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Novo Justice Blog by Colin Rule
“Courtroom showdowns make for great movie scenes, but To Kill a Mockingbird’s Atticus Finch would be shocked to hear that the courts are only resolving a fraction of today’s legal disputes. A growing number of cases are being resolved by online tools, and sometimes lawyers and judges are not even involved. Impartial web-based systems apply computation, algorithms and cryptographic technology to bring about resolution quickly and inexpensively.
A growing stable of private sector companies are beginning to compete with the judicial system for “customers” and are also changing the face of traditional Alternate Dispute Resolution or ADR, which has typically included mediation, arbitration and other alternatives to the courts.
Not only are approaches to justice and negotiation changing, but some of these new systems like those provided by Fair Outcomes, are actually prompting lawyers and their customers to be more honest about the value of a case and their realistic objectives from the outset, providing disincentives to lie, bully and posture. Utopian though it may sound, this is actually becoming a reality. Atticus would be happy to hear that, at least!
A potential paradigm shift is in the making here, but what is motivating parties to look outside traditional courts, mediation and arbitration and flock to the web for resolving their disputes? In short, overburdened courts, lean economic times, cost, and convenience all figure into the mix…”
Great article, check it out!
Colin Rule has worked at the intersection of technology and conflict resolution for the last two decades. He is CEO of Modria.com, an online dispute resolution service provider in Silicon Valley, and a non-resident Fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. From 2003 to 2011, he served as eBay and PayPal's first director of Online Dispute Resolution, designing and implementing systems that now resolve more than 60 million disputes each year. Mr. Rule is the author of Online Dispute Resolution for Business, published by Jossey-Bass in September 2002. He has presented and trained around the world for organizations including the U.S. Department of State, UNCITRAL, the International Chamber of Commerce, and the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution, as well as teaching at UMass-Amherst, Stanford, Southern Methodist University, and Hastings College of the Law. He has written and been interviewed extensively about the Internet since 1999, with columns and articles appearing in ACResolution, Consensus, Dispute Resolution Magazine, and Peace Review. He holds a master's degree from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government in conflict resolution and technology, a B.A. in peace studies from Haverford College, and he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Eritrea from 1995-1997.
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