ABA Passes Early Dispute Resolution in Support of Ombuds

By Liz Hill

The American Bar Association (ABA) has taken significant steps to enhance the ombuds profession by passing Resolution 500 at its recent Mid-Year Meeting. This resolution encourages the informed and voluntary use of Early Dispute Resolution (EDR), emphasizing its efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Resolution 500 urges lawyers and stakeholders to employ party-directed, non-adjudicative methods such as direct negotiation, mediation, and ombuds services for conflict resolution.

The American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates unanimously approved the resolution spearheaded and drafted by ABA Section of Dispute Resolution (ABA DR) EDR Committee’s current and former Co-Chairs Ellie Vilendrer, Felicia Harris Hoss, and Mary Cullen as well as our very own ombuds colleague Meg Willoughby, Co-Chair of the ABA DR Ombuds Committee. 

Several ABA sections and divisions co-sponsored the resolution underscoring the importance of early intervention in dispute resolution. The resolution's accompanying report elaborates on the benefits of early dispute resolution, including party self-determination, efficiency, cost-effectiveness, informed decisions, relationship preservation, creative solutions, and reduced strain on judicial resources.

To access Resolution 500, its supporting documents, and presentations from the Mid-Year Meeting, visit the ABA website's House of Delegates Resolution 500 page. Past ABA ombuds-related resolutions may be found in the Ombuds Day Toolkit.

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