Artificial Intelligence in Dispute Resolution: The Future Is Here, But Where Are We Going?


12:00 pm - 1:15 pm


Bookings closed


hosted by LERA national, Online, Via Zoom
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Artificial Intelligence in Dispute Resolution

The Future Is Here, But Where Are We Going

You are invited to join Houston LERA for an exciting program including a mock AI mediation scenario demonstration with a power-packed panel, which includes a cross section of scholars, and expert mediators and arbitrators.  They will discuss the future of artificial intelligence, online alternative dispute resolution, and in-person (i.e., “old school”) dispute resolution.  The panel will also discuss where we are in the current hybrid state of mediation and the future of AI and ADR, and will provide a glimpse into the current use of AI technology that assists, augments, and automates the dispute resolution process.  The panel will discuss the move of many mediations and arbitrations online; and opinions on whether in-person dispute resolution is still the gold standard.  As Archie Bell and Drells advised us decades ago, it’s time to “tighten up” what’s going on today and in the future?


Dr. E. Patrick McDermott, Franklin P. Perdue School of Business

Arthur Pearlstein, FMCS

Jennifer Ortiz Prather, EEOC, Houston District Office

Walter Darr, FMCS

Robert (Bob) Bergman, NextLevel Mediation

Speaker Bios

BIODr. E. Patrick McDermott is a Professor of Management and Legal Studies at the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business.  In 1999-2000 he was part of a team that evaluated the EEOC mediation program.  He has written a book and numerous law review and peer-reviewed journal articles on workplace conflict and legal issues.  This includes articles using the comprehensive EEOC database.  He recently completed a comprehensive survey of EEOC mediators and parties concerning the use of Online Dispute Resolution at EEOC.  He was a Fulbright Scholar in Law in 2007-2008 in Shanghai China at the East China University of Politics and Law and in 2018-2019 at the University of Bucharest School of Law. Prior to joining academe, he was Associate General Counsel at ABC/Disney in New York City. He holds a B.S. and M.S. (Collective Bargaining) from Cornell ILR, a JD from Rutgers-Newark School of Law, an LL.M in Taxation from NYU Law and a Ph.D. in Human Resources Management from The George Washington University.

BIOArthur Pearlstein is FMCS Director of Arbitration, Senior Mediator is a Fellow with the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, has a substantial background in labor arbitration, mediation, and negotiation, with experience as a practitioner, program manager, professor, and trainer. In addition, Arthur has worked extensively in the area of dispute systems design in the organized workplace. He has previously served FMCS as a field mediator, as general counsel, and as head of the Agency’s ADR and International Program.

BIOJennifer Ortiz Prather is a Supervisory Attorney for ADR, Houston District Office, EEOC (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Since 2010, she has managed the ADR & Mediation Services Program for the EEOC’s Houston District Office, which includes the New Orleans Field Office. As the regional program manager for the greater Houston area and the state of Louisiana, she leads a team of mediators that obtain a yearly average of $10 million in monetary settlement benefits and over 400 resolutions per year. In addition to serving as a Federal Mediator and program manager, she is dedicated to outreach, education, and training services with an emphasis on workplace conflict and organizational conflict management. Recently, Ms. Prather served as a Senior Advisor at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the Office of Diversity & Equal Opportunity. She is currently a candidate for the EEOC’s Senior Executive Service program and remains actively involved in the local community. She serves as a Board member for the Labor Employment Relations Association (LERA-Houston), the Dispute Resolution Center of Montgomery County, and as a past President of the Texas Association of Mediators (2016).

BIO – Walter Darr (FMCS Field Operations Manager for Region 5 which includes responsibility for about 20 FMCS Commissioners in about 16 states) . Walter L. Darr, Jr. is currently a Field Operations Manager with the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service. Mr. Darr joined the FMCS as a Commissioner in March 2015. He is stationed in Houston, Texas and in his prior role as a Commissioner he had responsibility for Southeast Texas as well as Southwest and Midwest Louisiana. In his current Field Operations Manager Role, Mr. Darr has responsibility for the management of 20 Commissioners that have responsibility for providing services in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida (Panhandle), Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. Mr. Darr has over 34 years of labor relations experience.  Mr. Darr has held responsibility for negotiating, administering and mediating many collective bargaining agreements, including serving as bargaining team Chairman and Chief Spokesperson. Since joining the FMCS, Mr. Darr has worked with parties mediating the successful negotiation of collective bargaining agreements as well as disputes growing out of grievances related to the implementation and management of collective bargaining agreements.  Mr. Darr has developed and delivered training encompassing Dispute Resolution, Collective Bargaining, Grievance Mediation, Interest Based Bargaining, Affinity Bargaining, Effective Communication, Mediation, Steward-Supervisor Relations, Negotiability Issues and many other subjects.

BIO – Robert (Bob) Bergman is the CEO and founder of NextLevel Mediation. A total of 60 years of experience in decision sciences, software engineering, business strategy simulation, defense flight simulation, Scenario Planning, System Dynamics Modeling, AI, and market research. Mr. Bergman’s background and years of experience of applying quantitative decision methodologies at Intel to improve international standards, negotiations and strategic business decisions bring a unique perspective to the practice of mediating disputes.


Online Webinar – Registrants will receive Zoom link prior to the event.

Pricing and Registration

We hope you will be able to join us for this informative discussion. Please log into your LERA account ( and let us know if you will be participating in this event. There is no charge for this program, but we do ask that you reserve your spot by submitting a booking below.  The Zoom link for this meeting will be provided only to program registrants, and will be provided separately just prior to the meeting. If you have trouble registering, please contact Mickey Brock (281-732-6918).


Bookings are closed for this event.