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What is ADR?

ADR, or Alternate Dispute Resolution, incorporates any method outside of litigation to resolve a dispute. The primary types of ADR are mediation, facilitation, early neutral evaluation and arbitration.


Mediation is a facilitated confidential form of negotiation in which an impartial third party attempts to help disputing parties reach a mutually satisfactory resolution. Mediation is appropriate when a process is needed to resolve conflict between two or more individuals or organizations and:

  • confidentiality is desired;
  • parties desire a solution that is their own;
  • parties are willing to participate in good faith;
  • an alternative to litigation is desired; and
  • parties’ emotions preclude constructive communication.


Facilitation is a process in which an impartial third party helps a group complete a task, solve a problem, or come to an agreement. The facilitator impacts and guides the process but does not give input on the content of the discussion. Facilitation is appropriate when a group process is needed to:

  • gather information from a variety of perspectives;
  • make a decision;
  • plan a project; or
  • solve a problem.

Early Neutral Evaluation

Early Neutral Evaluation (or Case Evaluation) is a confidential process in which an impartial third party evaluates a case or claim based on presentations by the parties or attorneys. The evaluator provides an opinion about the strengths and weaknesses and case value of the case or claim and the likelihood of its success at trial. Early Neutral Evaluation is appropriate when parties desire an impartial person to render an opinion in cases where:

  • there is a financial result;
  • you want to know what your case is worth;
  • people have a positional rather than an interest based negotiation; and
  • you want to explore settlement ranges or possibilities.


Arbitration is a confidential process in which an impartial third party renders a binding or non-binding decision regarding a dispute. Arbitration is appropriate when parties desire an impartial person to render a decision and:

  • confidentiality is desired;
  • in a less formal setting than a court; and
  • if parties prefer not to interact directly; or
  • as directed by an contractual arbitration clause

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