Virtual Events: When the “Room Where it Happens” is Closed

Posted on: Thu, 05/20/2021

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic, the AAA-ICDR® supported parties’ options to utilize virtual arbitrations and mediations. With the closing of hearing rooms, however, virtual became the only option. 

Acceptance began slowly, from just 17 virtual “events” in March 2020, growing by an enormous 4,100+% by March 2021. “Events” are defined here as settlement conferences, preliminary hearings, pre-mediation conferences, mediation sessions, and evidentiary hearings—points reached along the way on the arbitration and mediation roadmaps from initiation of a case to completion.

Through the successful administration of over 9,000 virtual events—with total claims and counterclaims of $14,845,221,898—the AAA-ICDR learned that there is clear potential for a hybrid form of arbitration or mediation to continue in the future, even when hearing room access is not restricted.  

Arbitral and mediation processes—already flexible—could be adapted further to suit party preferences. For example, when geographical location (and subsequent travel concerns) are not factors, arbitrator and mediator selection opens up in terms of specialty and diversity.

The evidentiary hearing was by far the event most held virtually, tailed by the mediation session, pre-mediation conference, preliminary hearing, and settlement conference.

Please click here for an interactive chart documenting the data by type of event and month.


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