Just as mediation and arbitration expanded dispute resolution options beyond litigation over the past three decades, online dispute resolution (ODR) is now expanding mediation and arbitration online.
Resourceful Internet Solutions, Inc. (RIS) CEO Jim Melamed, a long-time lawyer and mediator himself, says that “traditional face-to-face professionals” are now also finding themselves working more and more online in response to client requests and the efficiency and economy available online.
Melamed says that disputants and their attorneys now expect to be able to make progress on their case during evening hours and on weekends. “The thought of limiting dispute resolution efforts to “9 to 5, brick and mortar discussions” just doesn’t cut it in the ADR marketplace anymore. Very soon, Melamed says, there will be a “virtual space for every case.” This doesn’t necessarily mean that all communications will take place online, but that, “to the extent that discussions do take place online, these communications should be done with proper security, confidentiality and reliability.”
RIS began helping ADR professionals and programs with their Internet development in 1996. In 2010, RIS and Mediate.com were awarded the American Bar Association’s Institutional Problem Solver of the Year Award.
For the past two years, RIS has been offering the ADR industry leading Caseload Manager cloud-based, secure case management system. Caseload Manager includes five “centers” for Cases, Activites, Calendar, Correspondence and Reports. Melamed says that Caseload Manager’s new “MeetingSpace” supports secure and confidential communication, file sharing and agreement (or award) development. RIS’ MeetingSpace will be released in mid-June.
Melamed says that the release of MeetingSpace is a big day for RIS and the ADR field. From a Caseload Manager case record, with a single click, an ADR professional can now create a secure virtual space for all case participants, including secure document sharing and settlement agreement development.
Over the past two years, RIS has deployed nearly 100 Caseload Manager Systems, including working with the National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM) to take dozens of community mediation programs from “last to first” with their case management technology. RIS has also assisted in the development of statewide ADR systems, with the central state office able to see real-time data on ADR cases statewide. As an additional example, Caseload Manager supports a multi-state foreclosure mediation program.
CEO Melamed says that RIS has purposefully “stress-tested” Caseload Manager over the past two years with programs that have over a hundred ADR panelists and thousands of annual cases. The key is being sure that “the right people see the right information and nothing but the right information.”
Melamed goes on to say that ADR programs “really get it.” The more complexity they have to manage (including staff, interns, volunteers, panelists, participants, attorneys, advisors, rooms, schedules, correspondence and reports), the more “administrative gain” Caseload Manager provides. It is really fantastic that everyone involved can see their proper information on any device, at any time, and at any location with an Internet connection. “Programs also appreciate that we handle all back-up issues, updates and archiving,” says Melamed.
For private practitioners, it is different, Melamed says. For practitioners, the driving force for ODR is the competitive private ADR marketplace. Clients and attorneys now ask for the ability to use a secure virtual space. To be competitive, ADR practitioners are finding that they “need to keep up” and offer what the marketplace demands.
Information on Caseload Manager is at: www.CaseloadManager.com.
RIS’ ODR Technology and Information Center is at: www.OnlineDisputeResolution.com.
New Members can join Mediate.com, Arbitrate.com and the new online mediator and arbitrator panels at: www.mediate.com/Membership.