Friday, June 8

Mediation Most Preferred Form of ADR

This post just out from the Law Librarian Blog advising that arbitration ranked third behind mediation and early case assessment as the most preferred form of alternative dispute resolution.

A recent survey by the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution found that;

The U.S.-based attorneys that we surveyed overwhelmingly embrace mediation as the most powerful method to resolve complex business disputes outside of court, citing “cost savings” and “speed” as the primary reasons for their preference. Law firm respondents were more concerned about the risks of confidentiality and that mediation would convey weakness than were corporate lawyers.

Surprisingly, a major hallmark of mediation, that it alone provides the ability to maintain and improve relationships despite a dispute, scored low in importance for corporate counsel' .

Aside from the obvious good news, two things that disappoint -

1) are we not yet over that weakness thing? I think most sophisticated operators are, and

2) cost is still the primary driver to mediation, when we all know it offers so much more

In fact ALL of cost savings/speed/confidentiality/reduced discovery/finality rated higher as motivators for mediation than maintaining relationships and improved results - the very two things we mediators put up in lights when selling!

Read more : CPR's Survey on ADR Trends (first quarter 2007)

1 comment:

Rick Weiler said...

Geoff, I must say that I'm personally not surprised by the results of this survey. I suspect that for most mediators in the trenches, day to day, conducting commercial mediations, the notion that what lawyers and business people really value is "improved relationships" and "better results" is simply absurd. Yet, as you say, this is what the major providers such as CPR continue to "put up in lights" (I like that mate...grin).

In my view, these major providers would do themselves and the mediation marketplace a huge favour by coming clear and promoting mediation for what it is - a genuine opportunity to resolve disputes quicker and cheaper than litigation.

As for the law firms - those that hire us - I've always thought that we mediators need to tune them in to radio station WIFM ("what's in it for me?") and help them to understand that if they develop and promote a reputation for truly assisting clients with the quicker and cheaper resolution of commercial disputes the work will come flooding in the door.

Well, enough of a rant for Sunday morning here in Ottawa. Thanks for the opportunity....grin.

Rick Weiler
Ottawa, Canada