For many years there has been a serious shortage of diversity within the legal profession, and especially in the Judiciary and ADR Adjudication areas of the profession. Both the American Bar Association and the State Bar of Michigan have been diligently working to correct the lack of minority and female adjudicators and decision makers available to provide decision making services to the general population involved in disputes and in need of impartial neutral decision making.
Not all Arbitrators and/or Mediators have been lawyers or trained adjudicators in the ADR profession historically. It is only recently that any serious effort has been made to allow or encourage minorities and women to assume these important adjudication roles in the Alternate Dispute Resolution industry. Some of this recent movement is in response to demands from parties in litigation and disputes to have a mixed pool of ADR arbitration and medication professionals to be candidates to hear cases and help resolve disputes. This severe shortage of Arbitrators especially who are persons of color has recently been highlighted by a number of minority owned businesses and persons involved in business disputes having pointed to the fact that some of their disputes would be better/fairer handled and results accepted by the parties if someone from their own cultures, ethnic backgrounds, and perspectives could be involved in resolving disputes arising in their communities. One of the recent more noticed such criticisms of lack of diversity in the ADR profession was raised by Jay-Zee, an icon in the commercial black music industry.
[To gain additional insight into J-Zee's criticism of the lack of diversity in AAA arbitration panels, you can click here.]
Please join with me and hundreds of other legal and ADR professionals in committing to increased utilization of Minorities and Women ADR professionals in Dispute Resolution. I signed my State Bar of Michigan Statement of Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion in 2015!
I have provided on this page a copy of the State Bar of Michigan Pledge to Achieve Diversity and Inclusion for consideration and adoption by your or your organization..
If I do not meet your preferences and needs for fair, knowledgeable, legal and impartial adjudication of ADR needs of you or your company, I hope you will consider this Pledge to Diversity and Inclusion and seek to make sure that your agency (whether it be AAA, FINRA, or any other provider of Dispute Resolution services) offers you arbitration panel member suggestions which reflect the diversity and inclusion of our communities, your employees, and social justice and equity needs and goals. If you do not have agencies offering you ADR panels with members reflecting your communities composition and needs, perhaps I can help you identify other ADR professionals who might meet your needs or goals. The major ADR agencies, such as AAA, have gone on record supporting increasing diversity in the profession.
The American Arbitration Association statement regarding diversity can be viewed here.
In the fall of 2018, the State Bar of Michigan ADR Section Council (of which I am a member) published a Quarterly Newsletter or the SBM section which focused on and identified goals and conditions of the Michigan ADR profession, composition by race, ethnic background, and gender, here in the State of Michigan.