Perhaps inspired by Mary Rowe’s prognostication, the American Bar Association has a list of topics lawyers will be discussing in 2007. Some of these could easily be issues for ombuds:
- Who’s a Citizen? (Immigration reformers want to deny citizenship to “anchor babies”.) – Ombuds will remain a confidential resource for visitors who fear disclosing their immigration status.
- My Space Discovery (Lawyers are mining social networks for nuggets of evidence) – As virtual communities grow in size and complexity, the number of disputes will increase accordingly. Ombuds will need to adapt to serve visitors with concerns from the virtual domain.
- Online Background Checks (As social networking grows, so does the ability of employers to discriminate) – Visitors increasingly will have concerns about the blurring of their private life and work life.
- Medical ID Theft (Sophisticated schemes to get medical records add to the risk facing medical information holders) – Ombuds may expect more cases involving identity theft.