PROFESSOR NANCY WELSH, ELECTED TO AMERICAN LAW INSTITUTE, ADVOCATES FOR GREATER TRANSPARENCY IN COURT-CONNECTED DISPUTE RESOLUTION
Professor Nancy Welsh was elected to the American Law Institute (ALI) this year. This is the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and otherwise improve the law. ALI members have the opportunity to influence the development of the law, working with other eminent lawyers, judges, and academics, to give back to their profession and contribute to the public good. Two of ALI’s current Restatement projects deal directly with ADR processes: the restatements on Consumer Contracts and on the U.S. Law of International Commercial and Investor-State Arbitration.
Professor Welsh is having a national and international impact on our understanding of the scope and impact of court-connected ADR:
- As Chair of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution’s Advisory Committee on Dispute Resolution Research, Professor Welsh had recommended specific data elements for courts to gather about ADR. Her recommendations went to a working group of the National Center for State Courts. This year, as she and her committee had urged, the Center recommended more ADR data gathering, a big step toward increased transparency in the field.
- Also in this past year, Professor Welsh consulted with the Scottish Government on proposals for increasing the consistency and use of mediation within the civil justice system in Scotland. Professor Welsh met with a Scottish Expert Group, which has cited her in its report, Bringing Mediation into the Mainstream in Civil Justice in Scotland.
- Professor Welsh joined the Honorable Justice Gurinder Sistani, recently retired from India’s Delhi High Court, to present an online lecture comparing mediation in the United States and India.
- Professor Welsh participated in the multi-session, invitation-only Resolution Systems Inc./JAMS Foundation National Convening of Experts on Family ODR.
Professor Welsh made several presentations in 2019-2020 focused on the need for greater data collection and transparency regarding the use of court-connected dispute resolution, including mediation:
- She gave the keynote address at the 2019 conference of the Florida Supreme Court’s Dispute Resolution Center. Over 1,000 Florida mediators, neutrals and lawyers were in attendance. Professor Welsh’s keynote was titled "What We Do and Don't Know About Court-Connected Mediation."
- She presented the Overton Lecture at the University of Florida Levin College of Law’s inaugural Institute for Dispute Resolution Faculty Workshop in Gainesville, Florida. She presented on “Bringing Transparency, Accountability--and Competition Perhaps?--to Court-Connected Dispute Resolution."
- On November 1, 2019, she presented at Fordham University School of Law’s symposium on “Access to Justice in ADR.” Her article, “Bringing Transparency and Accountability (With a Dash of Competition) to Court-Connected Dispute Resolution,” was published in Fordham Law Review’s symposium issue.
- In 2020, she presented as part of a roundtable on “Measurement and Methodology: Approaches to the Study of Access to Justice” at the Law and Society Association’s annual conference, held virtually, and at the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution’s virtual spring conference, in a workshop entitled “What Data Should Courts Collect.”
- In October, 2020, Professor Welsh presented at the annual (virtual) Jed D. Melnick Symposium at Cardozo School of Law. The symposium was titled “Presumptive ADR and Court Systems of the Future,” and Professor Welsh’s presentation was “What Do We Want From Our Justice System? That’s What We Should Measure, Assess and Report.”
Professor Welsh also made presentations on other dispute resolution-related topics in 2019-2020:
- Along with Professor Jean Sternlight and Colin Rule, she was part of a panel on “Expanding Access to Justice with ODR: Best Practices and Standards from the ADR Field” at the ODR (Online Dispute Resolution) Forum hosted by the National Center for State Courts.
- She chaired a panel discussing “From Where We Are to Where We Are Heading: Alternative Means to Investor-State Dispute Settlement” at the 2020 Editor-in-Chief Lecture on “Innovative Strategies for Conflict Management: Improving Investor-State Relations to Propel Global Growth” held at the St. Thomas University School of Law. Her article, co-authored with Professor Andrea Schneider, will appear in the St. Thomas Law Review.
- In March, 2020, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the Supreme Court of Ohio’s 2020 Dispute Resolution Conference (where she was scheduled to participate in a plenary panel), she recorded a presentation on special masters with Merril Hirsh, Co-Chair of the ABA Judicial Division Lawyers Conference Committee.
- Closer to home, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, she presented on “ADR at Texas A&M University School of Law and in Texas Courts” for the Tarrant County Bar Association’s ADR Section.
Professor Welsh has also been busy with book projects. In 2019, West Academic published the 6th edition of Dispute Resolution and Lawyers, co-authored by Professor Welsh with Leonard Riskin, Chris Guthrie, Jennifer Robbennolt, Richard Reuben and Art Hinshaw. In 2020, DRI Press will publish a book co-edited by Professor Welsh and Howard Gadlin. The book is titled Evolution of a Field: Personal Histories in Conflict Resolution.