From FOI Carrie Menkel-Meadow who posted this originally on the Law, Technology, and Access to Justice Blog here.   A really interesting overview–enjoy!

Attending the 15th annual gathering (in The Hague, Netherlands, 22-3 May 2016) of those who design, implement and use online dispute resolution (ODR) I am left asking the question do ODR and ‘A’ DR (now ‘appropriate,’ not ‘alternative’) dispute resolution have the same goals?  Access to justice?  Efficiency and transparency of dispute resolution? Quality of solutions? Satisfaction with dispute resolution?  Justice?

The modern ADR movement was founded in the United States in the 1970s and has now traveled globally for essentially three different reasons: First, what I call ‘quantitative’ ADR – for cheaper, faster and more efficient docket clearing from long queues in court  (the judicially promoted reason); second, more ‘qualitative’ ADR which means more tailored and party fashioned solutions to legal problems, including a focus on future relations, not just the past, and thirdly, a more politically process oriented hope for greater party participation and de-professionalization (‘lets not have lawyers if we don’t need to’) and democratization of dispute resolution.

The 15th annual meeting of the Online Dispute Resolution community presented examples of the first and third motivations for taking disputes out of courts and putting them on computers, but left this participant and observer wondering about the second.   Online Dispute Resolution is just a bit younger than the ADR movement.

Twenty years ago founders of ODR, Ethan Katsh, Janet Rifkin and Colin Rule all had a hand in online dispute system design by creating and working with e-bay’s online dispute resolution system which now handles over 60 million disputes a year between online vendors and buyers of goods by a private innovative company that wanted to create a world-wide network with a quality reputation. Imagine if all those cases went to court!

Continued in Part 2 forthcoming next week...


Andrea Schneider is a professor at Marquette Law School teaching ADR, Negotiation, Ethics, International Law, International Conflict Resolution and Art Law. She is the author or co-author of numerous books and book chapters in the field of dispute resolution. She serves as the editor of ADR Prof Blog.