Arbitration and the American Bar Association's One-Sided Webinar

by Jeff Sovern

The American Bar Association's Business Law Section Consumer Financial Services Committee held a webinar earlier today in which the topic was listed as "The CFPB Begins Arbitration Rulemaking, But Its Own Study Shows that Arbitration Benefits Consumers." The sole speakers, other than the moderator, were Ballard Spahr's Alan Kaplinsky and Mark Levin. Ballard Spahr has a particular point of view on the CFPB arbitration study, as indicated in the comments the firm submitted to the Bureau on behalf of the American Bankers Association, the Consumer Bankers Association, and the Financial Services Roundtable last month. That viewpoint certainly should be expressed, and the Committee's webinars are an appropriate forum for it. But shouldn't the contrary view also be voiced at such webinars? Why didn't the Committee also put on at least one speaker to support the CFPB study? Is the Committee serving lawyers well when it presents only one side of a debate?

I should add that I found the webinar informative, as I often find the Committee's webinars, which are a valuable service. But it would have been more informative if it had been more balanced.