As our world is getting smaller, our disputes are becoming larger and not necessarily confined by national borders. As we know, communication is both instantaneous and continuous, with cell phone calls, emails, text messages, video chats, and other forms of connection allowing us to expect immediate responses and ongoing engagement throughout distant time zones, cultures, economies, and judicial systems.
Global trade, international business transactions, and cross-border commerce compel us to expand our horizons, and our Section is also broadening its reach: This month’s issue of Dispute Resolution Magazine provides a wealth of information about the robust development and growth of international dispute resolution.
Although the Dispute Resolution Section has been active internationally since its inception, activity has increased in recent years. In 2008, we sponsored an International Mediation Leadership Summit at The Hague in the Netherlands, at which we talked with our European colleagues about building an international dispute resolution profession.
A few months ago, several Section leaders traveled to Asia on a trip organized by former Chair John Phillips. This was self-funded travel (not supported with Section funds), and our plans allowed us to visit with dispute resolution leaders in Vietnam and Thailand. In Vietnam, we were guided by our own Chuck Crumpton, Co-Chair of the Section’s Mediation Committee and member of the Section Council, who is fluent in Vietnamese and teaches several university courses in the country. ABA president Jim Silkenat, who was attending a New York Bar meeting in Hanoi, joined us to talk with our Vietnamese hosts and members of the delegation about the many resources of the ABA and the Dispute Resolution Section.
Plans are now being finalized for a trip to India in early 2015 under the leadership of Chair-Elect Geetha Ravindra. This trip will feature interactive programming planned by Section members and their counterparts in India. In addition, former Section Chair Bruce Meyerson is planning a possible trip to Cuba for the fall of this year with Academic Travel Abroad, a group that has organized trips for other ABA sections.
The program-packed spring conference, which will be held from April 2 to April 5 in Miami, will also provide many opportunities for attendees to learn about ADR in the international arena. Two programs on Friday afternoon will inform and engage our members about the intricacies of cross-border disputes and the protocols to resolve them. And Miami, a city long considered the gateway to South America, will certainly offer many chances to expand your worldview.
We are actively encouraging international attorneys and dispute resolvers to join the Section. Even if they are not licensed to practice law in the United States, international practitioners are welcome as associate members. Please urge your colleagues in other countries to join us.
Sit back now with this issue and travel with us through the international world of dispute resolution. The articles include a primer on arbitration of investor-state disputes, a summary of the basics of commercial international arbitration, a look at the European Union Mediation Directive, and a survey of mediators in other countries.
And if you think international ADR is all about business, you will probably think again after reading the article about how to mediate child custody and international parental child abductions. Interacting with different cultures enriches us all, as does championing the cause of diversity in the field. Ben Davis, Co-Chair of the Section’s Diversity Committee, reports on the results of a survey on participation, by diversity and gender, in international arbitration practice.
This issue also includes an article on the topic of regulation of mediation that cautions legislators and regulators to do no harm when crafting laws relating to mediation.
In addition to our regular features (Profiles in ADR, Research Insights, and ADR Cases), this issue introduces a new regular feature called On Professional Practice. We are pleased to have Paul Lurie, a partner at Schiff Hardin in Chicago, and Sharon Press, Director of the Dispute Resolution Institute of Hamline University School of Law, as co-editors of this new feature, which will analyze issues of professionalism and offer Paul’s and Sharon’s perspectives on how practitioners can thoughtfully and effectively address them. Many thanks go to our hardworking retiring ethics columnists, Kimberly Taylor and Roger Wolf, Co-Chairs of the Section’s Committee on Mediator Ethical Guidance, for answering ethical inquiries from Section members with such good judgment. The committee continues to provide guidance and answers to practicing mediators.
I hope you enjoy your travels into this issue of Dispute Resolution Magazine.
Ruth V. Glick is Chair of the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution and a commercial and employment mediator and arbitrator in the San Francisco Bay area. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.