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Results of participant polls conducted during a webinar hosted November 6th by the American Arbitration Association (”AAA”) had a consistent theme:  parties, attorneys, arbitrators and mediators are ready to embrace cloud-based alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) and think this is where the future is clearly headed.

This fast-paced interactive program “ADR and Emerging Technologies: the Future has Arrived” engaged experts and practionioners in the dispute resolution field – and the webinar participants — in discussing how emerging technologies are impacting the arbitration process.  George H. Friedman, an Arbitration Resolution Services, Inc. (“ARS”) Board member and an adjunct professor of law at Fordham Law School, moderated the 90-minute webinar.  His fellow panelists were Mark Norych, Esq., ARS EVP, GC and Board Member, John Bishop, AAA VP – SE Case Management Center, and arbitration expert and arbitrator Ross Tulman, Principal, Trade Investment Analysis Group. 

Hot Topics

The webinar delved into the latest technologies such as the “Cloud” and how they are changing the way arbitrations are administered, e-Discovery in arbitration, and ways technology is improving how hearings are conducted.  The webinar closed with a look at what ADR providers are doing right now in this area, and what the panel thinks the future will bring.  The panel engaged in a spirited discussion of these issues, especially whether in-person hearings will become a thing of the past. Mark Norych stated that for all but the largest, most complicated hearings, an in-person hearing will become a thing of the past.  Arbitrator Tulman disagreed, believing in moderate size cases a face to face meeting is necessary.  The entire panel agreed that for very small cases, web-based hearings are the way to go. 

Poll Results 

At various junctures, participants were polled electronically.  Mr. Friedman expressed his surprise at the consistently supportive participant views on cloud-based ADR. A majority of parties and arbitrators: 

  • Would serve as an arbitrator or mediator, or file a case or represent a party, if they were required to use a secure, web-based system to administer the case.
  • Believe e-Discovery will improve the arbitration process.
  • Felt that, in the future, we will not need in-person hearings for most cases.
  • Said that cloud-based ADR can be useful in any size case.

The program ended with the panelists’ predictions for the future.  Moderator Friedman predicted that, by the end of 2018,cloud-based ADR will overtake “Brick-and-Mortar” arbitration case filings.  A high percentage of participants agreed with him.  Said Friedman, “The cloud will do for ADR what Amazon did for shopping, just watch.” 

The AAA will soon make available on its web site an audio file of the webinar.