Helping Lawyers Help Clients Make Good Decisions About Dispute Resolution

Lawyers face a great challenge in advising clients about what dispute resolution (DR) process to use. There are many DR processes and people are developing new variations all the time. The choice of process can have a huge impact on the parties. Thus it is important for lawyers to give clients good advice about the choice of process, though this is easier said than done.


This article suggests that local and subject-area legal practice communities use dispute systems design strategies to help lawyers counsel clients in choosing DR options. These strategies could include development of protocols for lawyers to assess DR options with convenient checklists, educational materials for clients, and trainings.


These strategies can include rules requiring lawyers to advise clients about DR options, but lawyers can easily circumvent these rules, which are not likely to be effective unless they are part of a comprehensive strategy.

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John Lande

John Lande is the Isidor Loeb Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri School of Law and former director of its LLM Program in Dispute Resolution.  He received his J.D. from Hastings College of Law and Ph.D in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He began mediating professionally in 1982 in California.… MORE >

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