Steve Goldberg, Nancy Rogers, and I recently finished the Seventh Edition of Dispute Resolution: Negotiation, Mediation, Arbitration and Other Processes. In the course of our revision, we identified several questions that we thought may have significance in the dispute resolution field. Please take a look and, if you are inspired to write a response, please do!
We found that, in the eight years since the Sixth Edition of our casebook was published, the most impactful changes in the field have not been law-related, though we noted several of these, particularly in arbitration. Instead, the innovations by those using their dispute resolution expertise to deal with societal problems and to seize the potential of technological progress provide the basis for many of the changes in this edition. As we send the manuscript off to the publisher, this is how we begin the concluding chapter:
The Dispute Resolution Movement established a foundation of support for dispute resolution processes and led to substantial institutionalization of mediation. Those now entering the field can help society deal with current challenges and unmet conflict resolution needs. They can take advantage of ongoing progress in technology as they design both online and in-person processes. They can also take advantage of case law and commentary created early in the field’s development as a basis for considering current public policy issues. Here are a few questions to illustrate what remains ahead:
• What adaptations of dispute resolution practices might give society tools to tackle such current challenges as community division, conflicts over delivery of services for opioid addicts, and climate change?
• Could the restorative practices discussed in Chapter 3, including truth and reconciliation commissions, play a useful role with respect to the current U.S. issues regarding civil rights?
• How do we adapt what we have learned about dispute resolution techniques and regulation and translate these lessons effectively to an online platform?
• Conversely, what can we learn from millions of online dispute resolution cases (much of the data in retrievable form) that might improve dispute resolution processes, whether offered off-line or online? How can data analytics help parties’ selection of a dispute resolution process?
• How should artificial intelligence be utilized to improve dispute resolution processes and inform unrepresented parties about their BATNAs?
• As mediation is institutionalized, what practices will insure that the mediation continues to meet the goals set for it (for example, if set up to allow parties the opportunity to engage in resolving their disputes, what should be done if mediators tend to evaluate the merits in separate conversations with attorneys, foregoing both joint sessions and party involvement)?
• As dispute resolution processes are conducted across state and national borders, and matters arising from them might be litigated in either state or federal courts, how can we make clear what law applies? Or how might we harmonize these laws through uniform laws and ratification of international conventions so that it does not matter as much which jurisdiction’s law applies?
• How might leaders adapt ADR techniques to ensure greater collaborative decision-making within their organizations?