The Benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) describes the process in which your lawyer and the lawyer for your adversary take steps to attempt to resolve your litigation claim before it goes to trial. ADR will ultimately result in a hearing, usually before a retired judge that both sides agree on, from which will come a decision on your claim. If both sides consent, the hearing can take the form of an Arbitration, where each party’s views of the issues are presented to the arbitrator and that individual “calls it as she sees it.” Or, both sides can agree to participate in Mediation, which results in the mediator trying to bring both sides to a middle ground in order to settle the claim.
ADR is a cost-effective, sensible alternative to the uncertainty and expense that trial surely presents. To get to the point that ADR can be effectively employed, basic discovery (the exchange of information between both sides) must occur, in order that both sides have knowledge of the other’s position.
As contrary is it may seem to the nature of my profession as a litigator, I take as much pride in being able to settle a case for a number that makes my client happy as I do in slogging through a week-long trial and getting a good verdict.
In the end, it’s all about managing risk. While many people still enjoy a good gamble and will elect to forego a reasonable settlement offer and proceed to trial, prudence has always proven wise the adage: “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”