State court systems rather suddenly are showing a tremendous interest in adopting court-integrated ODR systems. I have been involved with ODR system design for almost twenty years, and for the great majority of that time all the significant progress came from independent private sector alternative dispute resolution providers such as Modria (now part of Tyler Technologies Inc) and SmartSettle, or business-specific embedded systems like the one for eBay. Courts systems now are increasingly interested in ODR, which is significant because sustainability has been one of the greatest challenges for private independent ODR providers. The financial support that a judicial system can offer makes it easier to build and maintain an ODR system. The article also will describe my experience as the System Designer for the New York State Unified Court System. The details for those proposed designs and the lessons learned should help those moving forward with similar projects. I became involved in New York’s ODR project in October 2016 as the American Bar Association liaison for an Enterprise Fund Award that the ABA provided to New York to assist in creating a pilot ODR system. The grant was titled “Expanding Access to Legal Services through the Advancement of Court–Annexed Online Dispute Resolution.” The ABA sections that participated in the grant application included my section, the Section of Dispute Resolution, the Judicial Division, the Young Lawyers Division, the ABA Fund for Justice and Education, the Section of Science & Technology Law, and the Commission on the Future of Legal Services. I have invested almost two thousand hours in this project, so it obviously is very important to me. The following article is based my own observations and conclusions and was not written on behalf of the New York State Unified Court System.



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