Kathy Bryan: Her Accomplishments At CPR Mark A Great Leader

Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 10:51

The Editor interviews Kathy Bryan, President and CEO of CPR.

Editor: It’s been a wonderful experience for us to work with you. It’s always so much fun to work with people who are dedicated to a worthwhile cause.

Bryan: Well, thank you. I know what you do is a labor of love as well, so it’s been wonderful to work with both you and Martha. I hope and trust that CPR will stay very connected to all the work that you do with The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel.

Editor: CPR has scheduled a luncheon program on innovative corporate ADR strategies and diversity. How are these two important subjects related?

Bryan: Diversity is an absolutely essential component to our justice system. A better result occurs when the parties are diverse. As a private, or alternative, justice system, ADR needs to be diverse.  

Editor: Why did CPR decide to offer Administered Arbitration Rules?

Bryan: We’re very excited to have promulgated new Administered Rules last July in response to our members’ request. There are certain situations in which they are most comfortable with a fully administered process. By adopting an approach that offers all the advantages of our non-administered process and that adds only the key essential components that administration offers, CPR has achieved the best of both worlds. Our new rules offer a more effective, leaner process of administered arbitration while retaining some of the benefits in terms of speed and efficiency offered by a non-administered process.

Editor: I have always admired CPR’s ability to provide useful tools. Its early case assessment tool is tremendously important. Describe this for our readers.

Bryan: Our early case assessment toolkit is available on our website, and with that you get a full suite of guidelines and a structure for an early case assessment process – whether you’re with a law firm or are in a corporate legal department. It allows you to modify this generic work product to meet your special needs and walks you through a checklist so you don’t miss any of the essential steps.

This toolkit was the product of a very large committee of in-house lawyers who contributed the knowledge gained from their individual early case assessment programs. We suggest that the program be initiated very early – if possible within the first two months of any dispute. Our site is full of easy-to-find and useful tools for all aspects of conflict prevention, from arriving at a settlement to using mediation and arbitration.

Editor: Discuss CPR’s issuance of its "Effective Practices Protocol for Mediation of Patent Disputes.”

Bryan: This was the result of a task force that is chaired by the Chief Patent Counsel for IBM, Manny Schecter. We put together a group of patent experts and explored the different barriers that seemed to result in a fewer number of mediations in patent cases. After looking at those barriers, we realized that they posed difficult challenges for patent practitioners.

We decided to find out how people were actually overcoming those barriers by doing a series of focus groups and then putting together a white paper. As a result of these focus groups and the analytical work of a team of people, including Harrie Samaras, Kevin Casey of Stradley Ronon and John Delahanty of Mintz Levin, we looked at the pre-mediation process and mediation itself for the kinds of barriers that were associated with patent-specific issues.

We developed the “Effective Practices Protocol for Mediation of Patent Disputes” to help people overcome the different barriers and put them together along with a separate booklet that talks about why patent mediation can be successfully used with business clients as well as by in-house lawyers and counterparties. Together these two booklets help patent lawyers get access to all the very best thinking in using patent mediation more effectively and earlier in the process to save time and money and get better results.

Editor: We look forward to CPR’s meetings and events every year. They not only attract huge audiences, but also provide them with models they can follow to make ADR one of their important tools.

Bryan: We had a wonderful event in Charleston, South Carolina at our annual meeting in February this year. The event was attended by over 200 ADR practitioners and thought leaders, comprising an elite group of executives from major corporations, expert counsel from leading law firms, leading neutrals, and esteemed judges and academics. This was CPR's first time hosting an annual meeting in Charleston. The 2015 annual meeting will take place once again at the Torrey Pines Lodge in San Diego, California, from February 19 to 21.

We also have our  Corporate Leadership Award Dinner at Cipriani 42nd Street in the fall of each year, which honors a corporation and its general counsel for their commitment to and innovation in ADR. Last year, we honored John Schultz and his legal team at Hewlett-Packard (HP) Company. Over 500 guests were able to learn how HP benefits from a systemized approach to ADR. 

Editor: CPR has done a great job in the U.S. What is it doing internationally?

Bryan: We have very active initiatives in Brazil, Europe and Asia. Brazil has not had a culture of mediation in the past. CPR’s work there, which is funded in part by the GE Foundation and GlaxoSmithKline, is helping to promote a more mediation-friendly culture there.    

In Brazil, we are about to have our second Brazilian Congress on April 28 in Belo Horizonte. CPR also held a mediator training, jointly sponsored by CPR and CAMARB, in São Paulo in November of 2013. I am speaking to a group of companies and judges in Brazil at the invitation of the Brazilian judiciary on March 20.

In Europe, CPR has established the European Executive Board, which is now developing toolkits and success stories. It is working on a number of other projects to bring the sophisticated ADR that CPR advocates to the European market. We are also forming a European Advisory Committee and have had European Congresses for a number of years.

In Asia, in November of 2013, CPR had a series of meetings with governmental representatives and experts in Dispute Resolution throughout Asia. CPR staff traveled to Seoul, South Korea; Singapore; Hong Kong; Ha Noi, Vietnam; and Bangkok, Thailand. In addition, meetings were held with representatives of organizations in Indonesia, Cambodia, India, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Malaysia. The primary objective of these meetings was to establish working relationships with the organizations that will be useful to CPR members.

In addition, CPR is participating with the UNCITRAL Working Group III to develop online dispute resolution. This is a truly international effort with representatives from over 140 countries involved. Our Senior Vice President and Director of Programs, Beth Trent, is included in the U.S. State Department delegation.

Editor: What accomplishment of CPR during your term are you most proud of?

Bryan: The program I am most proud of during my tenure at CPR is the launch of our 21st Century Corporate ADR Pledge. The Pledge is the culmination of efforts by CPR to convince a broad audience to approach dispute resolution in a systemic and a sustainable way. It is the next step in the evolution of how we can do better as a field, as a profession. The 21st Century Pledge commits companies to integrate the spirit of ADR into everything they do in terms of training, their relationships with outside counsel, their internal policies, their discussions in their businesses, and the way they approach negotiations – and to do this in a sophisticated, systemic, non-adversarial way. It’s really quite exciting.

The current 21st Century Pledge is not a bilateral statement – it’s one that says that regardless of a counterparty or regardless of individual cases, the approach, the policy and the philosophy of the company is to recognize the need to incorporate the principles of dispute resolution for all cases, not just the adversarial ones. It allows, and encourages, the company to engage any party, whether they sign the Pledge or not, in discussions about resolution without appearing to be weak or creating any kind of signal that they are not committed to their case. It recognizes that most cases do settle and that a cooperative, collaborative approach to resolution of a dispute is the most effective way to find the best solutions. It doesn’t prevent the company from litigating when it’s appropriate to do so but states that the company recognizes that a collaborative approach is always superior if possible.

We have 27 signatories to the 21st Century Pledge today and are very excited about adding to that. We have over 4,000 operating companies who have signed the original pledge, so we have a ways to go to get to the same level of adoption of the 21st Century Pledge, but we’re on the road to that now.

EditorAfter contributing so much to CPR, what are your plans for the future?

Bryan: After CPR, I plan to stay very involved in the ADR field. I have been teaching international dispute resolution and mediation and plan to continue to teach and write. There is a world of things still to be done because there is no end in sight for the expansion and improvement of ADR. 

Editor: We certainly wish you well in your plans for the future. I know our readers will be very happy to learn that you’re going to be actively involved in teaching.

Bryan: ADR is a way forward. It’s not a subject you can simply walk away from. Noah Hanft, who is the General Counsel of MasterCard currently, will take over at CPR on May 1. He’s a wonderful leader with a very exciting vision of what mediation and ADR can do for companies. He will put us in a good position for going forward into the future because he recognizes that companies really lead the charge of change in this area.

Please email the interviewee at kbryan@cpradr.org with questions about this interview.