Don’t Let a Crisis Go to Waste: Time To Explore Expansion of ODR for ADR


Adjunct Professor Linda Gerstel discusses her experience with remote teaching, with former dean and co-teacher John Feerick ’61, and the potential for expansions in online dispute resolution during this time.

There has never been a better time to experiment both in the courts and in the private sector to expand the use of Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) for ADR. Courts and private ADR providers will soon be facing a deluge of coronavirus claims that will require a need to reevaluate even earlier successful mass disaster models that American Arbitration Association’s (AAA) administered in the wake of Hurricanes like Sandy, Katrina, Rita and Andrew. I am not suggesting that we jump to algorithms and robots or that Alexa takeover your mediation or arbitration practice.

First, at this very moment in time, people have been forced to engage in remote learning and working. People have experienced the benefits and flexibility of working remotely. Even I, as an adjunct professor of ADR, was at first dubious as to whether the zoom application could really allow for the interactive nature of an ADR class with nearly 20 students. I was proven wrong even though the first session had few hiccups. The next day, my co-teacher, John Feerick, former Dean of Fordham Law­—my favorite octogenarian—came up to speed in using zoom to participate in an arbitration panel.

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