Impact of Legal Tech & Innovation on ADR

A recent post on the ADR Prof Blog, Indisputably, asked the question: How does the rise of new legal technology and innovation programs impact the future of ADR programs in legal ed? The post seemed to pit one program against the other after Georgia State University Law School announced it had pulled funding for a new ADR faculty position to prioritize resources in legal technology.  

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Alyson Carrel
Law + Technology

Technology is a major driver to innovation in the law and legal services. Although it isn’t the only driver of change, advancing technology has demonstrated a crucial need to reconsider how and what we teach in law schools. In describing this need, articles talk about teaching at the intersection of law & technology, but what does that mean? This overarching phrase, teaching at the intersection of law & technology, implies many different things; here are just five of the different meanings implied:

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Alyson Carrel
Law+Design & ADR

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to attend the Stanford Law + Design Summit hosted by their Legal Design Lab. Although I was invited to attend because of my new role at the law school in legal technology, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between design thinking, a human-centered approach to the process of product design and innovation, and dispute resolution. A few other ADR folks, such as Colin Rule and Dan Linna (who teaches negotiation at Michigan), were there and I wondered if others in our field have discovered design thinking and are using it in their teaching and practice. 

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Alyson Carrel
Quick Take on 'Regulating Mediators'

In his new article, “Regulating Mediators,” Art Hinshaw uses the salacious case of an Arizona mediator, Gary Karpin, who made inappropriate sexual advances towards parties and scammed them out of tens of thousands of dollars, to argue for occupational licensing of mediators. Although previous efforts to create some form of mediator credentialing have stalled or failed all together, the horrific facts of this case may make this latest effort a success. But even with the serious nature of this case and the clear need for some sort of consumer protection, Hinshaw recognizes that credentialing, especially licensing, can have other negative consequences that have to be addressed first. One significant, if unintended, negative consequence of licensing is the potential for limiting diversity and creating barriers of entry for minorities. Although well established in other fields, there is no definitive proof that licensing would have this impact on mediators. In fact, anecdotal evidence demonstrates the opposite. As Hinshaw writes, “a more structured method of entry into the field” may in fact increase diversity in our field.

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Alyson Carrel
Dreams of an ADR Career

Last week, Robert DeNiro spoke at the NYU Tisch School of Arts graduation ceremony.  After congratulating the students on their success, he paused, then added, “ “and, you’re f***ed.”  Everyone laughed because they understood the uncertainty these students face.  Unlike their peers in accounting, law or medicine who have already found jobs that will lead to success and security, DeNiro said, students pursuing careers in the arts will likely struggle.  But he joked that artists aren’t jealous of those accountant jobs because he said, students who choose the arts, don’t follow reason or logic when deciding what career to pursue, they follow their passion. He said, they may be f***ed, but it isn’t a bad place to be.  Because, he said, it is their passion that will make them successful.

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Alyson Carrel
ADR as 1st Career videoblog update

In September, I launched a new video blog called ADR as 1st Career, in order to collect and celebrate stories of individuals who chose the ADR field as the place to start their professional careers. In the past 3-4 months, the blog has grown from featuring just 5 individuals to now featuring 28 (with many more on the way). I have talked with ADR professionals from the east coast to west coast and even overseas in England and Italy. And the blog has been viewed over 2800 times.

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Alyson Carrel
Yes, Please

The ABA-Dispute Resolution Section just opened registration for the 17th Annual Spring Conference in Seattle, April 2015. One of the sessions that has been popular over the last couple years is called “What I’ve Been Reading,” where panelists share some books they have recently read and their thoughts and reactions as leaders in the ADR field (word on the street is this session will once again be featured at the conference in 2015). I just finished Amy Poehler’s new book, Yes, Please, and wanted to share some of the reflections I had on recent negotiation workshops I attended.

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Alyson Carrel
ADR as 1st Career - a new videoblog

There has been a lot of discussion on DR list serves about the next generation of ADR professionals, practitioners and academics.  For recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in ADR, the advice they often receive is to first practice law or gain experience in another field before transitioning to ADR as a 2nd (or even 3rd) career.  I assume this advice stems from the personal experience of those giving it – as this was the career path of ADR’s founding generation.  But is this necessarily the narrative for our next generation?  I have a feeling that narrative is changing and decided to explore this idea by creating a new video blog (www.adras1stcareer.blogspot.com).

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Alyson Carrel
Using Technology in the Classroom Wisely

Many of you might have seen the articles about the new research showing that taking notes by hand is better than taking notes on a laptop.

I know many of our law schools have been having this discussion – do we or do we not allow students to use laptops in the classroom. But I’d like to encourage us to expand the discussion from whether or not we allow students to use laptops to the discussion of how we better integrate emerging technology in our classrooms. Typing lecture notes on a laptop may be a poor substitute for taking notes by hand, but laptops aren’t just for note taking. They also have the potential to enhance student engagement and comprehension of material if used in a pedagogically sound way. And as the practice of law changes with advances in technology, it makes sense to integrate technology in our classroom when we can.

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Alyson Carrel
How Will Tomorrow's Lawyers Compete with Technology

In the article Machines v. Lawyers, Northwestern Law Professor John McGinnis argues that the advancement of technology and ability of machines to complete more complicated tasks is the blame for our recent decline in law school admissions. He says that while many blame the recession, “the plight of legal education and of the attorney workplace is also a harbinger of a looming transformation in the legal profession.” By replicating the work that lawyers do, he says that technology is changing the market not only with more efficient practices, but effectively shrinking the need for new lawyers. His examples include the use of predictive coding in e-discovery, aggregators to do complex case analysis, and the ability to automate will creation and even complex contracts thanks to advances in technology.

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Alyson Carrel