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Why and

As a long-time (now 30 years) passionate advocate of the use of mediation, one may wonder why has now launched, and four additional ADR sites.

The primary reasons are two:

  • a rapidly expanding ADR marketplace; and
  • the core concept that informed participants are capable of making, and entitled to make, their own dispute resolution decisions.

And so, while I personally encourage as many disputants as possible to maintain maximum control over their discussions and outcomes with mediation, I also understand that some disputants prefer a process in which they have more active legal representation at the core of their negotiation process. Others may favor the relative formality and guaranteed result of arbitration, perhaps as good-will negotiations have been exhausted. In sum, there is a broad and expanding dispute resolution marketplace with each ADR process offering its own qualities, advantages, risks and costs.

In terms of the centrality of ADR these days, it is quite clear to me, at least for the “99%,” that ADR has in fact “won the day.” Being realistic, who can afford to go to court anymore? Have you seen the headlines where courtrooms are being shuttered as state and local governments are no longer able to afford to keep them open! Many dozens of courtrooms have been closed in San Francisco and Los Angeles alone. Courts are these days essentially serve corporate interests, operate our criminal justice system (I will avoid any comments about the drug war costs here) and (barely) handle necessary domestic relations (divorce) and eviction (FED and Foreclosure) actions. For the rest of us, the courts are nearly irrelevant for the day-to-day issues that face us.

Whether it is some flavor of mediation, collaborative law or arbitration, ADR participants are these days making thoughtful choices about the best dispute resolution approach for their situation. And not only the best process, but even the best flavor of that preferred process. Some in the marketplace purposefully pursue “transformative mediation,” while others now specifically want “facilitative” or “evaluative” or “online” mediation. In the world of collaborative practice, some want a streamlined collaborative legal representation, while others are attracted to the possibility of a collaborative team of professionals. For others, such as those involved in internet commerce who have never actually “met,” it may make most sense to not only swiftly resolve a commercial dispute through arbitration, but to fully do that online without anyone needing to travel or physically meet. And all of this is evolving on a daily basis. I am the first to admit that it is all rather mind-boggling.

Mind-boggling or not, we do in fact have a rapidly expanding ADR marketplace (did I mention that this is all also global?) and is more committed than ever to bringing top-flight, ongoing information to the dispute resolving public and their referral sources so that best-considered ADR and professional choices can be made.

The critical function that, and our additional ADR Professional Directory sites offer is that of:

  • Best supporting ADR Professionals’ information sharing, transparency and disclosure; and

  • Best supporting ADR Professionals being found on the Internet (and looking great).

A final interesting thing about our supporting the growth of ADR online is that the online environment is not limited by traditional limiting concepts of time and space. On the Internet, you can in fact be in ten places at one time and, given the way search engines work, that is in fact a very good idea! It is then ultimately the online realities of our best spreading the word about ADR and best supporting our professional clients with their online exposure that has led to embrace collaborative practice, arbitration and the full range of ADR options.

My experience and belief is that informed disputants make great choices. Our quest at (and now also at, and our additional ADR sites) is to best inform disputants in support of both their dispute resolution process and professional selections. Thanks for your ongoing support as we spread our ADR wings!

                        author Staff In business since 1996, is the world’s leading mediation and dispute resolution website with over 7 million annual site visitors. serves as a bridge between professionals offering dispute resolution services and individuals and businesses needing those services. was awarded the 2010 American Bar Association Institutional Problem Solver of… MORE >

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