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The Foundations of a Solid Dispute Resolution Program

We are witnessing a profound change when it comes to the public perception of so-called “alternative” dispute resolution (ADR) strategies, as well as what it really means to win. ­Business and legal communities are realizing that automatically following a default litigation model and attempting to destroy one’s opponent in court, whatever the cost, often ends up costing them a great more—in terms of money, time, relationships and business reputation. Forward-thinking companies and their counsel now understand that, where ADR is appropriate, its more thoughtful and flexible approach can help to preserve important business relationships, and lead to results that are more finely nuanced and tailored to their needs than anything a judge (or jury) could provide.

But where does one start, in both thinking about and actually applying these concepts? When one has been operating with a pure litigation mindset for so long (as I had been, before my experiences as General Counsel at MasterCard), it can be difficult to change direction. ­This report aims to assist with that transition, by highlighting some of the foundational basics of dispute prevention and resolution, and then offering practical examples and viewpoints from a number of experienced stakeholders, including both in-house and outside counsel.

Some questions it attempts to answer are:

• What trends are we seeing in the area of dispute resolution internationally?

• How can in-house counsel begin to “sell” and drive ADR effectively within their own organizations?

• How are other companies implementing dispute resolution techniques to positive results?

• Doesn’t arbitration ultimately cost just about as much as litigation?

• What kind of flexibility does arbitration offer me in terms of discovery, confidentiality and the opportunity to appeal?

• How can I ensure that my neutrals are unbiased, and experienced in the subject matter of my proceeding?

• Aren’t there some cases that are not suitable for arbitration and must always be litigated?

• I understand why a corporation would want to explore ADR, but what’s in it for law firms?

• How is online dispute resolution starting to change the landscape of ADR?

We welcome the opportunity to assist you with any aspect of building your own dispute resolution strategy. Contact us at