The modern alternative dispute resolution movement grows out of the popular belief that litigation is too expensive, risky and time consuming. While ADR methods, such as mediation, are not appropriate or possible in all cases, they should be considered in appropriate cases to address legitimate client concerns about traditional litigation.
The Center for Legal Solution's Dispute Resolution Pledge is an aspirational commitment by attorneys to finding constructive solutions to their clients' legal problems. The Pledge states:
I recognize that for many disputes there may be methods more effective for resolution than traditional litigation. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedures - used in conjunction with litigation or independently - can significantly reduce the costs and burdens of litigation and result in solutions not available in court.
In recognition of the foregoing, I subscribe to the following statements of policy:
First, I will be knowledgeable about ADR.
Second, where appropriate, I will discuss with my clients the availability of ADR procedures so my clients can make an informed choice concerning resolution of the dispute.
Background: Similar Pledges
The Center for Legal Solution's Dispute Resolution Pledge is substantially the same as the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution's Law Firm Policy Statement on Alternatives to Litigation, which states:
We recognize that for many disputes there may be methods more effective for resolution than traditional litigation. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedures - used in conjunction with litigation or independently - can significantly reduce the costs and burdens of litigation and result in solutions not available in court.
The primary difference between the CPR ADR Pledge and the Center for Legal Solution's Dispute Resolution Pledge is that the former is intended for law firms while the latter is intended for individual attorneys in Georgia.
In recognition of the foregoing, we subscribe to the following statements of policy on behalf of our firm.
First, appropriate lawyers in our firm will be knowledgeable about ADR.
Second, where appropriate, the responsible attorney will discuss with the client the availability of ADR procedures so the client can make an informed choice concerning resolution of the dispute.
Thousands of Law Firms and Companies Have Made this Pledge
The CPR ADR Pledge has been signed by more than 1,600 law firms, including 400 of the largest 500 law firms in the United States. See list of Law Firm ADR Pledge Signers. These 1,600 law firms have been joined by more than 4,000 corporations in pledging a commitment to practical dispute resolution. See List of Corporate Signers. Your firm or company may have already committed to the principles embodied in the Dispute Resolution Pledge.
A similar campaign is underway in Maryland. In Maryland, the Mediation and Conflict Resolution office has formed an initiative to promote ADR throughout Maryland's business and legal communities. More information.
Consistent with Responsible Advocacy
It should be noted that the Center's Dispute Resolution Pledge does not commit the attorney to discuss ADR with clients in all cases; e.g., where the case is intended to prove or test a legal principle. Additionally, the Pledge leaves the question of timing, of when to raise discussion of ADR with the client, to the judgment of counsel. The Pledge recognizes that negotiation and ADR are compatible with vigorous advocacy and litigation on behalf of the client.
We believe that alternative dispute resolution is relevant in many practice areas. Consideration of ADR should not just begin with a dispute, but should be brought to bear during negotiation of contracts and agreements which are the basis of business and other relationships.
Why Would an Attorney Not Make this Pledge?
Many attorneys will recognize that they are already required to pursue some degree of alternative dispute resolution under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedures as well as Georgia law and local court rules. Whether through a Bridge the Gap Seminar or practical experience, most attorneys are knowledgeable about ADR.
While we would like to think our Pledge so compelling that no attorney will dissent, we expect less than universal agreement on this matter. Some attorneys have grown tired of mediation as it has been overused and poorly implemented by court programs. Others represent companies that would like to be known for never settling cases, lest they appear weak.
Though mediation and other methods of alternative dispute resolution are not appropriate in all cases, we think that potential clients would appreciate thoughtful consideration of ADR when it may help them to achieve results efficiently.
Dispute Resolution Pledge
Client Communication Pledge
Pro Bono Service Pledge
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