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.

0 thoughts on “Arbitration and the American Bar Association’s One-Sided Webinar

  1. Nikki Munro says:

    Jeff – My name is Nikki Munro, and I am the current chair the Consumer Financial Services Committee. Your comments are well taken. At the CFSC, we strive to educate our member lawyers by presenting all sides of an argument. In most cases, we are able to provide a diverse (in opinion) panel. On occasion, we are not. We welcome the consumer advocate point of view, and would be happy to host another webinar providing the counterpoint.
    Note that we have our annual meeting in September in Chicago. See At that meeting, we will host another panel on arbitration, a 1.5-2 hour CLE. Participants will include at least one industry member, consumer advocate and regulator. If you’d like more information, please do not hesitate to contact me at
    Thank you for your comments. We are pleased you attend the CFSC webinar series.

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