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ABA DR Section Survey on Gender Differences

by Andrea Schneider
February 2014

ADR Prof Blog by Andrea Schneider, Michael Moffitt, Sarah Cole,Art Hinshaw, Jill Gross and Cynthia Alkon.

Andrea  Schneider

Hi all–as many of you know, the ABA Section on Dispute Resolution conducted a survey last year of its lawyer members and the results are in! The report by Gina Brown and myself can be found here. Our abstract is below:

This report to the ABA Section on Dispute Resolution outlines the results of a survey to the membership concerning the use of neutrals in both mediation and arbitration on behalf of the Women in Dispute Resolution Committee (WIDR) of the Section of Dispute Resolution. The goals of the WIDR Committee was to change how neutral selection occurs in disputes, to increase the number of women who serve as neutrals, and to ensure that women and minorities were proportionally represented as neutrals. The first step, before suggesting changes, was to understand the current situation in the world of dispute resolution. In fall 2012, the Section of Dispute Resolution surveyed the lawyers belonging to the section to determine how mediators and arbitrators are selected in legal cases and the types of cases being resolved through the many available dispute resolution processes. Specifically, the survey was designed to examine who is being selected as a neutral, by whom, using what process, and for what types of cases. This report explains the methodology of the survey, the demographics of the respondents and neutrals involved in particular cases, and, most importantly, the information about neutral selection.

This survey provides clear data on women serving in neutral capacities and demonstrates several different potential avenues of change. Three preliminary conclusions drawn from this data are — first, the type and subject matter of the dispute clearly impacts neutral selection. As detailed in the paper, certain practice areas are far more male and certain others are quite female. Second, it appears to matter how the neutral is selected in mediation. Networking resulted in only 29% women while provider lists resulted in an increased percentage of 47%. Finally, arbitration and mediation are not the same for gender integration. Arbitration seems to hold steady at 20% regardless of selection process and even decreases further in panel arbitrations.

Our recommendations included that clients and lawyers could be encouraged to think more broadly about who they use as neutrals. Particularly in three arbitrator panels, when considering equally qualified candidates, there should be a presumption that a woman be selected as part of a panel. Furthermore, neutrals need to be aware that personal networks still appear to be the primary source of referrals and that these networks need to be strengthened and broadened to include women. Provider organizations should be commended for improved gender balance in mediation. Courts, provider organizations, agencies, and other organizations that administer and oversee ADR programs should be encouraged to use lists and the lists themselves should be broadened to include more women. In arbitration, provider organizations (a) should also adopt the assumption that multi-arbitrator panels should include one woman when they are appointing the panel and (b) should have a higher percentage of women on their list so that these lists can do more than reflect the current situation. Additional efforts in certain practice areas (commercial, construction, etc.) are likely warranted with a targeted program to identify and encourage women and minorities to serve as neutrals.

We look forward to hearing your comments and thinking about what we can do to continue to improve gender equity in the field.

Biography


Andrea joined the faculty of Marquette Law School in 1996 where she teaches ADR, Negotiation, International Law, International Conflict Resolution and Art Law. She also helps to run the nationally-ranked ADR program at Marquette Law School. Prior to joining Marquette, Professor Schneider was Visiting Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at the Elliot School of International Affairs at George Washington University as well as an Associate at Arent Fox in Washington, D.C. where she specialized in international corporate transactions. Professor Schneider has also served as a lecturer at Stanford Law School and a Teaching Fellow at Harvard Law School.

Professor Schneider is a co-author of the just published Dispute Resolution: Beyond the Adversarial Model (Aspen, 2004 with Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Lela Love & Jean Sternlight) as well as a co-author of two additional books on negotiation with Roger Fisher, Beyond Machiavelli: Tools for Coping with Conflict and Coping with International Conflict. She is also the author of Creating the Musée d'Orsay: The Politics of Culture in France. Professor Schneider has published numerous articles on negotiation and international law including articles in the Harvard Negotiation Law Review, Conflict Resolution Quarterly, Michigan Journal of International Law, University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Economic Law and the Negotiation Journal.

In 2000, she was given an Outstanding Achievement Award by the American College of Civil Trial Mediators for her work as the national coordinator for the ABA Law Student Representation in Mediation Competition. Professor Schneider regularly conducts negotiation and mediation trainings for law firms, bar associations, court systems and companies around the country. Past clients include Oracle, MCI, the Smithsonian Institution, and the American Association of ADR Attorneys. She also currently serves at the co-chair of the ABA Task Force on Mediator Credentialing.

Professor Schneider received her A.B. cum laude from the Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs and Public Policy at Princeton University and her J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School. She also received a Diploma from the Academy of European Law in Florence, Italy.



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