What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Including Mediation and Arbitration?

Clients ask what ADR is. ADR is an acronym that stands for alternative dispute resolution. Oftentimes, especially in this day and age with underfunded and overworked courts, it can take an awfully long time for a lawsuit to work its way through the courts. Knowing that and recognizing that, when we draft agreements, we oftentimes include provisions mandating that any dispute under the agreement regarding performance or interpretation or really anything else be decided in the context of arbitration as opposed to court. Oftentimes with arbitration the expenses are less and the procedure is overall less painful because you're not subject to the clogged-up calendars that sometimes burden courts of law these days. When it comes to arbitration and mediation these are two processes that are very important that need to be well understood in advance. A mediation is a proceeding that is presided over by a mutually agreeable, oftentimes retired judge or experienced attorney, that really works with the parties for purposes of trying to find common ground and settle the dispute. Mediation, even if it does not successfully resolve the dispute, can also be very helpful from the standpoint of understanding exactly where the other side is coming from. Arbitration on the other hand is a different ball game. With an arbitration evidence is presented, documentation is introduced, testimony is taken, argument is offered by each side and then the arbitrator makes the decision. Typically the arbitrator, after hearing all the evidence will take the matter under submission and then render a written opinion. So with arbitration you've got a decision. With mediation you have an effort to settle but no decision, no order by the mediator. The mediator lacks authority to order anybody to do anything. Feel free to call us for purposes of scheduling a confidential consultation, the telephone number here is (858) 564-0136 or you can visit us at our website