Benefits Of Using Alternative Dispute Resolution

Using ADR may have a variety of benefits, depending on the type of ADR process used and the circumstances of the particular case. Some potential benefits of ADR are summarized below.

Save Time

A dispute often can be settled or decided much sooner with ADR; often in a matter of months, even weeks, while bringing a lawsuit to trial can take a year or more.

Save Money

When cases are resolved earlier through ADR, the parties may save some of the money they would have spent on attorney fees, court costs, experts' fees, and other litigation expenses.

Increase Control Over the Process and the Outcome

In ADR, parties typically play a greater role in shaping both the process and its outcome. In most ADR processes, parties have more opportunity to tell their side of the story than they do at trial. Some ADR processes, such as mediation, allow the parties to fashion creative resolutions that are not available in a trial. Other ADR processes, such as arbitration, allow the parties to choose an expert in a particular field to decide the dispute.

Preserve Relationships 

ADR can be a less adversarial and hostile way to resolve a dispute. For example, an experienced mediator can help the parties effectively communicate their needs and point of view to the other side. This can be an important advantage where the parties have a relationship to preserve.

Increase Satisfaction

In a trial, there is typically a winner and a loser. The loser is not likely to be happy, and even the winner may not be completely satisfied with the outcome. ADR can help the parties find win-win solutions and achieve their real goals. This, along with all of ADR's other potential advantages, may increase the parties' overall satisfaction with both the dispute resolution process and the outcome.

Improve Attorney-Client Relationships 

Attorneys may also benefit from ADR by being seen as problem-solvers rather than combatants. Quick, cost-effective, and satisfying resolutions are likely to produce happier clients and thus generate repeat business from clients and referrals of their friends and associates.