Legal Blog

What Is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

disputeNot all legal battles are won through litigation. Increasingly, businesses and individuals are choosing to resolve disputes through alternative means. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) encompasses every method, process, and tactic other than court proceedings parties use to reconcile conflicts and come to agreements. Examples of ADR include…

  • Arbitration: parties submit their dispute to a third party, who acts as an independent judge and whose decisions are legally binding. The process replicates how public courtrooms handle lawsuits, except no jury is involved. Additionally, parties can determine various procedural factors such as who and how many people act as arbitrators. Because they are difficult to overturn, final decisions made through arbitration are rarely challenged.
  • Mediation: parties reconcile their dispute with facilitation through a neutral third party. Mediators aim to bring parties to a mutually beneficial agreement, though the process is entirely non-binding. Even when mediation fails to solve a dispute, it can expose information related to the dispute, thus accelerating whatever next steps the parties take.
  • Negotiation: parties resolve the dispute by arriving at a compromise, without intervention from a third party. Negotiation is a time-honored tradition as ancient as civilization itself. As such, the process has evolved over millennia as negotiators develop new strategies and techniques. Skilled attorneys can help their clients gain an upper hand by coaching and collaborating on these various approaches and maneuvers.

In addition, divorce attorneys sometimes use a methodology known as collaborative law, which adapts elements of ADR into a formalized system in order to solve interpersonal issues and repair relationships away from the court system.

Why Choose Alternative Dispute Resolution?

Why do clients choose to pursue ADR over conventional litigation? The answer is simple: to save time, money, and unnecessary emotional stress. As litigation proliferates, attorneys raise their fees to take advantage of market demand. Meanwhile, proceedings grow longer and court cases pile up. ADR offers a faster and more cost-effective option for clients who do not require a public judge and jury to settle matters for them. Furthermore, many private party contracts now require ADR in lieu of or as a mandatory precursor to litigation. That means that whether your dispute is with your employer, employee, contractor, business colleague, spouse, or any other party, you may have no other option than to arbitrate, mediate, or negotiate the matter.

Alternative Dispute Attorneys at Offit Kurman

However you enter into ADR, make sure to have the right legal partner on your team. More than a dozen of Offit Kurman’s attorneys across the firm’s diverse practice groups are accomplished in forms of alternative dispute resolution. Members of our Alternative Dispute Resolution Team rely on the full breadth of our collaborative, cross-practice approach to deliver the best available representation and counsel for any legal issue you may have. Click here to learn about our alternative dispute resolution service and attorneys.


Offit Kurman is one of the fastest-growing, full-service law firms in the Mid-Atlantic region. With over 100 attorneys in seven offices serving Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Wilmington and Northern Virginia, the firm is well positioned to meet the legal needs of dynamic businesses and the people who own and operate them. At Offit Kurman, we are our clients’ most trusted legal advisors, the professionals who help them to maximize and protect their business value and individual wealth. In every interaction, we consistently maintain our clients’ trust and confidence by remaining focused on their objectives to help them achieve their goals. You can connect with Offit Kurman via FacebookTwitterGoogle+YouTube, and LinkedIn.