Technology today has been making a significant difference in various fields of life, mostly for the better, or so we hope, but the legal field is yet to catch up. Enter Resolve Disputes Online (RDO).
RDO is a one of a kind Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform that employs innovative technology to make the process of dispute resolution effortless and effective. It is for this reason, that RDO has been shortlisted as a candidate for the acclaimed Agami Prize.
Mr Aditya Shivkumar, co-founder of RDO, provides us with a better understanding of how Resolve Disputes Online merges technology with legal efficiency.
Q] Please introduce yourself to our readers.
It is great to e-connect with the readers of the Lawctopus through this initiative. Lawctopus has been at the forefront, being the go-to website for law students with close to 2.5 million viewership. There can be no doubt that Lawctopus shapes the future legal eagles of tomorrow.
By way of background, I am Aditya Shivkumar, Co-Founder of Resolve Disputes Online Technology Limited, a bespoke Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform provider that offers tailor-made workflow and process flow interface for Courts, Tribunals, ADR Practitioners, ADR Centres, Businesses and Governmental Agencies.
Q]As a majority of our readers are young college students, tell us something about your college life.
College plays a pivotal role in shaping the minds of future lawyers as it provides scope for debate and discussion on various issues and shapes the leaders of tomorrow.
My own experiences from my time in the United Kingdom where I did my law gave me an in-depth insight into aspects of common law jurisdiction and laid the foundation for great bonds between friends which one treasures for a lifetime.
I say this because one of RDO’s Co-Founder hails from the same university and this is only possible due to the foundations created by the law school which allowed the bond to blossom into a startup!
One gets into the college with a great deal of idealism and adrenalin throbbing down’s one vein. The feeling of studying law entitles us to be in a world in the college which may not resemble the real world in terms of the realities that may face us when we emerge at the end of the 5-year legal education.
My college life was filled with practical experiences from day one which laid the foundation for a seamless transition to the real legal world. *wink*
Based on my experiences I would like to share with the lawyers of tomorrow is always keep a leg in the real edifice of the legal world whilst experiencing the joy of empowered with legal knowledge during your college days.
Q]What is RDO’s dispute resolution technology and how does it function?
We are a B2B, bespoke ODR platform that empowers Courts, Tribunals, ADR Centres, ADR Practitioners, Corporate Houses, Businesses to instantly launch their own customised online dispute resolution platform.
Our patent-pending technology offers an integrated platform comprising of case management, appointment scheduling, in-built synchronous and an asynchronous communication interface for the parties to connect through end to end encryption, settlement builder amongst other features empowering dispute resolution to take place from anywhere in the world as long as you are connected to an internet connection.
Q]How has RDO’s journey been till now?
The Journey has been exciting, challenging and rewarding. Not often do you find these three key adjectives in the same line.
One of the successes of RDO’s journey till now is it is a platform that is built for the ADR Industry, by the ADR Industry and belongs to the ADR industry. With excellent support from key stakeholders, the journey has been one of intense passion and belief to improve the quality of access to justice.
Q]What were some of the factors that motivated the founders to start RDO?
The Founders of RDO are extremely passionate about improving Access to Justice and improving the efficacy of existing judicial systems. Our motto is making justice effortless and accessible.
The passion to deliver a world-class platform empowering the stakeholders to offer quality solutions to improve Access to Justice is what enabled us to start RDO in the first place.
RDO is unlike any other ODR solution because of the people that made it. RDO’s technology has been built by lawyers, mediators, and arbitrators from Australia, the UK, and Canada who understand the practicalities of dispute resolution services because they do it themselves.
RDO’s driving force is its desire to leverage modern technology to improve access to justice and resolution. RDO’s belief in effortless dispute resolution is reflected by its ‘birds on a wire’ logo.
Dispute resolution, like birds chattering away on a wire appears, should be easy and accessible.
Q]What have been the successes till now and what does RDO owe it to?
RDO is dedicated to the Mediators, Arbitrators, ADR Centres, Lawyers, Tribunals, Courts and other stakeholders who are an integral part in the Access to Justice initiative which is taking place around the world.
Our successes are owed to them who have played a pivotal role in our mission to improve the efficacy of justice and empower them with easy access to justice.
Q] Any challenges that Resolve Disputes Online has faced and has successfully overcome?
First, it is difficult to change a person’s mindset to accept a virtual platform rather than physical interaction. People want to see the lawyer in the flesh and communicate with him/her in real life. It takes time to shift such a mindset.
Second, people are afraid of change and are reluctant to devote time and resources to implement new software and upgrade existing technologies. Technology is constantly changing so there is a need to stay updated with the times.
Companies are not entering the ODR sector, as this is a sector where identifying the sweet spot requires years of experience and an ecosystem that can cater from an e-commerce store to a sole practitioner to even the courts. This is one key challenge that companies face within the ODR sector.
Therefore one of the ways RDO has addressed this challenge is to develop a platform that harmonises the prowess of technology coupled with human interaction.
Q]An important feature of RDO is the ‘Blockchain Technology’. Do tell us more about this and the ‘smart contract technology’ as well.
Smart contracts are not your conventional paper-based contracts. It actually consists of lines of code.
There are multiple coding languages for smart contracts, such as Solidity or Bamboo (if one is executing a smart contract on the Ethereum network) or the IBM backed Hyperledger framework. Smart contracts utilise blockchain technology. The former is the front-end, while the latter is the back-end.
At this point in time, it is not usually advisable to utilise smart contracts for complicated transactions, especially those that involve intangible obligations.
However, smart contracts are effective to ensure the performance of simple transactions, such as a transfer of money. It also offers an immense amount of security, as it is virtually impossible to compromise.
In respect of ODR, smart contracts have the potential to facilitate quicker real-time settlement between parties.
For example, during an online mediation session, parties could prescribe a list of terms in their settlement agreement, and once certain conditions are satisfied, the contract could be executed automatically, without the need to track the satisfaction of the terms. This could drastically increase the efficiency and reliability of the ODR process.
Q] Please tell us about your team at Resolve Disputes Online.
In addition to the two co-founders, RDO is guided by Mark Beer OBE who is the Chair of our Advisory Board. Mark has spent the last decade at the forefront of Court innovation, launching many firsts including the Courts of the Future Forum and Dubai’s Court of the Blockchain project.
He has been a small claims tribunal judge, the Registrar General and the CEO of DIFC Courts and Dubai’s Dispute Resolution Authority and is now President of the International Association for Court Administration, a visiting fellow of Oxford University and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network for the justice sector.
On the tech front, RDO is guided by some of the minds led by Mr Tharik Hussain, the Chief Technology Officer with close to 15 years of experience and is aided by a strong team turning our vision and passion into reality.
Q]What are some of the avenues RDO offers that can attract law students and young lawyers?
Anyone who is passionate about Access to Justice is welcome to join us in our journey to change the way disputes are being resolved around the world.
We are at the cusp of a tectonic shift in the way disputes are being resolved and at RDO we would like the best minds who have a fine understanding of business and legal industry to be part of this exciting and challenging journey.
Q]Where do you see Resolve Disputes Online in the future?
At RDO we are extremely optimistic about the future. We believe that in the next 3-5 years RDO would be the go-to platform for the stakeholders within the legal industry.
Q]Any suggestion or advice for future entrepreneurs and innovators?
“If you don’t have big dreams and goals, you’ll end up working for someone that does.” – Unknown.
As a novice in the field of entrepreneurship and in the early stage of my journey as a Legal Tech entrepreneur, one the lessons that I wish to share with the future entrepreneurs and innovators is to always be resilient and have the nerve of steel to succeed.
Failure is bound to come and I am happy to share with you today that RDO is my second venture in this space. My earlier venture bombed with elan but it brought in resilience and desire to succeed. The result of this resilience and belief is RDO.
Tough days become worse but at the end of the journey, you are bound to succeed. Believe in yourself, believe in your vision, trust your passion and know your industry. Entrepreneurship is not about the success stories you see on the front pages but it is about how efficiently you manage the back pages to ensure you get to the front with precision.
Q]Any books, movies or resources that have inspired you to achieve your goals?
Ronen Bergman – Rise and Kill First
Sun Tzu – Art of War
Chanakya – Arthashastra
Marcus Aurelius – Traditions
Michael Sloan- The Art Of Being Ruthless: How To Be Bold, Find Your Spine And Take Control Of Your Life
Interview by Nirjhar Bhattacharya.
The Agami Prize will be awarded to innovations and entrepreneurial initiatives that can exponentially increase quality, effectiveness, access, and inclusion in and around law and justice. Read more here.