On March 16, 2006 prominent New Jersey law firm, Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis LLP, hosted the Dispute Resolution Symposium at the Woodbridge Hilton to inform the business and legal communities of the evolving uses of alternative dispute resolution tools, such as arbitration, mediation and mini-trials, to decrease the costs and disruption of disputes in the workplace. The Symposium, “Bottom Line Dispute Resolution in the Twenty-first Century,” brought together nearly 100 attendees from a variety of industries and professions.
During the two hour Symposium, a panel of distinguished experts considered three business dispute scenarios: a shareholder, construction and supplier conflicts. In discussions by the panel members, a host of conflict management strategies were explained to reduce the costs of disputes and to support ongoing relationships with important business stakeholders. Among the strategies discussed were:
- Contract clauses calling for early and escalating dispute resolution techniques starting with negotiations at the first sign of a conflict, and progressing to mediation and perhaps arbitration;
- The importance of drafting into contracts the need for senior managers above the level of the original contract parties to be involved in the first instance of mediation;
- The need for increased scrutiny of the applicable credentials of the neutral party – mediator or arbitrator – so that the neutral’s expertise is appropriate to the prevailing global parameters of many disputes. This heightened scrutiny is increasingly important to conflicts stretching over international boundaries. Many audience members from all size firms recognized the global scope of many of their contracts and contract partners.
The panel members were:
- Robert S. Buford, Managing Partner, Robert A. M. Stern, Architects, LLP, NYC;
- Stephen M. Dahl, V.P. & Chief Legal Counsel, K. Hovnanian Companies, Edison, NJ;
- Robert S. Greenbaum, Partner, Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis LLP;
- Dennis J. Helfman, General Counsel, BMW of North America, Inc., Woodcliff Lake, NJ;
- Richard K. Jeydel, Secretary & General Counsel, Kanematsu USA Inc., NYC;
- Alan S. Naar, Partner, Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis LLP;
- Michael J. Wolf, Counsel for Dispute Resolution Technology to the National Mediation Board, Washington, D.C.;
- J. Warren Wood III, Of Counsel, Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis LLP
In commenting on the genesis of the Symposium, Robert S. Greenbaum noted, “ADR has been around a long time. Business leaders need current information about the wide variety of strategies and cutting edge techniques that can help them decrease the stunning costs of litigation and preserve relationships that affect the bottom line.”
Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis LLP has offices located in Woodbridge and Roseland, New Jersey. For more information, call 732-549-5600 or visit the firm's web site at www.greenbaumlaw.com.