Online Dispute Resolution

Oct 27, 2014 | Dispute Resolution, Future of Law Practice

Many disputes are resolved outside of the court room in formal or casual mediation, arbitration, or other alternative methods of resolution. Moving the dispute resolution process online seems like a natural progression, but it almost feels too convenient.  The first image that comes to mind is a cheesy chat room of sorts with pop-ups that say “click here to chat live for help”.  While I am a huge advocate of utilizing technology to promote efficiency, I still miss the face-to-face contact.  Solving disputes without the intimacy of meeting takes something away and sort of de-humanizes the situation. “Humanizing” the dispute is extremely important to reaching a resolution. It is a lot easier to say “no” when you are not staring into the eyes of someone sitting across from you.

Online dispute resolution caught my eye because not only will it inevitably use the cloud for collaborations and meetings, but it is also a practical venue to consider for cloud disputes.

Currently, online dispute resolution (ODR) is permitted only for issues surrounding the sale of goods using the ODR platform.  The more I learned about ODR, the more I liked the idea.  I’m a sucker for convenience and the thought that someone who didn’t receive the goods that they paid for or didn’t receive payment, etc. could use the ODR platform to easily begin processing a claim with a demand.

ODR is new and worth looking into as a platform for alternative dispute resolution. I imagine it will be substantially more affordable than existing dispute resolution such as litigation. It will be interesting to see if other areas of law turn to ODR.

Besides, it is exciting to see the four walls of the office break down as the world becomes even more accessible from the beach. Maybe disagreements would be resolved if more people were working with a view and logging in remote to settle conflicts. At the very least, why not make a stop at ODR before airing the laundry in court.