Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is the procedure for settling disputes without litigation, such as arbitration, mediation, or negotiation. One of the primary reasons parties may prefer ADR proceedings is that, unlike adversarial litigation, ADR procedures are often collaborative and allow the parties to understand each other’s positions. ADR also allows the parties to come up with more creative solutions that a court may not be legally allowed to impose.
The Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution (CNDR) offers superior education in dispute resolution. Read below to discover more about ADR and how our courses can help you become a better lawyer.
Third-party neutrals such as mediators and arbitrators are often attorneys and judges, but the practice of law is not required. Anyone can be a mediator, and these days, professionals from all walks of life are bringing their expertise to the dispute resolution field.
The state of California does not have any minimum requirements for the practice of ADR professionals, but the industry standard training is 40-hour basic mediation certificate program. See the ABA website for policies and standards of conduct for practicing neutrals.
Mediation involves a third-party neutral (the mediator) meeting with the parties to assist them to try to work out a mutually agreeable settlement to the legal dispute. Arbitration is different in that the neutral (the arbitrator) decides the case much like a judge. As such, it tends to be a more formal process than mediation and one that is often binding on the parties. Both processes can provide quicker results and more confidentiality than traditional litigation.
Absolutely! Negotiation and dispute resolution are basic skills you should learn in law school, because it’s fundamental to all legal practice. For example, in criminal law, you may best protect your client by negotiating an acceptable plea deal. In civil law, litigation is expensive and can take years. That’s why more courts and litigants are using alternative processes such as negotiation, mediation, and arbitration to settle legal disputes without going to trial.
Lawyers are problem solvers for their clients; you need to know how to identify your client’s needs and interests, as well as possible solutions to your clients’ problems. You need to know how to negotiate and represent clients in mediation and arbitration. You need to know how to effectively communicate with your client to learn how best to serve them, and with opposing counsel and judges to advance your client’s interests. With these skills, you can help clients resolve current disputes and avoid future disputes.
All of them! Every lawyer’s job involves negotiation. Lawyers need negotiation skills, not just for contracts and settlement agreements, but also more informal everyday negotiations with clients, lawyers, judges and others.
Yes! Despite what you see in the movies and on TV, only about 5% of all court cases go to trial. As a result, litigators need much more than just trial advocacy skills to effectively represent their clients. In the few cases that do go through litigation, the process is expensive and time consuming, so ADR can be quicker and cheaper. Additionally, many courts order disputing parties to mediation before setting a case for trial.
CNDR has you covered! The depth and breadth of the curriculum and experiential opportunities at CNDR make it one of the nation’s top ten ADR programs. We employ a diverse faculty and staff with vast expertise and experience in dispute resolution. CNDR offers 17 academic courses on dispute resolution topics, with a focus on experiential learning through our hands-on courses, the Mediation Clinic, ADR Externships, and the Negotiation and Dispute Resolution Team. Our experiential learning provides students with many opportunities to observe and practice their skills with other students, as well as in the real world. CNDR also offers a concentration Civil Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution, as well as an LL.M. Specialization in Dispute Resolution.