Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Call for More Diversity in ADR Proceedings

A recent article reminds us of the need for more diversity in the ADR arena.   The article was posted on the website for the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution's (CPR), and was reprinted by CPR with permission of the Association of Corporate Counsel. 

The article discusses the lack of diversity amongst neutrals in both mediation and arbitration.  Since ADR often serves as a substitute for litigation, the article calls the fairness of the process into question given the lack of diversity.  In addition, the article highlights the fact that there is wide public support for diversity in the judiciary, which has led to some improvement in that arena, but the concept has been largely ignored in the world of ADR.   

The authors of the article stress the fact that diversity is accompanied by different perspectives, interpretations and problem-solving approaches.  People with different backgrounds and experiences (stemming from their race or gender) oftentimes find different ways to resolve disputes. 

Since we as a Forum have been trying to push diversity, and since four of the five attorneys who manage this blog have never participated in ADR with a non-white or female neutral, suffice to say the topic seems pretty ripe for discussion.  

We would be interested to know how many of our readers have actually participated in an arbitration or mediation with a neutral who was not a white male.  If so, please let us know if you have any reason to believe progress is actually being made in this regard.  What can we, the Construction Forum, do to increase diversity in the ADR process?  Does anyone think diversity is not an issue in the ADR process?   

1 comment:

  1. ADR is usually a private process that is subject to the control of the parties who are participants. While a consideration of diverse perspectives is helpful to the resolution of any conflict, the parties alone should determine the credentials of the mediator or arbitrators they choose to assist them.