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Our Arbitration Hubs: A Better Approach to ADR Management

15 March 2019|Technology

By Wayne Nitti

Given the advent of e-filing requirements in federal and state courts across the country, it’s surprising that much of the ADR community still clings to antiquated tools like fax machines and courier services for filing dispute-related documents. Although some national ADR organizations offer an online filing portal, many smaller dispute resolution companies and individual arbitrators continue to rely on delivery methods that are outmoded, inefficient, and prone to error.

Case Anywhere’s arbitration hubs offer a robust and industry-respected alternative. Since 2012, we’ve hosted ADR cases online through a brand affiliation and partnership with JAMS, the global leader in alternative dispute resolution. Unlike some systems, our online platform combines e-filing with e-service and is used for all arbitration documents throughout the life of a case.  Beyond that, Case Anywhere affords ADR associations, neutrals, parties, and their counsel access to a fully integrated professional case management system.

Through our proprietary ADR platform, all stakeholders in a dispute and their professional staff can file and serve documents, review records and transcripts, calendar events, and correspond over a message board. Our software organizes all documents in easy-to-access file structures, eliminating the need for arbitrators and attorneys to amass and keep track of their own voluminous case files. And our message board can reduce the logistical headaches sometimes associated with arbitration, enabling neutrals to swiftly resolve arguments among attorneys that might otherwise require a hearing or conference call, without giving rise to ex parte concerns.

Similar to our civil litigation case management system, which judges in Los Angeles Superior Court’s Complex Division rely on in overseeing mass torts and other gigantic proceedings, our ADR platform is well suited for high-stakes matters, including disputes involving many parties and law firms. Multiple actions can be organized within a single arbitration hub, where a case-specific filter enables users to isolate and restrict access to documents related to particular proceedings. The ADR platform works equally well in smaller cases, bringing streamlined case management to matters that might involve only a few parties.

We’re typically brought in by an agreement among counsel, or at the order or recommendation of an arbitrator, and our system can be utilized either by counsel only or as a shared platform for the neutral, lawyers, and others involved. Either way, our service adds value, as the parties achieve improved efficiencies and enhanced security across three key categories:

  • E-filing and E-service
    • Eliminates the expense of courier fees, photocopying, and time assembling service packets.
    • Minimizes mistakes resulting from incomplete service lists, incorrect addresses, and facsimile transmission problems.
    • Avoids security and reliability risks associated with serving documents via email. (Our system sends out links to a password-protected database.)
    • Enables Case Anywhere, as an independent third party, to verify that service was completed.
  • Document Hosting
    • Once uploaded by a user, arbitration documents are automatically indexed and stored for easy retrieval and download anytime and anywhere by neutrals, case managers, law firms, parties, in-house counsel, and others, as necessary.
    • Our document production module can handle record productions, including a large number of files in a single transmission.
    • Documents are color-coded by submitting party for easy identification, and can be searched by source, type, and title, among other criteria.
    • Clients can customize file and sub-folder structures or choose one of our default options.
    • Online access to a separately housed transcript library, where users can find uploaded hearing and deposition transcripts, exhibits, and videos.
    • Entire files can be purged from the system at the conclusion of a proceeding, thereby satisfying document destruction protocols.
  • Message Board
    • Serves as a central hub of communication among the neutral and attorneys, and a convenient medium for arbitrators and case managers to address both substantive and administrative matters.
    • Each message posted is sent to recipients’ email within minutes and includes a link for posting a direct reply.
    • For easy reference, all notices and bulletins remain in the online case file throughout a matter’s pendency.
    • Users can sort messages chronologically or by subject thread and can also search by keywords.
    • Eliminates ex parte communication concerns, as postings are made available to all counsel.

Not long ago, a professional arbitrator described to me her frustration in hearing a dispute that didn’t utilize a streamlined ADR management system like Case Anywhere. Because counsel had submitted records through a hodgepodge of email attachments, she found herself needlessly devoting time to locating and organizing documents for review. This time-consuming and wasteful exercise, she noted, would have been unnecessary if Case Anywhere had been involved. On any given day, I am confident that many other arbitration professionals express similarly aggravated sentiments.

If you’re an executive in the ADR industry or an arbitrator seeking to become more efficient, why not consider our proven online system? We have the capability to create and host company- and brand-specific private platforms for your ADR practice, or—according to your preference—can quickly set up matters on a case-by-case basis under our logo. Your organization will enjoy not only a streamlined user experience but also the support of an experienced team of case management professionals and technology experts. At a time when corporate clients seek to rein in their legal spending and security breaches dominate the headlines, our ADR platform represents a cost-effective and secure e-filing and case management solution. Contact us to take your ADR case management to the next level.