Established in 1977, the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR) is an independent nonprofit organization that helps prevent and resolve legal conflict more effectively and efficiently. Its mission is to manage conflict to enable purpose. CPR is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the tax code.
CPR Dispute Resolution Services LLC (DRS) is a subsidiary of CPR (also referred to herein as the CPR Institute). It is a boutique-style provider of leading-edge dispute management services – mediation, arbitration, custom appointing services, a panel of dispute prevention specialists, and more - that leverages resources generated by the CPR Institute. The CPR Dispute Resolution team is responsive, efficient, and detail oriented. The case managers have extensive experience in ADR, with backgrounds at a range of provider institutions, and have managed matters across the globe and in a wide variety of different subject areas. The Panel of Distinguished Neutrals (the Panel or the Neutrals) is a carefully curated, diverse group of prominent, experienced subject matter and ADR experts based in more than 30 countries.
For purposes of compliance with state requirements, such as the California Code of Civil Procedure §1281.85, et. seq., and Standard 8 of the California Rules of Court, Ethics Standards for Neutrals, DRS makes the following institutional disclosures:
Relationships Between DRS and Parties or Law Firms
DRS is funded by fees charged for dispute resolution services and administrative fees received from its neutrals. Pursuant to an intercompany agreement, DRS and CPR provide value and services to one another, and CPR has agreed to extend a loan to DRS to fund any shortfalls in supporting its operations.
DRS does not have a financial interest in any party or law firm. Parties or law firms do not have a financial interest in DRS. Parties and law firms may make in-kind contributions to DRS, including the provision of pro bono legal services or a sponsorship of a training or event.
Parties and law firms may be members of the CPR Institute. Members participate in the thought leadership of the CPR Institute through committee and task force participation, contributions to publications and event programming, and the sharing of best practices on dispute management. From time to time, non-members are invited to participate in some of these activities. Members and others are donors of the CPR Institute through membership dues, registration fees and sponsorships for events, like the Corporate Leadership Award Dinner or the CPR Annual Meeting. See CPR's Major Donors.
CPR is overseen by a Board of Directors. Oversight for the work of its subsidiary, DRS, is provided by a separate Board of Directors of DRS. In an effort to ensure the quality, independence and integrity of its dispute resolution services, DRS operates pursuant to a set of Operating Principles. The Operating Principles provide that only the staff of DRS may be engaged in case management activities and in the selection and maintenance of panelists for the Panel. The Operating Principles also provide that the Board of Directors and staff of CPR are not to be involved in case management activities of DRS or in the selection or maintenance of panelists for the DRS Panel, except to the extent such matters may have a meaningful financial, legal, tax or reputational impact on CPR, and only then as necessary to address that impact. Through an intercompany agreement between the CPR Institute and DRS, staff of the CPR Institute provides operational, IT, accounting, human resources, marketing, and other support for DRS that does not involve case management activities or the maintenance of panelists for the Panel.
Relationships Between DRS and its Neutrals
DRS supports the Panel, from which arbitrators, mediators and other dispute management professionals are selected to help parties prevent and resolve disputes. Admission to the Panel is a selective process, with those interested in joining completing an application or, in certain circumstances, sending a resume and providing references to DRS. In evaluating applications to join the Panel, DRS considers candidates’ education, experience with commercial or consumer matters, ADR training, ADR experience, and references. From time to time, DRS will convene review committees comprising CPR Institute members with experience in ADR matters, DRS users and Neutrals to review the applications to help DRS evaluate the substantive experience of candidates in a given field. Decisions regarding admission, however, are left to DRS staff. DRS strives for geographic and other diversity in the roster of the Panel. All CPR Neutrals are expected to meet certain training requirements, and to maintain the highest ethical standards as set out by the governing ethical codes and rules. See generally, Become a Neutral.
The Neutrals, when selected for a matter, are independent contractors. They have no ownership interest in DRS, and receive no funding from DRS or CPR. The Neutrals located in the US pay to DRS an annual Neutral Administrative Fee based on the number of Panels on which they are listed, as well as 5% of fees earned on DRS matters to which they are selected. Many of the Neutrals also elect to participate in activities of, and contribute donations as members to the CPR Institute, described above. See generally, Who are CPR Neutrals.
Selection of Neutrals for a Matter
DRS follows the parties’ contract provisions and the governing CPR rules with respect to the selection of Neutrals for a specific matter. While there may be exceptions, ordinarily the vetting/selection process sequence below is followed:
- Profiling – DRS works with counsel for parties to develop a detailed profile of the qualifications and experience of the Neutrals needed. This due diligence also includes a discussion of the complexity and issues involved in the dispute and the potential for resolution. At this time, parties agree on a venue and a time period for hearing the matter (if not already confirmed). Parties can also agree on special queries to be made to the candidates.
- Identification – DRS searches its database, including by conducting a thorough review of the Neutrals’ substantive and procedural qualifications, to identify Neutrals who best meet the parties’ desired requirements. DRS strives to ensure that at least 30% of the candidates on a slate are diverse (women, persons of color, members of the LGBTQ community, persons living with disabilities, or other under-represented groups).
- Query – DRS prepares a list of potential Neutrals and queries them to determine their availability and willingness to serve, as well as to identify any potential conflicts. Any special queries are made at this time.
- Nomination – Based on the responses received to its Neutrals query, DRS provides parties with a list of candidates who are conflict-free and available for the hearing calendar window that the parties prefer. The list is submitted together with biographical information, hourly rates, any disclosures, and responses to special queries.
- Ranking – Absent party agreement to a different process, if parties are unable to agree on a Neutral from the list, they rank their preferences, and DRS selects the nominee with the highest combined ranking.
- Selection – DRS notifies the selected panelist, who contacts counsel directly to begin the dispute resolution process. The Neutral assumes responsibility for both directing and administering the ADR proceedings.
- Assistance – DRS remains available to address later arising challenges.
As part of the above process, parties are asked to identify individuals and entities with respect to whom disclosures should be made. This “conflicts list” is then sent to the Neutral candidates and relied upon by them as well as by DRS in making necessary disclosures.
Challenges to DRS Neutrals
When a challenge to an arbitrator is made, DRS follows the governing CPR rules and the CPR Challenge Protocol. Notwithstanding section 2.b. of the Protocol, all challenges are currently referred to a Challenge Review Committee.