What is ADR

Mediation Services Sacramento

Why Alternative Dispute Resolution?

The Answer is simple.  Save time.  Save money.  Many people believe a higher quality of justice can be obtained through Alternative Dispute Resolution.  Alternative Dispute Resolution covers almost any method of handling cases outside of a traditional lawsuit.  It includes arbitration, settlement conferences, conciliation and mediation.  Studies by the Rand Institute for Civil Justice have shown that awards by arbitrators are more likely to be in compliance with existing law than jury verdicts or court judgments.  The neutral arbitrators or Sacramento mediators are selected because of their knowledge of particular areas of law, their integrity  and fairness.

Parties have much more control in alternative dispute resolution than in a lawsuit.  Parties normally select their arbitrator, mediator or other neutral.  Parties can choose the procedural rules, write their own or modify existing rules by mutual agreement.  Alternative dispute resolution  is portable; the neutral can come to the parties, rather than forcing the parties to travel long distances to the courthouse.  Alternative dispute resolution is streamlined.   Another study by the Rand Institute for Civil Justice indicated that many cases that would be too expensive to litigate can be successfully brought to arbitration.  Alternative dispute resolution, in short, is a fair and cost effective way to resolve conflict and will avoid the problems of traditional civil litigation.

Which ADR Method Should I Chose?

The two most popular approaches to Alternative Dispute Resolution are arbitration and mediation.  Arbitration is an adversarial process, where parties (with or without a lawyer) present evidence, and the arbitrator issues an award.  The award is as enforceable as a court judgment.  Unlike litigation, with complex procedural rules and highly technical rules of evidence, arbitration is a simple process.  For example, typically there is only one rule of evidence:  all relevant evidence is admissible, and the arbitrator shall give it the weight it deserves.  Arbitration can be completed in matter of months rather than years.  Normally arbitration is “binding” which means that the arbitrator’s award is final.  Rapid closure has a value in and of itself.  Typically parties enter arbitration by written agreement.

Mediation is very different from arbitration.  Mediation is settlement negotiation facilitated by a third party neutral with no interest in the outcome, highly trained in the arts of conflict intervention and facilitating the negotiations of others.  The mediator works with the parties to identify the interests, and helps them integrate those interests to the greatest extent possible.  Mediation is more likely to result in “win-win” results than any other form of dispute resolution.  Mediation is very successful in resolving extremely complex cases expeditiously.  Many observers believe that mediation is the most satisfactory of all the processes.

E-mail Daniel Yamshon for the e-pamphlet The Spectrum of ADR explaining arbitration, med-arb, settlement conferences, conciliation and Sacramento mediation.