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Stipanowich's CCA 'Protocols' Reach Fortune 1,000 General Counsel

TomyThe College of Commercial Arbitrators' (CCA) Protocols for Expeditious, Cost Effective Commercial Arbitration, edited by Thomas J. Stipanowich, was recently distributed to each of the Fortune 1,000 corporate general counsel by one of their leading peers.

Stipanowich, professor of law, William H. Webster Chair in Dispute Resolution, and academic director of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, served as editor-in-chief of the 2010 publication, which offers detailed guidelines for making business arbitration more efficient and expeditious. Stipanowich teamed with former CCA president Curt von Kann and arbitrator Deborah Rothman to lead the intensive three-year effort that produced the Protocols.

"The Protocols are not a set of rules, but are aimed at helping users and others involved in commercial arbitration make better choices," Stipanowich says. "Arbitration is a choice-based process, and if people believe it is too costly or time-consuming there are choices they can make to address those concerns."

Inspired by a 2007 keynote speech made by Stipanowich, the CCA chose to tackle key complaints about arbitration, and organized a National Summit on Business-to-Business Arbitration that included task forces comprised of representatives from various stakeholder groups, including corporate counsel. The completed set of suggested solutions was published in late 2010 and has been widely distributed. There were concerns, however, that the Protocols were not reaching the most important group of users—corporate counsel.

That concern was addressed in late 2011 by one of the nation’s most respected corporate lawyers.

Thomas Sager, senior vice president and general counsel of DuPont, distributed a copy of the protocols to each of his fellow Fortune 1,000 general counsel with a cover letter endorsing, and recommending widespread use of, the Protocols.

"Here at DuPont we believe that the implementation of the Protocols will produce major benefits for our company, including substantially reducing our dispute-resolution costs," wrote Sager.

The Protocols received the 2010 Practical Achievement Award from the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR) and the 2011 Lawyer as Problem Solver Award from the ABA Section on Dispute Resolution. They have been endorsed by those organizations, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, the American Arbitration Association, and JAMS.