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Letter from CPR President & CEO, Allen Waxman

Less Conflict. More Purpose.

To the CPR Community:

When the Derek Chauvin verdict was recently announced, many of us were unsure how to respond – with relief, vindication, exhaustion, hope or some combination thereof.  We might all agree that the legal system delivered accountability.  For that, we can be grateful.  But we might also agree that so much more is needed if we are to deliver justice and equity. 

We each need to do our part, which was the subject of our Open Forum last June in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. Our constituents spoke powerfully about the need to confront our biases and to act. We considered the importance of having what may be a truly uncomfortable conversation about race, recognizing the pain that systemic bias – intentional or unintentional – has created, and engaging more meaningfully to understand the experiences of others, which is also a key element in conflict prevention and resolution. We acknowledged the need to develop alternative pathways to add more diverse neutrals to rosters as well as the power that in-house platforms provide for driving the selection of diverse neutrals.

The Chauvin verdict now gives us a bookend to reflect on what we have done in response to last year’s call to action.  At CPR, we have focused on recruitment of more diverse neutrals through our Pathways Program, which seeks to facilitate entry to our roster in the employment area in particular and provides free training for those who need it.  Of those we have added through the program, 61% have been diverse. 

We also have focused on the selection of more diverse neutrals.  Our Model Diversity Clause is available to parties who wish to pre-commit to a diverse panel of neutrals in a future dispute to be resolved by arbitration. Our Diversity Commitment calls on the corporate and law firm community and CPR to increase representation in the selection of, and reliance on, diverse neutrals. We dedicated a panel at our Annual Meeting to discuss how to implement the CPR Diversity Commitment. (If you are a CPR member, and missed that panel, it can be viewed here.) We are also teaming with the Ray Corollary Initiative (RCI) Implementation Strategy Group, chaired by Homer LaRue, to expand the work of this Commitment and seek to make any list from which neutrals are selected at least 30% diverse. At CPR Dispute Resolution, we have met that goal 76% of the time over the last fiscal year. 

While this is some progress, we have more work to do to increase the diversity of our Board, our staff and the participants in our programs.  We are working toward doing so in the recognition that this will make us a stronger and more responsive organization to our mission and for you, our constituents. 

Another 2021 priority is the continued partnership with you in helping to prevent and resolve disputes.  To this end, we have taken a bold step in expanding our focus from solely on dispute resolution to dispute prevention with the launch of our Dispute Prevention Pledge. This Pledge encourages companies and organizations to consider embedding in their business relationships mechanisms that can help the parties to these arrangements identify inevitable conflict when it arises and prevent it from hardening into a value-depleting dispute. If this resonates with you, sign here to join our growing list of impressive Dispute Prevention Pledge signatories. 

If, however, dispute prevention fails and you find yourself a party to a dispute, we hope you will turn to the dispute management services provided by CPR Dispute Resolution (DRS). One of the things that makes us unique is the interaction between CPR DRS and the CPR Institute whereby the rules, protocols and model clauses are informed by the thought leaders from companies, law firms and others who are on the frontlines of dispute prevention and resolution.

We have a world-class Panel of Distinguished Neutrals and we focus on helping you decrease time and cost while seeking an efficient and effective outcome.  In the past year DRS has introduced several new procedures to achieve this end.  To increase the likelihood of resolution, we launched the Concurrent Mediation-Arbitration Clauses and Protocol and the Integrated Resolution Program, a flat fee mediation program bringing together several services in one place. In the employment arena, the Administered Employment Arbitration Rules were released along with a revision to the Employment Related Mass Claims Protocol. If you want to learn more about DRS services, ranging from dispute boards and early neutral evaluation to mediation and arbitration among others, contact Mia Levi

After a hiatus last year due to the pandemic, we are excited to once again be holding our Corporate Leadership Award Dinner. We hope you will join us on June 3 as we honor CVS Health and Thomas M. Moriarty, Executive Vice President, Chief Policy and External Affairs Officer, and General Counsel. With Covid-19 restrictions lifting in New York City, this will be a welcome opportunity for some of us to convene in person, but you will also be able to attend via Zoom.  For more information on the dinner, contact Lauren Pasternack. If you plan on attending in person, you will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours. 

Finally, I invite you to look at our 2021 Annual Review for an overview of the great work we accomplished last year despite the pandemic with the help of our community. In transitioning to the virtual conduct of business, we discovered that it enabled us to broaden our audience. Where once some may have been prohibited by cost of travel or time out of the office from attending events, Zoom made that a moot point. In fact, as noted in the Annual Review, we had almost 500 attendees from around the world over the course of three days attending our Annual Meeting, far surpassing any prior meeting. 

Spend some time with the Annual Review and you will clearly see the strength of CPR – a strength that comes from our diverse members, our dedicated Board of Directors, our Distinguished Panel of Neutrals, and our talented staff. Thank you to all of you and thank you to our many donors who further support our goal of less conflict, more purpose.

With warmest regards,

Allen Waxman
President & CEO