The “Global Pound Conference” — CORRECTION

The International Mediation Institute has been bouncing around an intriguing idea – a replication of the fabled 1976 Pound Conference, but on a global scale and an internet-enabled synchronous platformI’m unclear whether this event will actually come to fruition, and the IMI organizers, true to form, have already “Pounded” the event with acronyms such as GPC, LOC and COG — but the concept is so neat that we should certainly be aware of it and monitor its development.

CORRECTION:  IMI Board member Michael McIlwrath writes to say:

Peter, YBIWCTF! (You Betcha It Will Come To Fruition!)  Anchor funding is already in place, and we have more than the minimum number of cities expressing serious interest, and several have already committed.  The idea was initially 15 cities, but so many are already committing or expressing interest that our focus is shifting to ensuring all of the conferences will achieve high levels of quality and broad stakeholder participation.

Sorry, Michael.  Sorry, IMI.  Onwards and Upwards….

General Counsel’s Role in ADR and Transactional Decision-Making

The recent issue of The Business Lawyer, a publication of the ABA Business Law Section, addresses a topic of particular interest: “the hard choices that face a general counsel when weighing the pros and cons of whether and when a particular complex business dispute is better suited for litigation in the public courtroom or through a carefully constructed alternative dispute resolution process, including mediation and/or arbitration.”

The article, of interest on its face, gains authority by virtue of its authors:  former Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Norman Veasey and former Chancellor of the Delaware Court of Chancery Grover C. Brown.  It gains even more credibility because it reflects not merely the observations of these expert observers of business disputes, but also extensive interviews with 19 General Counsels or their principal in-house colleagues — including companies not often heard from on this topic, such as Walt Disney, Fluor, Oracle, Walgreens, Proctor & Gamble and General Dynamics.

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Delaware’s Rapid Arbitration Act

Its first attempt having been stricken by the Third Circuit, the Delaware General Assembly recently enacted the Delaware Rapid Arbitration Act that seems ideally suited to a broad range of business disputes, and is a welcome contribution to rational, reasonable and responsive arbitration law.

Among its features, the Act requires that the entire proceeding be completed within 120 days of the appointment of the arbitrator (upon pain of a reduction of the arbitrator’s fee) and limitations on judicial appeal both prior to and after issuance of an award.  It applies only to disputes in which at least one party is a business formed in Delaware, and specifically excludes from its provisions disputes involving consumers.

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Mediating with an Unrepresented Party

Prof. Sharon Press joined Prof. Lela Love, Prof. Michael Colatrella and Prof. Ellen Waldman at the ABA Dispute Resolution Section Spring Meeting in Seattle for a discussion of a phenomenon raising highly-charged challenges for practitioners:  What are a mediator’s ethical duties to a party to a mediation who is unrepresented and, in at least some respects, disadvantaged in conducting legal negotiations with parties who have the benefit of counsel?  The speakers have personal experience mediating directly or through clinics in EEOC, landlord/tenant, small claims court, or other contexts with varying populations that include self-represented litigants.

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