A Big Win for Diversity in ADR

Jay-Z Wins Bid to Halt Arbitration for Racial Bias    

Promoting the selection of diverse neutrals in mediation and arbitration has long been a matter of gentle suggestion to clients that maybe they want to try a newer mediator/arbitrator who can bring a diverse perspective.  In the majority of cases, clients (often big corporations) choose the person with the longest track record or the one with the biggest name recognition.  That person is almost always white, and male, due to the long history of overt and structural racism and sexism in America.

In comes Jay-Z.  His legal team connects the dots between a diverse panel of neutrals and due process under the law.  According to news sources, they argued that the absence of African American neutrals on the AAA panel (for large and complex cases) is a violation of equal protection and equal opportunity to a fair and impartial adjudication.  Although the NY Supreme Court Justice only issued a temporary injunction on the matter so that it can be argued in full later in December, the precedent has been made already in the news media that lack of diversity can equal lack of due process and equal protection in the ADR context.  This is a groundbreaking development and I look forward to hearing how it develops.

More news on this issue:

Jay-Z, Quinn Emanuel say that AAA Offers only “Token” Black Arbitrators

Jay-Z Wants to Halt Rock Nation Logo Case Due to Lack of Black Arbitrators 

Jay-Z arbitration dispute temporarily halted after rapper wins injunction over discrimination 

 

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