Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a process through which disputes can be negotiated and resolved outside of the courtroom in a non-adversarial manner at reduced cost.
ADR typically includes arbitration, mediation, early neutral evaluation, collaborative law (most popular in family law settings) and conciliation, among other methods. Arbitration and mediation are the two most common methods.
You are not required to have an attorney in ADR proceedings, but having legal counsel experienced in ADR rules and procedures present at the ADR proceedings has advantages.
You also may consult with an attorney to prepare you to enter the ADR arena. Consider the complexity of your case and your financial situation in deciding whether to hire an attorney to represent you or to “coach” you as an advisor.
Your attorney can evaluate your case to determine if ADR is the best course to take and what the likely outcome will be.
Your attorney can explain ADR’s procedures, the advantages, disadvantages, the costs of participating in ADR; ensure that you understand your rights and obligations, and help you choose an ADR method best suited to your case and your personal preference.
In developing your case, your attorney will draft or assist you in drafting a proposed agreement and review proposed settlement terms.
It is up to you to decide how involved you want your attorney to be. You can limit the attorney’s participation to a particular legal task or to represent your interest through the entire process.