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ODR in Family Law: Developments in Texas – and the Rest of the World

This program took place Thursday, November 9, 2023, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Central (online)

Co-sponsored by Texas A&M University School of Law’s Dispute Resolution Program,, and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts


10:00 am Welcome – Nancy Welsh

Nancy Welsh is the Frank W. Elliott, Jr. University Professor of Law and Director of the Dispute Resolution Program, Texas A&M University School of Law.

10:15 am Reflecting on the Current and Future Use of ODR in Family Law in Texas, the U.S., and Internationally – Colin Rule, in conversation with Richard Shannon

Colin Rule was co-editor of the Family Court Review’s special issue devoted to ODR in family law. He is President and CEO of and Practitioner-in-Residence at Texas A&M University School of Law. In 2011, Mr. Rule co-founded, an ODR provider based in Silicon Valley, which was acquired by Tyler Technologies in 2017. From 2017 to 2020 Colin served as Vice President of ODR at Tyler. Previously, he was Director of Online Dispute Resolution for eBay and PayPal and has worked in the dispute resolution field for more than 25 years as a mediator, trainer, and consultant. He is currently Co-Chair of the Advisory Board of the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution at UMass-Amherst and has been honored by the American Bar Association with the Frank Sander Award and by the Association for Conflict Resolution with its Mary Parker Follett Award. For the past 25 years,

Richard Shannon’s practice has focused on family law and conflict resolution in Texas, through coaching, counseling, negotiation and mediation. He is an experienced family law litigator and mediator and serves as Chair of the Innovations Work Group of the Collaborative Law and ADR Sections of the State Bar of Texas. He believes that family law courts, in addition to their traditional functions, should facilitate the healing of human conflicts. He is the founder and president of the Enlightened Family Justice Institute.

11:15 am Family ODR in Canada, with a Focus on AI’s Current and Future Role – Darren Gingras, in conversation with Anita Savage

Darren Gingras is the Executive Director of SIËSDE Dispute Resolution Technologies. He previously worked at Property Possibilities Inc. as a Founder. Mr. Gingras’ and Josh Morrison’s article predicts how Artificial Intelligence can and will assist family dispute resolution processes in the future. Their piece sketches out not only how these tools will work, but also how lawyers and judges will use them in cases, and how their use may affect the field over the long term. Mr. Gingras’ presentation will also consider the progress of Family ODR in Canada more generally.

Anita Savage is a board-certified family law attorney and partner in the Dallas firm of Wilson, Lake & Savage. She is the immediate past-President of Collaborative Divorce Dallas and currently serves as the Chair of the State Bar of Texas’s Collaborative Law Section and the Chair of the Dallas Bar Association’s Collaborative Law Section. In 2020, Ms. Savage was selected to Lawdragon’s Top 500 Leading Family Lawyers in the United States and since 2018 as a Best Lawyer in American for her work in Family Law. She is also a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation.

12:00 pm The Netherlands’ Experience with Rechtwijzer and Beyond – Laura Kistemaker, in conversation with Tawanna Lynn Cesare

Laura Kistemaker is co-founder and COO of Justice42. Justice42 is a legal tech company that developed the online divorce platform Previously, Laura worked at The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law. There she was involved in’s predecessor Rechtwijzer and in various other innovative legal projects. Ms. Kistemaker’s article discusses the Dutch experience with the Rechtwijzer and its evolution into Her presentation will also bring us up-to-date on developments in the Netherlands which has been at the forefront of innovation in the use of technology to resolve family disputes. Ms. Kistemaker has been the person driving much of that innovation.

Tawanna Lynne Cesare, a partner in the Fort Worth law firm of Cantey Hanger, has extensive experience in family law litigation, including complex divorce and property settlement, representation of high net worth individuals, domestic and international child custody matters, terminations and adoptions, paternity establishment, child support, grandparents’ rights, modifications and collaborative law.

12:45 pm Close / Wrap Up


Nancy Welsh

Nancy Welsh is a recognized scholar and has been a professor of law for the last 20 years, teaching dispute resolution and procedural law. She has dedicated the better part of her career to the practice, system design and assessment of mediation and other negotiative and conflict management processes, including… MORE >


Colin Rule

Colin Rule is CEO of Resourceful Internet Solutions, Inc. ("RIS"), home of,,, and a number of additional leading online dispute resolution initiatives.  From 2017 to 2020, Colin was Vice President for Online Dispute Resolution at Tyler Technologies. Tyler acquired, an ODR provider that Colin co-founded,… MORE >


Darren Gingras

Darren leads a diverse, exciting and amazing Team of professionals in the dispute resolution industry, focused on creating novel processes that carry individuals through major life-transitions. Fervently invested in Canadian family law ADR/ODR processes, Darren’s endeavors emphasize innovation and his team has created numerous processes and procedures to facilitate proactive… MORE >


Anita Savage

Anita helps parents stay focused on their children and on protecting them from the trauma that contested and prolonged litigation brings with it. “I believe every child deserves the freedom to continue to love both parents even if they don’t live together anymore,” says Anita, “and every parent deserves to… MORE >


Laura Kistemaker

If anybody back at university had told me I would end up being passionate about enabling users to solve their problems through state-of-the-art IT-platforms, I wouldn't have believed her. But then again, I did study history and international relations in order to understand why people behave as they do in… MORE >


Tawanna Lynn Cesare

Tawanna Lynn Cesare began her legal career as an associate with Cantey Hanger from 2003-2007, following a summer clerkship. During that time, she focused on business and commercial litigation matters, including banking, construction, trademark infringement, insurance and personal injury defense. Drawing on her litigation skills, Ms. Cesare developed a successful… MORE >

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