidding tool. The tool used was SmartsettleONE developed by ICan Systems Inc of British Columbia and was introduced to the parties by leading ODR expert,Read More →

“I see contemporary patterns of disputing as an adaptive (but not necessarily optimal) response to a set of changing conditions. There have been great changes in the social production of injuries as a result of, among other things, the increased power and range of injury-producing machinery and substances. There has been a great increase in social knowledge about the causation of injuries and of technologies for preventing them; there has been a wide dissemination of awareness of this knowledge to an increasingly educated public.” Marc Galanter, “Reading the Landscape of Disputes: What we know and don’t know (and think we know) about our allegedly contentiousRead More →

We already have the means to solve the Covid-19 legal logjam Georgia’s legal community faces a situation described by the Chief Justice of our Supreme Court as “unprecedented in the history of the state.” In response to Covid-19, Chief Justice Harold Melton issued a Judicial Emergency that shut down most of the court system on March 14th—a decision he has re-instituted in some form every 30 days for the past five months. If current trends continue, with Georgia just last week reporting the highest rate of new Covid-19 cases in the country, it is highly likely that Chief Justice Melton will have to extend theRead More →

Addressing some key Access to Justice Principals in a unique way Over the years we have worked with many different dispute resolution organisations and professionals on exploring different techniques and paths for resolving disputes more effectively while also seeking to increase access to justice at the same time. One of the most interesting discoveries came from the use of recorded messages during cases. While we have had the record video message and record audio message tools in our platform for some time, we are continually surprised and pleased with the different use cases and applications our users are coming up with. We have seen simpleRead More →