Just up at SSRN last Thursday - Maintaining ADR Integrity - by Carrie Menkel-Meadow of Georgetown University Law Center and self professed "member of the ADR founding generation".
Modern ADR was born 30 years ago in response to the failings and abuses of the then prevailing dispute resolution mechanisms, especially litigation. 30 years on it seems we are facing failures of our own.
'The initial goals of the ADR movement are contrasted to some recent developments and challenges to these goals, with a focus on some key issues to watch in the future - "sham" processes, misuse of processes for adversarial gain, unethical uses, incompetent parties, lawyers and neutrals and dilution of the original goals of quality and "tailored" dispute resolution...
Nevertheless, for us, the founding generation, there is some unease as we contemplate some recent abusive uses of our well-intentioned ideas for multiple processes and party determination. Increasingly, there is fear that clever lawyers and manipulative and profit-hungry (and cost minimizing) business owners and legal clients have learned to misuse some forms of ADR for less-than-honest purposes. In my own practice, I have seen lawyers manipulate the mediation and arbitration process to force out information from the other side, later to be used adversarially, rather than collaboratively, in subsequent processes - after refusing to agree to a solution outside of litigation...'[read more]