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Alternative Dispute Resolution

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?

Alternative Dispute Resolution, or “ADR”, is an alternative to litigation. In ADR, the parties at odds agree to be bound by the decision of an independent and impartial third party. ADR conferences generally encourage parties to settle their dispute without going to trial. As a result, ADR is usually less formal, less expensive, and less time-consuming than taking the case to trial.

Why Should I Choose Alternative Dispute Resolution?

Alternative Dispute Resolution is often much quicker and more cost-effective than the full litigation process. It is offered for many different kinds of cases and civil lawsuits. Alternative Dispute Resolution clauses are common in employment contracts because it often saves companies money and bad publicity associated with lawsuits. 

ADR can also be less expensive, less time consuming, and less formal than trial. ADR may be effective for both parties if they want to informally come to a settlement or outcome without going through a formal court proceeding.

What Types of Legal Issues is ADR Used For?

As mentioned, ADR is used in a variety of settings and to handle a wide range of legal disputes, issues, and claims. ADR is commonly used in:

There are many other applications of ADR procedures. These all depend on the parties' needs and desires regarding the outcome of their legal issue.

Are There Different Kinds of Alternative Dispute Resolution?


Mediation is one form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that allows parties to seek a remedy for their conflict without a court trial. Parties work with a mediator, who is a neutral third party. Usually, mediators have received some training in negotiation or their professional background provides that practical experience.

Unlike a judge, a mediator does not decide who wins; rather, a mediator facilitates communication between the parties and helps identify issues and solutions. The goal is for parties to reach an acceptable agreement.

Mediation can be an appealing option because it is less adversarial. This might be important when the relationship between the parties has to continue in the future, such as between a divorcing couple with children. The process is also less formal than court proceedings.
Mediation often costs less than litigation, which is another benefit. Another advantage to using mediation is that it generally takes much less time than a traditional lawsuit. Litigation can drag on for years, but mediation can typically be completed within a few months. Court systems are embracing mediation and other forms of ADR in an effort to clear their clogged dockets. There are some programs that are voluntary, but in some jurisdictions, pursuing ADR is a mandatory step before a lawsuit can proceed.

Mediation can be used in a variety of cases, and it is sometimes required by a contract between the parties. Mediators can be found through referrals from courts or bar associations, and there are companies that specifically provide ADR services. Ideally, a mediator will have some training or background in the area of law related to your dispute.

Mediation is often a successful way to reach a settlement. If parties fail to resolve their conflict, information learned during mediation might be protected as confidential under state law.  Contact our law firm today to help determine if mediation would be a valuable tool to resolve your case.


Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution, and is used to avoid a court proceeding for individuals involved in a dispute. In arbitration, the parties with a conflict select a neutral third party, called an arbitrator. The arbitrator will hold one or more hearings at which both sides can present evidence and testimony. After reviewing evidence and testimony of the parties, the arbitrator will render a decision. In most cases, the arbitrator's decision is final, though arbitration can be either binding or non-binding. In non-binding arbitration, either side can reject the arbitrator's award, and then the case would proceed to a trial. The arbitrator's decision is typically not allowed to be mentioned at the trial.

In some cases, arbitration is required, primarily when contracts between the parties provide that any dispute will be resolved through arbitration. Arbitrators do not have to follow legal precedents, as judges do. They also are not required to explain the reasoning behind the decision. Arbitration can be performed by one arbitrator or by a panel of several arbitrators.

Arbitration can offer a number of advantages over a courtroom proceeding. First, arbitrations are usually faster than litigation, especially now when court dockets are overflowing in many areas of the country. Arbitration also tends to be less expensive than a traditional lawsuit. Furthermore, if the dispute is of a highly technical or scientific nature, arbitrators with expertise in that area can be chosen. Arbitration proceedings are usually private rather than public, such as a trial. Finally, the fact that decisions reached in an arbitration usually cannot be appealed offers the advantage of certainty for the prevailing party.

Arbitrators in many areas can award a variety of remedies. They include ordering one party to pay a sum of money, ordering a party to do or not to do something, making a declaration as to a matter determined in the arbitration, ordering performance of a contract, or ordering a contract to be set aside. Arbitrators may also be able to compel third parties to comply with discovery demands by disclosing records or other critical information.

If you feel arbitration may be an avenue worth considering for your legal dispute, contact our knowledgeable law firm today for a consultation. 

Arbitration and Mediation are the two most common types of ADR. Negotiation and collaborative law are also widely used. While there are differences between the types of alternative dispute resolution, all of them generally share the common goal of avoiding a court trial. Another type of alternative dispute resolution is Neutral Evaluation. 

Neutral Evaluation

In a neutral evaluation, each party presents their case to an evaluator who is once again a neutral party. After hearing each side's case, the evaluator then gives an opinion on the different strengths and weaknesses of each party's case, evidence, and arguments. The evaluator that is presented with the case is usually very experienced in the particular subject matter at hand. For instance, if the legal dispute involves a business matter, the evaluator will usually have education, training, and experience in the business realm.

State laws may vary with regards to each different type of alternative dispute resolution. In some cases, ADR may be prescribed or ordered by the court. For instance, in many divorce or other family law matters, the parties may need to undergo “court-ordered mediation” to help them resolve their disputes.

Can the Outcome of an Alternative Dispute Resolution Be Overturned?

If an agreement is not or cannot be reached between the two parties then it will go to trial. Since the passage of the 1956 Uniform Arbitration Act and its revisions in 2000, arbitration agreements and awards are generally enforceable under state and federal laws if an agreement is reached. 

The term “binding arbitration” means that the parties waive their rights to trial and the arbitrator's decision is final. “Non-binding arbitration” means that the decision of the arbitrator is not final, and the parties can request to go to trial if needed.

Again, these all depend on the exact needs and requirements of the parties. Generally speaking, alternative dispute resolution is simply another option for parties to resolve their disputes in a way that is most beneficial and efficient for them, as well as minimizing conflict.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Alternative Dispute Matters?

While alternative dispute resolution can often be less formal than a trial, it can still involve some complex legal issues, disputes, and concepts. If you are considering ADR, a reputable business lawyer can advise you on your options and the best course of legal action. 

Your lawyer can help you to take into account other legal factors with which you may not otherwise be familiar. They can also prepare you for ADR and can guide you through the process. 

Call our office today at 212-994-7777 or complete the convenient online contact form to set up a consultation.