Hon. F. Keith Brown, (Ret.), Hon. William J. Haddad, (Ret.) and Hon. Ronald D. Sutter, (Ret.), senior mediators and arbitrators at ADR Systems, led a new CLE presentation titled Best Practices for Remote Mediation for the Chicago Bar Association’s ADR Committee on October 1st. The presentation was moderated by Ashley Rafael, Esq., Midway Moving & Storage, Inc., and John Sciaccotta, Esq., Aronberg Goldgehn.
Few attorneys likely ever conducted a mediation or arbitration remotely prior to March, but since then, remote dispute resolution has become the go-to format. As a result, attorneys are now looking to expand their remote dispute resolution skill set.
“Attorneys who will mediate claims remotely should check their computer’s data-processing speed and compatibility with videoconferencing tools, keep a hotspot on hand as a Wi-Fi contingency and know how to display demonstrative evidence remotely and more,” said Judge Brown. “And if all this is foreign to you now, you need the information found in this CLE.”
While perhaps overwhelming at first, adapting to remote mediation is manageable even for the most technology-reticent attorney, Judge Sutter stressed. “If I can host one of these sessions and facilitate settlements, you can participate in one,” he said.
As numerous organizations hustled to incorporate videoconferencing software into business models at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns about confidentiality and privacy in remote legal proceedings were raised.
“It is prudent for all attorneys to be concerned with privacy in remote sessions, but it may be fair to call that concern ‘old news,’” said Judge Haddad. “We as neutrals, alongside our technical support staff, take great care to ensure parties are given private caucusing space in the remote session and that control of who enters it and what they can do in it is firmly in our hands.”
ADR Systems’ neutrals have contributed thought leadership about remote dispute resolution throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to help attorneys settle cases. In March, as they modified their practices to exclusively remote settings, Hon. Kay M. Hanlon, (Ret.) and Hon. William E. Gomolinski, (Ret.) hosted a Q&A session for attorneys about the feasibility of remote mediations for personal injury cases. In May, Hon. Brian R. McKillip, (Ret.) and Hon. Ronald D. Sutter, (Ret.) presented a CLE on mediation in the time of COVID-19 to members of the DuPage County Bar Association. During the summer, Hon. Larry G. Axelrood, (Ret.) and Hon. Brigid M. McGrath, (Ret.) authored articles in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin on the ease and lasting impact of remote dispute resolution.
And with this new CLE, ADR Systems neutrals hope to equip attorneys with skills needed to practice law at the intersection of technology and alternative dispute resolution, where the future of law resides.
To learn more about remote dispute resolution at ADR Systems, click here.
Hon. F. Keith Brown, (Ret.) has extensive experience in settling personal injury, workers’ compensation and commercial matters. As a mediator, he is known for his keen ability to easily connect with people and promote productive communications between all parties. Judge Brown is a beloved pillar of the community, who has been recognized numerous times for community service.
Hon. William J. Haddad, (Ret.) has spent decades practicing law. Judge Haddad led a civil litigation firm for 18 years, served as a company president and spent 10 years as a Law Division judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County. His broad background allows Judge Haddad to resolve a wide array of commercial and personal injury disputes. Judge Haddad is very active in the Chicago legal and business community and has received numerous awards for his service.
Hon. Ronald D. Sutter, (Ret.) has served the legal community as an attorney, prosecutor and jurist for more than 38 years. As a litigator, he focused his practice in personal injury and insurance matters. Judge Sutter spent 15 years in the DuPage County Circuit Court and was the Presiding Judge of the Law Division. A popular mediator and arbitrator, he is praised for his integrity, legal ability and temperament.
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