Question of the month: Alterity neutrals’ #GreatADR wish lists for 2023


Each month we pose a question to the diverse and experienced panel of Alterity ADR neutrals and share their wisdom, thoughts, and opinions on dispute resolution.

In December, the upcoming end of the year is a time for reflection – and a time to set intentions for the year ahead. So we asked:

What would be on your “wish list” for 2023 when it comes to the practice of alternative dispute resolution? How can all parties better collaborate for #GreatADR?

Mediator and arbitrator Vincent Cino’s wish is to alleviate the judicial vacancy crisis in the country.

“Federal and state judicial vacancies are at record levels. Several legal commentators have used the term “catastrophic” to describe the lack of access to the courts. The pandemic has greatly contributed to this problem but politics also plays a significant role. 

“It is beyond time for legislation to be enacted so that all lawsuits be directed to participate in mandatory mediation or settlement conferences soon after an answer is filed. Let us not forget that almost 98% of cases are resolved without proceeding to a trial. Why are we content to wait for a trial date before the parties are compelled to seriously attempt to resolve the matter? 

“Justice is being denied to many litigants as we stubbornly cling to the present system. In the vast majority of cases, discovery rarely changes the ultimate outcome of the case. For many litigants, waiting years to have someone listen to their side is a heavy burden to bear.”

Stanley Santire, an international arbitrator and mediator, says a priority on his checklist is nurturing Early Dispute Resolution or EDR.

“By placing mediation at the beginning, or even before, arbitration or litigation begins can save clients a great deal of money, enable litigators and arbitrators to expedite the decision process, build a better basis for arbitration or litigation if the mediation ends in impasse, and facilitate a process that maximizes the ability of the parties to meet their respective interests as opposed to initial positions.”

Jeff Kravitz, an arbitrator and mediator, says his hope and wish is to kindle or rekindle patience.

“We live in a world of Instagram, insta-success and insta-inpatience. Sometimes mediation takes time. When we read a recipe that calls for 60 minutes of cooking time, we know that half an hour will not create a delicious meal. When we travel 100 miles, sometimes Google Maps tells us that traffic is backed up and it will take two hours to get there. Impatience creates tension and frustration. Patience cultivates good mediation results.”

Peter Scarpato, an international arbitrator and mediator says this:

“My wish for 2023 is that people and companies in a dispute have the patience to listen to each other, the courage to acknowledge and understand each other, and the foresight to develop options that serve each other’s interests.  Honesty and vulnerability are strengths, giving negotiations the momentum necessary to bring people together.”

And finally, mediator Colleen Byers shared this wish list:

  1. First assume positive intent;
  2. Listen more than you speak;
  3. Practice meditation so you can pause more before knee-jerk reactions.
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