What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) refers to the resolution of cases, disputes, or other arguments outside of a courtroom situations or litigation. Examples of ADR include mediation, arbitration, neutral evaluation, and conciliation.
In general, ADR proceedings tend to be less expensive and more timely as compared to more formal litigation. Additionally, ADR agreements can be more flexible and creative than those that would be allowed in a court of law in which judges are often bound by mandatory minimums and other constraints that wouldn’t allow for flexibility.
If you opt to go the ADR route, you’re still allowed to retain an attorney to represent you if you so choose. However, know that many mediators and arbitrators are lawyers so many parties often agree to hire a single lawyer to act as a neutral third-party to settle the dispute.
Which Companies Provide Alternative Dispute Resolution?
There are hundreds — if not thousands — of companies that offer ADR. Below is a list of some of the companies companies and links to further information about them.
- American Arbitration Association (AAA): Here you will find information on the AAA, current ADR news items of interest in arbitration and mediation, contacts, roster of neutrals, and general information on ADR. The American Arbitration Association is available to resolve a wide range of disputes through mediation, arbitration, elections and other out-of-court settlement procedures. The history, mission and not-for-profit status of the AAA are unique within the ADR industry. AAA provides a forum for the hearing of disputes through 37 offices nationwide, tested rules and procedures that have broad acceptance, and a roster of nearly 17,000 impartial experts to hear and resolve cases. Linda Fritz was a mediator and arbitrator with them as well as a member of their faculty, teaching classes and seminars for other neutrals.
- Association of Attorney-Mediators (AAM): The Association of Attorney-Mediators is a non-profit trade association. Its members are qualified, independent attorney-mediators offering mediation services. They are united by a common commitment “to achieve the prompt, fair and cost effective resolution of disputes through voluntary and court-annexed mediation.”
- Family Mediation Canada (FMC): Family Mediation Canada is an interdisciplinary association of lawyers, social workers, human services and health care professionals, working together, creating a better way to provide for co-operative conflict resolution relating to separation and divorce, adoption, child welfare, wills and estates, parent/teen counseling, organizations, etc. FMC was established in 1985 as a charitable, not-for-profit association under the Canada Corporations Act.
- Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (JAMS): JAMS is the pre-eminent neutrals organization in the nation. The Mission of JAMS is to provide the highest quality dispute resolution services to their clients and to their local, national and global communities. While JAMS neutrals are especially adept at resolving complex and difficult disputes, they offer a full scope of ADR services and can resolve disputes in any price category including, but not limited to, the following: mediation, arbitration, private judging, mini-trials, neutral fact finding and ADR training. JAMS offers locations in many major cities including: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Irvine, Los Angeles, New Jersey, New York, Orange, Oxnard, Portland, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Monica, Santa Rosa, Seattle, Tacoma, Walnut Creek & Washington D.C. A list of the Arbitrators and Mediators of JAMS can be found online. Fritz conducted MCLE classes for other neutrals on bias, procedural issues, and other topics.
- National Association for Community Mediators (NAFCM): The National Association for Community Mediation is a membership organization comprised of community mediation centers, their staff and volunteer mediators, and other individuals and organizations interested in the community mediation movement. Membership benefits include funding possibilities, networking, research, publications, a membership directory, and more. From coast to coast and beyond, NAFCM enjoys a unique position as the only national non-profit organization dedicated solely to community-based mediation programs.