Technology continues to create new conflict, and with that, find new ways to resolve that conflict. There are many more ways conflict can be resolved online than through Zoom. It’s probably the most important thing I present to lawyers and mediators: we can expand the pie for all dispute resolution practitioners when we support and encourage new platforms and avenues to blossom reaching customers. With this in mind, we can capture users that we never imagine we could.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the rush to resolve disputes online reminds me of what originally sparked my interest nearly ten years ago — resolving disputes between friends on a very quickly fading AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) and MySpace and, later, a rapidly growing Facebook. It later evolved into watching Modria simulations at Cornell and how online disputes influenced collective bargaining. We tend to focus on the parties that know they have a dispute: the contractor not paid in full, the employment or divorce contract not honored, the failure to comply with a commercial agreement, and so on. Changing the paradigm and, instead, focusing on those that don’t know they have a dispute opens an enormous opportunity for ODR. Access to justice, and ODR specifically, can’t realize its true potential without equitable technology tools that serve consumers. …


Simon Boehme

writing about online dispute resolution; vice president at legaler; founder and advisor at multiple legal tech companies; proudly from Kalamazoo, MI

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