Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) is a collection of processes used to resolve conflict or disputes informally and confidentially. ADR provides alternatives to traditional processes, such as grievances and complaints, but does not displace them. ADR encourages creativity and practical solutions and can be faster, cheaper, less formal and less confrontational than traditional processes. The ADR process can improve communications, provide long-lasting solutions, help avoid publicity and give parties control of the outcome.
Mediation is a nonbinding process in which parties to a dispute work with an impartial third party (“neutral” or “mediator”) who helps them to reach a settlement. The mediator does not decide the case but rather facilitates a consensual agreement among the parties to the dispute. Except under some court-mandated programs, mediation is a consensual effort: both parties must agree to it. It often is employed after it becomes apparent that direct negotiation between adversaries will not resolve the dispute efficiently.
Perhaps the most attractive aspect of mediation is that it can be tailored to suit the needs of each individual dispute. The mediator can play a low-key and conciliatory role, or take on a more proactive role by making suggestions and probing for convergent interests. We can provide clients with a list of court-approved mediators.