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Updated: November 27, 2023 10 Things

10 Things I know about ... Alternative dispute resolution

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Howard Stempler is co-chair of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee for the Worcester County Bar Association and is the principal owner at Central Mass Mediation & Arbitration in Shrewsbury. 


10) In mediation, the role of the mediator or neutral, is to listen, facilitate dialogue, and help guide parties to an agreeable resolution.

9) Mediation is a completely voluntary process, which means the parties have chosen in good faith to attempt to voluntarily participate in the process. It also means that parties are free to withdraw from the process at any time.

8) Statistics show between 65-75% of all mediated cases result in a final settlement.

7) Binding arbitration is a process where parties present evidence to a neutral third party (an arbitrator) who is empowered to make a legally binding decision.

6) Neutral case evaluation is a process where each side presents written and oral summaries of its case to a neutral evaluator. With NCE, lawyers and their clients receive independent feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of their respective cases, providing parties with a realistic assessment of the potential outcome of their case if it goes to trial.

5) The benefits of ADR over litigation are significant: A) Costs: The costs of participating in ADR are usually significantly lower than those associated with trial; B) predictability and control: ADR generally provides the parties more control over the outcome by being able to select a knowledgeable neutral and having greater say through the process; and C) speed: alternative dispute resolution techniques help to resolve the dispute in a minimum amount of time.

4) Other benefits of ADR include: A) Flexibility: ADR services can be tailored to the needs of the parties; B) privacy: alternative dispute resolution is a private process; and C) less stress: ADR is often less stressful than participating in the lengthy litigation process.

3) ADR sessions may be conducted completely remotely by Zoom. Parties may agree one or more of them will participate in ADR remotely and one or more of the parties will participate in-person.

2) ADR is used as a tool to resolve most types of disputes, including but not limited to family and probate issues, insurance coverage, commercial disputes, personal injury, and real estate and land disputes.

1) Participating in some form of ADR may be done through a private for-fee ADR firm or free of charge through the Massachusetts Superior Court system. Each party should evaluate carefully with counsel which is the best option.

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