Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2390278
 


 



Gender Differences in Dispute Resolution Practice: Report on the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Practice Snapshot Survey


Gina Viola Brown


Independent; American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution

Andrea Kupfer Schneider


Marquette University - Law School

February 3, 2014

Marquette Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 14-04

Abstract:     
This report to the ABA Section on Dispute Resolution outlines the results of a survey to the membership concerning the use of neutrals in both mediation and arbitration on behalf of the Women in Dispute Resolution Committee (WIDR) of the Section of Dispute Resolution. The goals of the WIDR Committee was to change how neutral selection occurs in disputes, to increase the number of women who serve as neutrals, and to ensure that women and minorities were proportionally represented as neutrals. The first step, before suggesting changes, was to understand the current situation in the world of dispute resolution. In fall 2012, the Section of Dispute Resolution surveyed the lawyers belonging to the section to determine how mediators and arbitrators are selected in legal cases and the types of cases being resolved through the many available dispute resolution processes. Specifically, the survey was designed to examine who is being selected as a neutral, by whom, using what process, and for what types of cases. This report explains the methodology of the survey, the demographics of the respondents and neutrals involved in particular cases, and, most importantly, the information about neutral selection.

This survey provides clear data on women serving in neutral capacities and demonstrates several different potential avenues of change. Three preliminary conclusions drawn from this data are — first, the type and subject matter of the dispute clearly impacts neutral selection. As detailed above, certain practice areas are far more male and certain others are quite female. Second, it appears to matter how the neutral is selected in mediation. Networking resulted in only 29% women while provider lists resulted in an increased percentage of 47%. Finally, arbitration and mediation are not the same for gender integration. Arbitration seems to hold steady at 20% regardless of selection process and even decreases further in panel arbitrations.

Our recommendations included that clients and lawyers could be encouraged to think more broadly about who they use as neutrals. Particularly in three arbitrator panels, when considering equally qualified candidates, there should be a presumption that a woman be selected as part of a panel. Furthermore, neutrals need to be aware that personal networks still appear to be the primary source of referrals and that these networks need to be strengthened and broadened to include women. Provider organizations should be commended for improved gender balance in mediation. Courts, provider organizations, agencies, and other organizations that administer and oversee ADR programs should be encouraged to use lists and the lists themselves should be broadened to include more women. In arbitration, provider organizations (a) should also adopt the assumption that multi-arbitrator panels should include one woman when they are appointing the panel and (b) should have a higher percentage of women on their list so that these lists can do more than reflect the current situation. Additional efforts in certain practice areas (commercial, construction, etc.) are likely warranted with a targeted program to identify and encourage women and minorities to serve as neutrals.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 51

Keywords: dispute resolution, arbitration, mediation, gender, women's studies

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Date posted: February 4, 2014 ; Last revised: February 19, 2014

Suggested Citation

Brown, Gina Viola and Schneider, Andrea Kupfer, Gender Differences in Dispute Resolution Practice: Report on the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Practice Snapshot Survey (February 3, 2014). Marquette Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 14-04. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2390278 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2390278

Contact Information

Gina Viola Brown
Independent ( email )
No Address Available
United States
American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution ( email )
321 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60610
United States
2022129314 (Phone)
Andrea Kupfer Schneider (Contact Author)
Marquette University - Law School ( email )
Eckstein Hall
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201
United States
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