Annual ADR Diversity Program Focuses on Negotiation Skills

Posted By: Paulina Jedrzejowski CPR Speaks,

New York Law School’s annual ADR and Diversity Symposium last month engaged attendees in break-out sessions to reflect on how their identities influence the way they negotiate, and offered presentations on how ADR organizations are making the profession more inclusive.

Andrea Schneider, the Director of the Kukin Program for Conflict Resolution at Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, in New York, kicked off the Jan. 26 event with a session titled “Diversity: Why Are You the Way You Are? (And How that Impacts Negotiation Skills).”

During the program, Schneider presented data on what makes a good negotiator. Negotiators need to be assertive, good listeners, and well prepared, according to Schneider.

She asked participants to reflect on the many diverse factors that affect the way they negotiate, including their family, birth order, mentors, professional training, ethnicity, and gender.

Schneider then presented statistics on a number of elements that distinguish female negotiators from male negotiators--for example, women are not advocating for themselves as much as men; women tend to negotiate about more things, and women negotiate more when they are trained (i.e., went to law or business school). She concluded by providing tips on effective negotiating. (For more, see Andrea Kupfer Schneider, "Negotiating While Female," 39 Alternatives 19 (February 2021) (available at, and Andrea Kupfer Schneider, “What's Sex Got to Do with It? Questioning Research on Gender & Negotiation,” 39 Alternatives 1 (January 2021) (available at

Next, American Bar Association President Deborah Enix-Ross, senior adviser to the international dispute resolution group at New York’s Debevoise & Plimpton, gave the keynote speech—her second consecutive NYLS symposium address--during which she spoke about the ABA’s history in relation to diversity, and about the importance of ADR diversity generally.

She stated that because many people who join ADR are in the middle or toward the end of their careers and are not diverse, it complicates efforts to diversify the profession. Enix-Ross pointed to the fact that ADR’s consumers are also pivotal to making the field more diverse. Specifically, she said that users need to give younger people a chance to develop their skills.

Ellen Waldman, Vice President of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (and host of this blog) presented on an initiative that may lead individuals to choose more diverse neutrals for arbitrations. She noted at the outset, “The legitimacy of the ADR profession hinges on this project of diversifying the field.”

CPR, Waldman explained, is implementing the Ray Corollary Initiative, a tool to drive greater diversity in the selection of neutrals for ADR matters.

The Ray Corollary Initiative sets a 30% metric for inclusion of diverse neutrals on any slate from which arbitrators and mediators ultimately will be selected, because this significantly increases the chance that a diverse neutral will be chosen.

Finally Ann Lesser, a New York-based Vice President of the Labor, Employment and Elections Division of the American Arbitration Association and a member of the AAA-ICDR Diversity Committee, and Jeffrey T. Zaino, also a Vice President of the Labor, Employment and Elections Division of the American Arbitration Association in New York, provided an update on the AAA’s diversity work. They called attention to the issue that since arbitration depends on expertise, which is built over the course of a career, it is difficult for younger arbitrators who have not developed the necessary expertise. They concluded by encouraging young lawyers in the audience to learn more, seek out opportunities, and ask more senior individuals out for networking.   

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New York Law School Alternative Dispute Resolution Skills Program posts videos of its events at the bottom of its webpage at Excerpts from the ADR and Diversity Symposium 2023 include videos of the presentations by Deborah Enix-Ross, Ellen Waldman, Ann Lesser and Jeffery T. Zaino.

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The author, a second-year Brooklyn Law School student in New York, is a CPR 2023 Spring intern.