Alternative Dispute Resolution, also known as ADR, is the use of certain processes and techniques as a means for disagreeing parties to come to an agreement without litigation. ADR is a private method of resolving disagreements outside of court. The most common types of ADR are negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.
Negotiation is almost always the first attempted process of ADR. Negotiation is a dialogue between two or more parties for the purpose of resolving differences or reaching an understanding so all parties involved may reach a satisfactory course of action or agreement. The main advantage of negotiation is that it allows the parties themselves to control the process and the resolution.
Mediation involves a neutral third party to facilitate discussion and help reach an amicable solution. Typically, the terms reached are non-binding, unless both parties otherwise agree to binding terms. At any time during the process, either party may end mediation.
When other forms of ADR have failed, parties may agree to Arbitration. An arbitration is a simplified version of a trial that takes place outside of court. A neutral third party is chosen to hear each party’s case outside of court, then makes a determination of liability (either binding or non-binding, depending on what the parties choose in advance), the same way a judge would.
Alternative Dispute Resolution Attorneys
While an attorney is not required for ADR, legal counsel, particularly from a lawyer or firm experienced with ADR, can be invaluable. Attorneys experienced in ADR may be able to assist in evaluation, preparing for, advising, and developing your case throughout the ADR process. The level of attorney involvement varies in every ADR process, and is entirely up to you.