National Arbitration Forum Public Service


"The National Arbitration Competition is a great way to learn advocacy skills by collaborating with a group, trying out different strategies in theory and in actual practice, being forced to think on one's feet, and receiving both positive and critical feedback from experienced arbitrators.”

Law student Rebecca Sonntag on her experience at the 2006 National Arbitration Competition Finals, sponsored by the FORUM

"Each year that I am involved with the competition I have been more impressed by the students’ abilities
 and skills as advocates."

Law student Adam Towe on competing in 2007-2008 and serving as the national student director for 2008-2009.

Committed to Alternative Dispute Resolution Education
The National Arbitration Forum (FORUM) is committed to strengthening the civil justice system by providing accessible, affordable dispute resolution programs and services. Our commitment is reflected not only in our company's core business model, but also in our rich tradition of supporting ADR understanding and practice in the greater legal community.

Promoting ADR Best Practices
As advocates of best practices, the FORUM strongly encourages ADR practitioners to follow the guidance of the courts when deciding and administering ADR cases. To that end, we research and summarize current case law, and freely share it in our complimentary e-newsletter (ADR Law & Policy Update), as well as our Today in ADR online column. In addition, we furnish sitting judges with complimentary copies of The Judicial Benchbook, an instructive manual on arbitration and mediation procedures.

We promote fairness and mutuality in ADR through continuing legal education (CLE) presentations, ADR discussion panels, and published articles. Our expert staff has contributed to legal journals and trade publications on such topics as the arbitrator selection process and mutuality in arbitration agreements.

National Arbitration Competition Sponsorship and Development
In 2005, the FORUM and ABA Law Student Division co-developed the inaugural national Arbitration Competition, in which teams of law students prepare and compete in a mock arbitral hearing. Our ongoing co-sponsorship of this annual event provides law students like Rebecca Sonntag with the opportunity to actively participate in a realistic arbitration session (see inset above). Many FORUM Neutrals and staff attorneys volunteer their time as judges and critique students' work.

Consumers and Businesses
We also serve both consumers and businesses by providing a wealth of additional, introductory information about ADR on our website. This includes arbitration and mediation process overviews, procedural flowcharts, frequently asked questions, and links to other ADR resources. Additionally, the FORUM provides pro bono mediations and in forma pauperis arbitrations to those unable to afford these services.

Studies and Research
In addition to case law research, the FORUM has partnered with organizations such as the American Bar Association (ABA) to develop surveys measuring the effectiveness and usage of ADR. Results of these and other studies are published on our website, and available in the Benefits of Arbitration Report.

Sponsorships and Co-Sponsorships
The FORUM also proudly sponsors and co-sponsors other ADR programs and events, in coordination with bar associations, business groups, consumer organizations and non-profit associations. The inaugural meeting of the Academy of Court Appointed Masters was sponsored by the FORUM in 2004.

The FORUM's sponsorships and co-sponsorships have included: American Trial Lawyers Association 2005 Annual Winter ConventionABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division, ABA Tort, Trial and Insurance Practice Section, ABA Senior Lawyers Division, ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Spring Conference, ABA Section of Litigation 2005 ABA Annual Conference, Capital University Law School National Conference for Minority Professionals in Alternative Dispute Resolution,
California Dispute Resolution Council 12th National Policy Conference, and the Hennepin County Bar Association Foundation Bar Benefits 2006, benefiting the Children's Law Center of Minnesota, the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, the Minneapolis Mediation Program and the Volunteer Lawyers Network.

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