Happy 40th, Rubik’s Cube: Solving the Litigation Puzzle
Today marks the fortieth birthday of Rubik’s Cube, that maddening device that since 1974 has been defying solution. This reminded me that forty years ago people were searching in vain for a solution to the problems associated with litigation. Unlike Rubik’s Cube, arbitration – especially online arbitration – has emerged as a solution.
Much has changed in the ADR World
There have been many changes in the ADR world over the past four decades:
- Yearly worldwide arbitration case filings used to total in the low thousands; now we tally hundreds of thousands of cases filed, eclipsing the yearly civil case filings of the federal court system.
- In 1974, arbitration was at best a boutique part of law practice. It now has become mainstream. Firms now have ADR departments, and some specialize in the field.
- Back in the day, the average American had no idea what arbitration was. Now, arbitration can be found virtually everywhere. Heck, open a box of cereal and you’ll find an arbitration clause (oh, wait, we’d better not get into that….). When I started in the field nearly 40 years ago, I’m pretty sure my future in-laws suspected I was working for a CIA front, because when I described what I did for a living, it certainly sounded awfully fishy to them.
- There was a serious question then about the extent of the Supreme Court’s support for arbitration, certainly as regards arbitration of claims arising out of federal statutes. Now, after countless decisions strongly supporting arbitration, there are no doubts about where the Court stands. The Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) now stands supreme: FAA über alles.
- Arbitration now dominates as the preferred way to resolve international disputes, as my colleague Mark Norych has written. When Al-Qaida and Israel both embrace the concept, one has to start thinking universal acceptance.
Much has changed in the Tech World
The technological changes that have taken place over the last 40 years are breathtaking. Without breaking a sweat, I can think of several innovations that didn’t exist (or were certainly not widely used) back in the last year of Richard Nixon’s presidency: email, the web, text and instant messaging, imaging, electronic fund transfers, social media, smartphones, apps, videoconferencing, and cheap digital storage, to name a few.
Arbitration, especially when coupled with technology, offers a solution to the problems that have vexed litigants for years. Arbitration Resolution Services, Inc. (“ARS”), the world’s first completely cloud-based alternative dispute resolution system, helps clients resolve disputes involving claims in a faster, more efficient and less costly way than traditional litigation. Unlike judicial processes, ARS arbitration hearings and mediations are scheduled for the convenience of the participants – they never have to leave their homes, offices or businesses. Hearings and mediations are conducted via phone and video conference. Parties, counsel, and arbitrators or mediators can conduct an arbitration or mediation from start to finish without leaving their home or office or licking a postage stamp. ARS recently announced the launch of the company’s Arb-IT™ software that fully automates the step-by-step process of arbitration and mediation.
Mr. Rubik, after 40 years, we have finally solved the litigation puzzle. In fact, ARS features your invention in their redesigned website.
 See, e.g., Dispute Resolution Revolutionized by New Cloud-based Arb-itTM System from Arbitration Resolution Services, Inc. (Sep. 23, 2013), available at http://www.ereleases.com/pr/dispute-resolution-revolutionized-cloudbased-service-arbit-arbitration-resolutions-services-173809.