If there are online user ratings for books and restaurants, why can’t there be a similar system for mediators and arbitrators? That reasoning led the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution to strike an outsourcing deal with a little-known company that has already introduced such a service. CPR’s new arbitrator rating system is slated to launch in January, and if it succeeds, it could put the concept on the map.

CPR is an influential Manhattan-based nonprofit that promotes alternative dispute resolution. The group tries to help its member companies and law firms make informed decisions when choosing neutrals (as arbitrators and mediators are often called). Its rating system will survey lawyers who have used the neutrals that CPR has screened and listed on its panel. Members will be able to access the reviews, but not the reviewers’ names, which will be kept anonymous. And the cost will be absorbed by the neutrals.

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