In Support of Alternative Dispute Resolution

Mar 2, 2023 | Business

Author: Smith + Malek’s Litigation Team


Handling a legal dispute outside of the court system can be in both the plaintiff’s and defendant’s best interest. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR), which refers to any method of conflict resolution that takes place outside of the courtroom, can save time and money and is something we often recommend to clients based on their needs. 


Not only can it take nearly (and sometimes exceeds) two years for a case to even get to trial, the process is also extremely expensive. The costs for litigation can run from tens of hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollars. A study released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform indicated that nationwide the cost of litigation in 2016 was $429 billion – or 2.3 percent of U.S. gross domestic product. 


Spending all that money usually does not make sense. So, before taking a dispute to court, we always advise our clients on ways they can prevent going to such drastic measures. 


Alternative Dispute Resolution is a far less costly method of resolving disputes compared with pursuing litigation and allows parties to work together to amicably resolve their disputes. Common ADR methods include; negotiation, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, and private judging. 


In a typical ADR case, a neutral third party – a judge or attorney – will facilitate a conversation and exchange of offers between both parties. While the mediator aids in the negotiation process, they do not provide any legal advice. 


This method of conflict resolution does require compromise by both parties. However, it is often a shorter process than litigation and allows the parties to have more control over the outcome. At the end of the day, ADR is a highly effective way to resolve a legal issue and most disputes that go to ADR do eventually settle. 


Besides advocating for ADR, Smith + Malek also has a team of attorneys who are dedicated to helping solve problems before they become problems with the hopes of making it so ADR or litigation isn’t even necessary. We work closely with our transactions team to head off some of the issues which cause disputes to go to court. For instance, drafting new contracts for clients, clarifying each parties’ respective rights and responsibilities, and reviewing boundary lines and title reports in matters of real estate transactions to advise them on their property rights and easement rights. 


Attorneys have a duty to look out for their clients’ best interests, and at Smith + Malek we are committed to helping our clients get to a resolution that helps them move forward with their business and their life in the most effective manner possible. For this reason, we often promote ADR and always advise our clients on the risks associated with going to court.