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Mediation Most Preferred Method of Resolving Disputes, According to CPR Survey

-- Corporate Lawyers Cite Cost Savings as #1 Benefit for Using Mediation --

The International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution announces the results of a nationwide survey of 126 leading corporate counsel and their law firms on the adoption and use of alternative dispute resolution.

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.

“The results of this survey confirm that mediation remains a dominant feature in the legal landscape,” said Kathleen A. Bryan, CEO of CPR Institute. “With approximately 98% of cases settled before trial, it is evident that corporate counsel understands the value of the ADR tools available to them. More importantly, they actually use them. As a result, we are seeing an increase in the demand for research, information and training in commercial mediation and arbitration.”

In the study, corporate counsel rated arbitration lower than did law firms, expressing a concern about the quality of the result and the potential for the arbitration award to be challenged. In addition, law firms valued the confidentiality of arbitration more than corporate counsel.

Approximately half of the corporate counsel surveyed track ADR metrics. According to CPR’s research, this number has grown over the past five years. Interestingly, law firms overwhelmingly do not track such results.

Added Ms. Bryan, “Through employing varied methods of ADR, lawyers have a unique opportunity to bring substantial benefits to their clients. Therefore, both corporations and their law firms should learn more about ADR and track the results of those efforts.”

Download a PDF of this Press Release here
Download a PDF of the Survey here