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October 26, 2021

ABA plans virtual institute to explore innovation, technology advances in the field of mediation

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 2021 — The American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution will offer its annual Mediation Institute Nov. 4-6, providing practitioners, dispute resolution professionals and other interested parties an online opportunity to explore new mediation concepts in technology and innovation in a post-pandemic world.

2021 Dispute Resolution Mediation & Advocacy Skills Institute Sponsored by the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution

Thursday, Nov. 4 through Saturday, Nov. 6 (all times EDT)


Advocates of mediation, a form of dispute resolution, say the legal process saves time and money and is less of a drain on emotional resources compared to litigation. With courtroom access still curtailed in some U.S. areas and delays continuing in civil cases because of the COVID-19 pandemic, mediation has emerged as an important tool in providing access to justice for various parties.

The theme of this year’s institute is “Mediation Beyond Boundaries: Competencies and Ethics in a Digital World.” Plenary sessions will be followed by small group discussions led by experts in the field, providing an opportunity for mediators and advocates to interact to enhance their skill, knowledge and understanding of direct negotiation and third-party mediation processes.

Plenaries include:

  • “Early Dispute Resolution - Protocols for Smarter Processes & Swifter Outcomes” — An expert panel of alternative dispute pioneers and problem solvers demonstrate how to resolve disputes within 30 days through the concept of “EDR” (Early Dispute Resolution) Protocols, which include initial dispute assessment; information exchange; objective dispute valuation; and final resolution.
    Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
  • “Effective 'Pre-suasion' & Persuasion in Mediated Settlement Negotiations - the Subtle Science Behind Influence!” — The session explores how psychological dynamics impact negotiations in all phases of mediation and focus on how mediated problem solving is equal part people and problem. The groundbreaking work of social psychologist Robert Cialdini who coined the 6 Universal Principles of Ethical Persuasion (and ‘Pre-suasion’) will be highlighted.
    Thursday, 2:15-3:30 p.m.
  • “ODR - The Digital Age of ADR is Here” The shift to online modes of communication and dispute resolution was rapid for most practitioners, but not all. The panel includes leading online mediation and online dispute resolution experts who will provide a look at online capabilities for practitioners both today and in the future.
    Friday, noon-1:15 p.m.
  • “Ethics in the Real World - How the ‘Fourth Party' Affects Mediation Ethics” — Ethics canons for both advocates and mediators are often afterthoughts, honored in the breach or pushed up against the line. The panel will discuss relevant provisions of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, the Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators and recent ethics opinions and interpretations. Ethical guidance will be outlined that is both useful and necessary in navigating the current mediation environment.
    Friday, 2:45-4 p.m.
  • “International Focus -The Globalization of Mediation” — Since 2000, more than 100 countries have enacted new mediation laws, creating a rapidly growing and widespread legal framework for the use of commercial mediation worldwide. In 2019, 51 countries, including the U.S, China, and India, signed the Singapore Convention, further paving the way for more widespread understanding and application of mediation as a primary dispute resolution tool. The panel will discuss recent trends in this area.
    Saturday, noon-1:15 p.m.

  • “Technology-Driven ADR - Marketing & Branding for Results” — As the world has shifted rapidly to an online medium, so has marketing and outreach. In this virtual world, digital marketing outlets such as social media, websites, video and more have become increasingly important. The panel will discuss current strategies, including use of LinkedIn, to get on top of one’s virtual presence.
    Saturday, 1:30-2:45 p.m.

The full agenda is here. Media are invited to attend any of the sessions but must register in advance. Please email [email protected] if interested in attending.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews)