Going to court is costly, time-consuming and often drags on for a long period of time. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) offers an opportunity for those seeking resolution in complex civil litigation, commercial contract disputes and a variety of other legal recourse situations. Covering early neutral evaluation, negotiation, conciliation, mediation, and arbitration, ADR is an alternative that works, with few such settlements being overturned if they do go to court for appeal.
According to the International Chamber of Commerce, ADR has a settlement rate of 74% if mediation is opted for and 80% is a first meeting with the mediator is held. Most ADR cases take less than four months to resolve and cost on average less than one percent of the dispute amount. Dispute amounts can range from under $20,000 to over $500 million.
There is limited discovery and a much simplified version of rules of evidence in an ADR hearing as opposed to a traditional court case. Hearings also only last between a few days and a week. Offering much greater control for all parties than traditional court proceedings, ADR can look at even juvenile criminal cases or cases involving filing for bankruptcy. There were more than 3,400 bankruptcy filings per day in February 2015. Most chapter 11 cases involve debtors with 50 or less employees, less than $10 million in assets or liabilities, and less than $10 million in yearly revenues. Sadly most (62%) of personal bankruptcies result from medical expenses.
ADR can also be used in personal injury cases or in cases of workplace discrimination, which is a growing concern. Pretrial settlements, which may be facilitated through ADR, are common in as much as 95 to 96% of personal injury cases. Discrimination suits can be handled through arbitration and mediation. As much as a third of African Americans report having experienced some form of discrimination within the past year, with 50% saying they had experienced discrimination in the workplace or at the voting booth. Commercial contract disputes are also often addressed through ADR.
Professional ADR services can help counsel and clients prepare through mock trials, identify the best strategies to handle a case, and assist with the investigation for preparing the case. Mediation can be used to narrow down issues and pinpoint non-negotiable elements.