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Hon. Brigid M. McGrath, (Ret.), senior mediator and arbitrator at ADR Systems, recently arbitrated a multi-week commercial case entirely via videoconference. The arbitration process involved several technical logistics meetings and twelve sessions with the parties involved.

“Our neutrals have mediated or arbitrated almost all cases remotely for more than a year, but this was a complicated arbitration with many participants connecting remotely,” said Meghann Smith, Esq., executive director of ADR Systems’ Commercial & Family Law Division. “We had not yet worked with parties to arbitrate a case of this length exclusively through remote options; however, with careful planning, everyone was able to participate effectively on Zoom with barely a glitch.”

In the weeks before the arbitration, ADR Systems’ staff briefed the parties on best practices for securely participating in a remote arbitration and conducted demonstrations with counsel to acquaint them with tools they can use to display demonstrative evidence and spotlight witnesses while examining them during the arbitration.

As with all remote cases at ADR Systems, the arbitration was outfitted with security measures to protect clients’ privacy and confidentiality, but it was also optimized so the entire arbitration could be preserved without a court reporter.

“When I retired as a judge and started at ADR Systems, I never expected that I would arbitrate a case over multiple weeks from my home office,” said Judge McGrath. “Given the scale of the case, this experience was novel for everyone involved, but the attorneys advocated for their clients with exacting detail, professionalism, technical savvy and enthusiasm about the prospect of arbitrating a case they never thought they could resolve during this pandemic. I was especially impressed by their ability to provide witnesses and me access to almost 300 exhibits (including deposition transcripts and construction drawings) with the touch of a key and without the need for hard copies.”

In addition to embracing remote options in her dispute resolution practice at ADR Systems, Judge McGrath has contributed commentary on remote dispute resolution. Last summer, she co-authored an article in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin about how the logistical and financial convenience of remote sessions, coupled with emerging technology trends in the legal profession, will encourage the use of remote options for dispute resolution in the long term – especially for arbitrations, due to the efficiency of the remote format and the relatively low cost of having witnesses testify from their locales, saving time and travel costs.

To learn more about how ADR Systems can accommodate your interest in a commercial arbitration or mediation, contact Meghann Smith, Esq. here.

To learn more about remote dispute resolution at ADR Systems, click here.


Hon. Brigid M. McGrath, (Ret.) has handled complex commercial and personal injury case types throughout her 34-year legal and judicial career, including professional malpractice, medical malpractice, insurance coverage and product liability matters. As a senior mediator and arbitrator, she is skilled at diffusing conflict and identifying root causes of disputes. Counsel know Judge McGrath will prepare thoroughly for every case and work diligently toward resolution.

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I appreciated the professional and courteous treatment we received at ADR Systems.  We could not have been more pleased with the staff and the facilities.  Kudos to ADR Systems for providing a valuable service.

Keith Aeschliman, Esq.Assistant State's Attorney, Civil Division - Will County, Illinois
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