ALI-ABA Annual Alternative Dispute Resolution Conference

Article excerpt

For those CPAs who want to increase their knowledge of mediation and arbitration, in order to use these alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques in their own practice, there is hardly a better way than by attending the annual American Law Institute/American Bar Association's two day program held during even years in New York. Many CPAs see these ADR techniques as a way to avoid costly litigation by making them part of their client engagement letters and partnership agreements. These CPA advocates of ADR also offer ADR consulting as a billable service to their clients

The December 1996 conference was chaired by Stephen A. Hochman, Esq. of New York. ADR practitioners came from eight states and included such diverse organizations as major U.S. corpora tions and law firms, various governmental agencies, Price Waterhouse, and the Archdiocese of New York.

Mediation

The most important news for CPAs concerning mediation, which is rapidly growing as the first line of defense against litigation of disputes, was the report of Deborah Masucci, Esq., vice president, Dispute Resolution for the NASD, concerning the results of their mediation program's first two years.

Over 900 cases were completed and the success rate was 86%, which is in line with mediation generally and with the experience for claims against CPAs as reported by one of the leading CPA professional liability insurers. This high success rate is especially significant because mediation is voluntary, and all parties need to be satisfied with the result. Otherwise there is no settlement. Mediation has become so important to the legal profession that the American Bar Association's journal referred to it as a "sleeping giant" and urged members to learn more about it and include it in their practices. …

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