August 1999


By Philip Zimmerman, CPA

CPAs knowledgeable in the use of the Internet will be pleased by the prediction of the luncheon speaker at the 1999 New Jersey Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Conference. Robert A. Baruch Bush, the Rains Distinguished Professor of Alternative Dispute Resolution at the Hofstra University School of Law, believes that in the next millennium more and more parties to disputes will want a higher degree of participation and control.

Bush predicts that the increasing ability to take charge of purchasing, research, and communication directly through the Internet will cultivate a do-it-yourself mentality among individuals. In the realm of dispute resolution, however, parties currently find that they need to rely upon a closed system of attorneys and courts to come to a settlement. Bush believes that there will be an increasing desire for a more open system to deal with dispute resolution.

The Internet will permit parties to a dispute to more quickly, easily, and cheaply access a dispute settlement system according to Bush. CPAs that have had to play a secondary role to attorneys, the current gatekeepers, will be able to expand their ADR practice by having direct contact with disputants through the use of the Internet.

Workshops at the conference included the CPA's Role in ADR, ADR's Impact on the Courts, Long-term Financial Effects of Divorce, Securities Arbitration, and ADR in Employment Cases. Panelists for the CPA's Role in ADR were William C. Barrett, III, from Richmond, Va., and Joan M. D'Uva from Flemington, N.J.

For further information, or an invitation to next June's conference, contact the New Jersey Society of CPAs at (973) 226-4494, the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators at (800) 981-4800, or Philip Zimmerman at *

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