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<xTITLE>ODR in North America</xTITLE>

ODR in North America

by Noam Ebner, Bryan Hanson, Arthur Pearlstein
May 2013

This chapter is from "Online Dispute Resolution Theory and Practice," Mohamed Abdel Wahab, Ethan Katsh & Daniel Rainey ( Eds.), published, sold and distributed by Eleven International Publishing. The Hague, Netherlands at:

This chapter, offering a regional perspective, involves a daunting challenge, that is providing a nall-inclusive survey and analysis of ODR in North America despite the inherent diversity and prevailing multitude of norms and practices. As Melissa Conley Tyler wrote in the first comprehensive mapping of ODR, “most of the early activity in ODR took place in North America”. As a result, all of the perspectives listed above have roots, examples and lessons grounded in the North American experience even though ODR is intrinsically borderless and geographically unconstrained. Accordingly, whilst one can comment on how North American based entities might apply or offer ODR, the services involved might be utilized by a Malaysian importer (accessing the web in an airport in Australia) and a distillery in Scotland, assisted by a Belgian mediator. That, of course, is even before one considers that due to the way Internet technology works, communication between these far-flung parties might be broken up and routed through a dozen different countries before arriving at their destination.

These challenges might be easier to acknowledge than overcome. Our primary focus in this chapter is providing a comprehensive picture of the status quo of ODR in North America from the perspective of North America-based service providers, institutions and governments. Our review of service providers and institutions shall be exclusive to US and Canada, as the chapter on ODR in Latin America addresses initiatives in Mexico and Central America.

In the following pages, we shall commence by mapping out the state of ODR private market services. Subsequently, we look at the federal government and its potential roles as a major provider, and user, of ODR services. Thereafter, we shall address ODR professionals and providers, looking at organizational and structural themes as well as the nature of the services they provide. The US and Canada not only spear-headed the offering of ODR services; North American institutions were also the first to set up research institutes in this area of dispute resolution, as well as to incorporate it into academic curricula, as we shall discuss. Finally, we shall shed light on the prospects of the existing combination of practice, research and institutionalization in order to try and determine which trends might provide a trajectory for ODR in North America over the coming few years.

Read the entire article by clicking on the attachment below.


pearlstein_hanson_ebner.pdf ODR in North America  (pearlstein_hanson_ebner.pdf)


Noam Ebner is a professor of negotiation and conflict resolution at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, USA, which has offered an online MS in Negotiation & Conflict Resolution since 2008. Formerly chair of Creighton’s online degree program, Noam spearheaded its curricular and pedagogical development, teacher training and support, and online student formation. He has taught dozens of courses online, ranging from traditional ADR survey courses to specialty courses on Online Dispute Resolution and Conflict Resolution for Educational Leaders. Noam designed and taught the first online course offered by Creighton’s School of Law, as well as Creighton University’s first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC); this course on negotiation had over 2000 students enrolled, from 87 countries. Noam has consulted on online teaching and learning to programs and universities and has supported many teachers in the negotiation, conflict resolution, and ADR worlds in their transition to teaching online.

Bryan Hanson is the Assistant Director of The Werner Institute at Creighton University.  Bryan draws on his knowledge of conflict management system design and experience as a practitioner in the field of conflict resolution to support the establishment of fthe Werner Institute as a premier resource for conflict management andconflict resolution education in the Midwest. Alongside his work with the Werner Institute he also devotes time to mediating, facilitating and providing training in conflict resolution. Bryan has an M.A. from John F. Kennedy University in Organizational Psychology and a graduate certificate from John F. Kennedy University in Organizational Conflict Management. 


Arthur Pearlstein is a Professor of Law and former Director of the Werner Institute for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution.  Arthur was previously General Counsel and Director of Alternative Dispute Resolution and International Programs at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, an independent federal dispute resolution agency, in Washington, D.C. He earned a B.A. from Haverford College, a Masters in Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine Law School where he served as a Fellow, and his law degree from Harvard Law School. Arthur has years of experience as a lawyer, mediator and dispute resolution specialist as well as an extensive background in teaching and training overseas and in the U.S.