What is ADR?
With the increase in litigation costs and court congestion, individuals and business entities are turning to alternative dispute resolution or “ADR” to resolve their disputes. While ADR denotes a variety of techniques to resolve disputes outside the courtroom, the following proceedings typically come within the rubric of “ADR”: negotiation, mediation, neutral fact finding, early neutral evaluation, mini-trials, summary jury trials, arbitration and private judging. Although each of these ADR methods has its own characteristics, they generally enable the parties to:
1. Resolve their dispute in a confidential setting;
2. Establish deadlines and procedural rules governing the proceedings;
3. Select the presiding official or “neutral”
4. Contain litigation costs; and
5. Maintain on-going business and personal relationships.
ADR may not be appropriate in all settings, for example, where:
1. The parties want a jury trial;
2. The dispute turns on witness credibility;
3. Public resolution of a novel legal issue (e.g. legal precedent) is needed to discourage similar claims;
4. One wants to preserve full rights of appeal; or
5. The possibility of settlement is so slim that ADR may only achieve educating the other side about the weaknesses of one’s case.