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.