ADR Systems recently spoke with Hon. Jerome M. Orbach, (Ret.) to discuss changes in the field of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), the role of technology and what the future may hold for the practice of ADR.
What changes have you noticed in alternative dispute resolution in the last five years?
Judge Orbach: For so long, the concept of alternative dispute resolution was unknown in the Midwest. Volume has gone up, and I think the frequency of mediation in the Midwest has finally caught up with the east and west coasts.
There are also changes in the types of cases turning to mediation or arbitration. I’ve seen ADR Systems expand the types of cases it resolves, including the addition of family law this year. I have also seen growth in the number and variety of commercial cases being resolved at ADR Systems. It appears that mediation and arbitration are becoming increasingly accepted, and it’s becoming a popular and economical way to handle many different types of cases.
What role do you think technology has played in ADR?
Judge Orbach: Technology has made the ADR process smoother. For example, during a mediation, it’s easier to acquire documents from an attorney’s office. In the past, this process could have taken days. Attorneys can also get submissions in a lot quicker. If utilized properly, technology can make the process easier and faster. I expect the legal community will continue to find new uses for technology in ADR. As technology grows, our use of it also grows.
What new trends do you see developing in dispute resolution in the future?
Judge Orbach: Mediation or arbitration of pre-suit matters is trending upward. Attorneys are finding that once all issues are defined, they can think about mediation or arbitration before they file a lawsuit. As I said, ADR Systems is expanding because the use of ADR is becoming a popular way to resolve a dispute at any stage in the life cycle of a case. As the field of ADR continues to grow, I expect to see a variety of other case types seeking ADR. Wherever there is a dispute, mediation or another ADR process can be beneficial.
As a senior mediator and arbitrator at ADR Systems, Judge Orbach has extensive experience in the successful resolution of highly complex, multiparty personal injury and commercial matters, such as product liability, construction, real estate and nursing home disputes. He is known for his tenacity, integrity and creative settlement approaches.
For Judge Orbach’s full bio, click here.
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