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The GPC North America Report

Message from IMI

The International Mediation Institute is delighted to present the GPC North America Report—a comparative analysis and recommendations based on open text questions asked at GPC events in the USA and Canada. We are grateful to the AAA-ICDR Foundation for their support in this endeavour.

The GPC Series was unique undertaking, of unprecedented scale and ambition. The idea of conducting a standardized survey of thousands of stakeholders engaged in dispute resolution at interactive events, both in-person and online, was conceived by IMI in 2014. The concept gained traction and was developed throughout 2015, becoming reality between March 2016 and July 2017. The GPC Series consisted of 28 events in 22 countries across the globe and was supplemented by on-line participation.

By focusing on the needs of corporate and individual users of civil and commercial dispute resolution services, the GPC Series prompted a much-needed global conversation about how conflict can and should be managed in the 21st Century.

The present report is a ‘deep dive’ into the qualitative data generated at GPC events in Austin, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Toronto. It highlights trends and differences between these locations, while allowing for actionable local and regional recommendations. This is particularly relevant in the era of the Singapore Convention and increased demand for the professionalization of mediation practice.  It will facilitate improved conversations between users and dispute resolution professionals about the evolution of dispute management and resolution practice. Readers can compare and contrast the conclusions here with the practices in other regions by studying the results
of polling from GPC events.

We invite you to learn more about the Global Pound Conference and join the ongoing conversation at

Laura M Skillen
Executive Director International Mediation Institute

Deborah Masucci
Independent Arbitrator and Mediator, IMI Board Co-Chair

Kimberly Taylor
IMI Board Co-Chair, International Mediation Institute

Message from the AAA-ICDR Foundation

The AAA-ICDR Foundation has been honored to support the work of the GPC Series 2016–17 and the International Mediation Institute.

The following report and the conversation generated by the GPC Series will continue to inspire thought leadership in the field of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). The GPC Series exhorts us all to look for opportunities where access to ADR and innovation in ADR methodologies can lead to significantly improved outcomes.  

In prior years the GPC Series provided rich context to discussions in our field by polling thousands of stakeholders
in jurisdictions around the world engaged in dispute resolution using standardized questions. The result was the start of a global conversation about how management of conflict can be improved to offer greater user satisfaction. The following report, with its focus on responses generated in North America, will continue to facilitate this essential discussion among users of litigation, arbitration, conciliation, and mediation.

Edna Sussman, Esq.,
Chair of the AAA-ICDR Foundation

Executive Summary

The GPC Series 2016–17 was the largest undertaking of its kind in the history of commercial dispute resolution (DR).

This report offers a comparative analysis of GPC events across North America. In doing so, it provides the commercial DR community with a framework for understanding the players and processes, identifying trouble spots and optimal states, and monitoring progress over time.

Importantly, this report highlights the unique features of each city, bringing to the surface the similarities and differences between jurisdictions. These findings have generated an unambiguous set of priorities for the North American dispute resolution (DR) community. The call to action is as follows:

Top Priorities:

1. Include ADR as a mandatory part of law school curricula and continuing legal education (CLE) for lawyers and judges and investigate options for inclusion of ADR in business schools.

2. Increase diversity of ADR providers.

3. Develop principles for proportionate discovery.

4. Conduct a systematic review of arbitration in the US, with specific reference to complexity, timeliness, cost and access to justice.

5. Develop a strategic plan to manage the growing influence of mediation in commercial DR.

6. Change the nomenclature from alternative/appropriate dispute resolution (ADR) to dispute resolution (DR) with a view to embedding a party-centric approach to dispute resolution. 


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