We are firmly ensconced in what some call the “digital age.” CAMS has been providing ADR services on virtual platforms (our preference has been Zoom) for almost two years at the time this is being written. We have completed hundreds of mediations and arbitrations. Our experience is that when counsel, the parties, and the mediator are all prepared (which requires an emotional/intellectual acceptance of the process), virtual ADR (classically referred to as ODR or Online Dispute Resolution), for most cases the process is every bit as effective as in-person. Attorneys, and some litigants of my generation and before, are most resistant to the process. IRead More →

During past eight months, due to the coronavirus pandemic, mediators, lawyers and clients have experienced something once inconceivable: Almost all mediations have been conducted remotely. What have we learned from this experience so far, and how can we improve it? What have we gained? First and foremost, during this pandemic, JAMS neutrals have settled thousands of cases on-line. Mediators, myself included, who were skeptical about our ability to connect with parties on a screen have been proved wrong. Using speaker view on a videoconferencing platform can bring us even closer to parties than when they are seated across a conference room table. Some individual participantsRead More →

Seven months after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many mediations have been conducted online. While some mediators have been mediating online since before the pandemic, many mediators have only begun their online practice in the past few months. Now that online mediation has become normalized, how have mediators handled the shift? How does in-person mediation differ from online mediation, and what have mediators done to capitalize on those differences to excel in virtual mediations? What is the future of online dispute resolution (ODR) and virtual mediation? This series of articles seeks to answer those questions and more through the results of a series ofRead More →

Almost one year ago, life for most of us changed irrevocably: we went from commuting to and from our offices and fighting traffic to commuting between our bedrooms and “home” offices and fighting over internet access. We went into “lockdown.” And with it, we all took an accelerated course on how to use video conferencing, Zoom included. Our lives suddenly began to play out almost totally on our computer screens in video conference mode whether business or social! And with it came Zoom fatigue. This year long pandemic has allowed Jeremy N. Bailenson in the Department of Communications at Stanford University to conduct research onRead More →

Steve Jobs famously wore the same black turtleneck, blue jeans and New Balance sneakers every day. Do you know why (bonus points if you can name the designer of his turtleneck without Googling it. Hint: it wasn’t off the rack from Gap. Answer below)? It was to minimize his number of daily decisions, especially early in the day. Choices are wonderful, right? We demand choices because we want a wide variety of them – or so we think. Many successful individuals like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Albert Einstein understood that less time spent on making minor decisions meant more brainpower and time for everythingRead More →

This paper is based on a keynote speech delivered to the Nebraska Mediation Association on August 6, 2020. Nearly 18 months ago, as the pandemic brought improbable yet real terror, mediation practice faced a transitional moment. Like other professional practices—ours was gripped by uncertainty, confusion, and even panic. In the space of a few days, and in order to continue our practices, we were driven to recast our work, reshape our approach, learn new technology, educate our clients, and reconsider our techniques and strategies. Those who did not have a Zoom account quickly subscribed. Conventional face-to face sessions were transformed in an instant to onlineRead More →

Published November 2020 in the Michigan bar Journal. On January 1, 2020, “zoom” was a verb, a noise a car makes. Three months later, Zoom be came a noun. It happened in the blink of an eye, like when Amazon no longer referred to a river in the rainforest, and Apple was no longer a fruit. Just as suddenly, Corona isn’t a beer served with lime. No one can honestly say the legal profession was prepared for a pandemic. While some companies had a long history of team meetings via WebEx and GoToMeeting, lawyers and the judiciary were far away from regularly using these tools.Read More →

Protecting client confidentiality is critical, not only to protect your business’ reputation but also to adhere to strict legislation around safeguarding data. To cybercriminals, legal firms present a valuable target, with intellectual property, client information, and other sensitive data at risk. As a result, online data security should be a top priority for any law firm. From ethical obligations to leveraging technology, here are some ways to maintain confidentiality for your clients. Limit access Mitigation firms handle a lot of confidential information, so it’s vital that employee access is limited to a strictly ‘need to know’ basis. In doing this, firms can strengthen their legalRead More →

Prior to the pandemic, virtual hearings for labor-management arbitration and mediation were rarely used. Since the start of the pandemic and with its acceleration, virtual platforms are now the dominant forums for arbitrations and mediations. Will the adoption of virtual interactions continue after the pandemic or will in-person approaches return? The answer is we just don’t know. However, there are signs that virtual hearings will be used in some circumstances, such as in simple, low value/impact cases. In addition, certain aspects of the process are likely to continue, such as advance planning sessions and the acceptance of a virtual option where participants are otherwise unavailable.Read More →

As the COVID-19 pandemic recedes, every aspect of our pre-pandemic ways of work is under review. Simply returning to our old ways is not the answer. To do so is to ignore the lessons learned while working remotely. Dispute resolution, like almost every aspect of society, changed as a consequence of the pandemic and what will remain is the extensive use of video. Why because it is less costly, efficient and effective. COVID-19 thrust the legal community to work online. To the surprise of many lawyers, mediators, arbitrators and judges, the work continued to get done. Virtual hearings and mediations proved to be so successfulRead More →