A big pair of shoes has been filled

Rachael Field and Laurence Boulle celebrate the launch with Hilary Astor, Members of Resolution Institute and the ADR Research Network   

Rachael Field and Laurence Boulle celebrate the launch with Hilary Astor, Members of Resolution Institute and the ADR Research Network


In late May, Resolution Institute was the venue for the launch of a significant new text on Dispute Resolution – Australian Dispute Resolution – Law and Practice (LexisNexis, Sydney, 2017) authored by Resolution Institute members, Laurence Boulle and Rachael Field.

The launch was significant for academics and practitioners alike for several reasons.

The first was the acknowledgement of the pioneering work of Hilary Astor and Christine Chinkin whose original text, Dispute Resolution in Australia, was the ‘go-to’ resource for academics and practitioners alike. It was outstanding in its coverage and depth. Academics like me drew on it heavily and valued its breadth and the conversations it provoked.

This new text picks up the themes of its predecessor and updates them for todays’ dispute resolution challenges. It was a masterstroke to invite Hilary Astor to make the introductory comments and formally launch the publication. Her presence and script were great reminders of the remarkable scholarship that has been available to us since Dispute Resolution in Australia was first published in 1992.

Respecting where we have come from, as we explore future directions, is an appealing symbol of how we have developed as a dispute resolution community.

At the launch, Rachael and Laurence shared the secrets of their successful collaboration which gave us a sense of how challenging they found the responsibility of filling Astor and Chinkin’s ‘big pair of shoes’.

Laurence chose an unexpectedly poetic approach to describe to us the joys of collaborating with Rachael and I reproduce it below with his permission.

“Fieldsy and Bill

A DR Fairly Trail

Three score and seven months ago this Odyssey began
Intrepid Fieldsy taking charge, with vision and elan,
To turn established text into a third, more sage, edition
ADR, law, identity, much theory in addition.
Too onerous proved this arduous task for authors, young and free,
They forged a brand new first edition – with cover girt by sea.
The text prolapses ADR, and DR comes to fore,
One letter less, efficiency, the modern troubadour
DR is law’s true business, and the future task of lawyers
Though other disciplines bring great skills as DR purveyors.

Rachael creates matrices with fierce analysis
And practice has its rightful place – or better still praxis,
She critiques Priestly’s saintly core with missionary fervour
Though herself is, reverently, a god-fearing verger.
In every field young Fieldsy brings a rigour to the joust
Her style so mellifluous recalls the prose of Proust
Judges are too recalcitrant and theorists far too thin
She trumps them one by one with acerbic verve, and gin,
Bill looks on half-dazed as her libretto forms apace
Just minor emendations to claim his cover place

Disputes twixt Bill and Fieldsy? There were a somewhat few
The comma matter not resolved, it caused a constant blue.
For Rachael, every, word, must, have, its, punctuation, own,

Now here’s a tale not told before, though every word is true,
Bill inveigled Fieldsy long to move to Bond uni
Abandon Brisbane’s creek and drudge and start again anew
Resistance was her sad retort, excuses thickly grew.
The strangest part: once Bill departs for Sydney waters twee
Then Rachael moves to Bondy’s place with stark alacrity
In truth she’s now resolved to move to Sydney Harbour Bridge
Once Bill has used his GPS to reclaim Bogun ridge.

One note of serious concern amidst the frippery
Concerning current happenings with lack of policy
How serious is the plight of those who flee from ravaged lands
Out-trumped by bigotry and fear, excuses weak and bland,
Asylum-seekers, refugees, minorities galore,
The flames are fanned by news corp hacks, the jocks and many more
Where is DR’s noble soul in contexts such as these?
That is a challenge we must face, so join a movement please.
To take on privilege and power, denial atmospheric,
Post-truth, untruth, and spin and sin, every sad heuristic.

But to end on sombre tones might seem a trifle crook
For cheerful lives and value add – you just should buy the book.
Thanks are due to Jocelyn Holmes and to Lexis Nex,
At RI Ellie, Brian and more provided superb flex
Hildegard of Bingham was a prophet most acute
Hilary of Astoralia from whom DR took root
Has graced us with her words and we extend our thanks
For legacy contributions and setting the early pace

I now must end abruptly too these rhymes sore terrible
Lest there be those who shout aloud ‘Enough, far too much bull.’

Congratulations Rachael and Laurence. I look forward to where this text will take our teaching and learning.

NOTE: This article was first published on The Australian Dispute Resolution Research Network Blog.  https://adrresearch.net/2017/06/02/a-big-pair-of-shoes-has-been-filled/

Roscoe Pound would be proud – Reflections on the history of the Global Pound Conference

The Global Pound Conference (GPC) series 2016-17 is an ambitious, future-focussed project, established to create a contemporary conversation about improving the access to and quality of justice in commercial conflicts internationally.

Roscoe Pound bust by Avard Fairbanks, Nebraska Hall of Fame – Creative Commons

Roscoe Pound bust by Avard Fairbanks, Nebraska Hall of Fame – Creative Commons

When complete, the series will have included individual conference sessions involving 29 cities in 23 countries. Several blogs on this site have talked about the GPC series and how it has played out in a number of the host cities. The significant data analysis that has already emerged from the first session in the series (and has become known as The Singapore Report) has also received commentary in these pages.

The ultimate objective is the collection of data from all conference participants using a common set of 20 multiple choice questions (The Core Questions) and four sets of open text questions (The Discussion Questions) to stimulate robust discussion, research and innovation into dispute resolution

As we approach the last of the GPC series, to be held in London in July 2017, it seems timely to go back to where it all began. History informs the present and the future and, in our excitement about the significance of this ambitious project, it is important not to overlook the contribution of the memorable life of the man whose name it bears.

Roscoe Pound (1872-1964) was a remarkable man. Whilst some scholars brand him as ‘the most famous American jurisprudential thinker of the first half of the twentieth century’ and ‘the greatest twentieth century dean of the Harvard Law School’[1] his is hardly the name on every lawyer’s lips. Nor did he fit the mould of your average law school Dean.

Son of a well-known Nebraskan judge, law was not his first choice. Instead he pursued a career and doctorate in botany. Roscoepoundiana – a fungus – was named after him, ensuring his enduring botanical fame. I confess to feeling a twinge of envy!

However family pressure could not be resisted and he entered legal practice (possible in those days without a degree). Enrolling in the one year postgraduate law program at Harvard, family circumstances kept him from completing the exams but not from continuing as a practitioner.

His professional career saw him making memorable and enduring contributions wherever he went. At the Nebraska Bar he helped establish the Bar Association. He was appointed to the University of Nebraska and later became Dean of the Nebraska College of Law (1903-1907). Our students today benefit from his decision to introduce electives into the law degree.

In 1906 the American Bar Association (ABA) invited Dean Pound to deliver the keynote address at its annual meeting in St Paul, Minnesota. His speech, ‘The Causes of Popular Dissatisfaction with the Administration of Justice’, shocked many in his audience. Opening with the line ‘Dissatisfaction with the administration of justice is as old as the law….’- and continuing to chronicle the law’s deficiencies, it is not surprising that his address was not well received and the backlash from the profession provoked withdrawal of the initial decision to print and distribute 4000 copies.

However not everyone was a critic. In the audience was Dean Wigmore, Dean of Northwestern University, who soon persuaded Pound to accept a professorial post at Northwestern and later commented that Pound’s speech ‘struck the spark that kindled the white flame of high endeavour now spreading through the entire legal profession and radiating the spirit of resolute progress in the administration of justice.’[2] Discovering that Pound had not graduated in law, he gave him an honorary degree.

Pound continued his distinguished career teaching and writing, finally settling into the post of Dean of the Harvard Law School (1916-1964) – to this day he remains the only Harvard Law School Dean not to have graduated from law school.

An influential and widely published academic and administrator, by the time of his death in 1964, Pound had still not received the recognition he deserved from the practising profession to which he had contributed so greatly. Whilst not being prepared to issue an apology, the ABA did make a belated acknowledgement of Pound’s contribution to the profession and to legal thinking by awarding him the ABA medal (its highest award) in 1940.

Pound’s writing remained relevant and thought-provoking and he certainly influenced legal thinking. Those he influenced included Chief Justice Warren Burger, (another judge who managed to upset conservatives) defying his sponsor, the anti-progressive Richard Nixon, by upholding the Miranda decision and supporting the majority in Roe v. Wade.

In 1976, 70 years after Pound’s keynote address, the ABA conference returned to St Paul, Minnesota. It was here, at the appropriately named Pound Conference, that the profession finally provided Pound with what amounted to the apology and acknowledgement he so richly deserved.[3]  Joining the ABA as sponsors were the Conference of Chief Justices and the Judicial Conference of the United States. Burger clearly had considerable influence over the program as he is credited with issuing the invitation to Professor Frank E.A. Sander, a notable Harvard academic, to participate. Dealing broadly with various issues of dissatisfaction with the legal system, Dispute Resolution was one stream among a number and many papers were delivered. However it is Sander’s paper’ ‘Varieties of Dispute Processing’[4] that has provided the conference’s most memorable legacy and continued the work begun by Pound in his 1906 address.

This first Pound conference laid the groundwork for the significant world-wide event we are celebrating now. The name is an important link to history and an acknowledgement of the man who inspired it all.

Roscoe Pound would be proud.

[1] See for example Northwestern University’s Professor Stephen Presser ‘Foreword’ in Roscoe Pound, The Ideal Element in Law (Online Library of Liberty, 1958).

[2]  N.T.H Hull, Roscoe Pound and Karl Llewellyn, Searching for an American jurisprudence(The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1997) 65.

[3] See ‘Perspectives on Justice in the Future’ Proceedings of the National Conference on the Causes of Popular Dissatisfaction with the Administration of Justice, West Publishing Co., St. Paul Minnesota 1979

[4] Ibid at p.65

NOTE: This article was first published on The Australian Dispute Resolution Research Network Blog.  https://adrresearch.net/2017/06/15/roscoe-pound-would-be-proud-reflections-on-the-history-of-the-global-pound-conference/