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Technology: Welcome to the new world of online dispute resolution

New web-based dispute resolution mechanisms offer convenient, speedy and cheap opportunities to resolve simple matters

Once stodgy and tradition-based, the practice of law is suddenly changing. The convergence of the Great Recession with rapid advances in digital technology provides businesses a powerful financial incentive to take advantage of new, web-based dispute resolution mechanisms. Online dispute resolution (ODR) offers convenient, speedy and inexpensive opportunities to resolve various disputes, particularly simple, document-based and consumer matters. However, standard forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) likely will remain best suited to address complicated and many other types of cases.

ODR uses a wide array of technology. Individuals, companies and ADR practitioners are increasingly using email, video-conferencing and web-based programs to tackle disputes. Most likely, new technologies that are just emerging or yet to be conceived or developed will provide other means. To be competitive and successful, cost-conscious attorneys and companies must embrace these new technologies.

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Terry Friedman

Hon. Terry B. Friedman, a retired Los Angeles Superior Court judge, is a mediator, arbitrator and discovery referee with JAMS, based in Santa Monica. He...

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