What is ADR?

A structured settlement negotiation facilitated by a neutral third-party, the mediator, to achieve a resolution that satisfies all parties.
A formal adversarial hearing before a neutral, called the arbitrator, with a relaxed evidentiary standard. The arbitrator is usually a subject matter expert.
The parties to a dispute play a central role as active participants in the process. Presentations are made through attorneys; the parties play a secondary role.
The process is extremely flexible and informal. The process is less flexible than mediation, however, more flexible than litigation. The process maintains a certain degree of formality.
The parties control the ultimate resolution of disputes. The ultimate resolution of disputes is in the hands of the arbitrator(s).
The emphasis is often on the interests of the parties and/or their future relationship. The goal is to resolve problems in a principled fashion and move on. Focus is on past events or circumstances, and determining issues of fact & law.
Solutions are flexible and may include anything from monetary settlements to unique forward-looking business arrangements. Solutions are limited by the original agreement of the parties and the requests for relief, and usually consist of monetary damages.
There are multiple “cloaks” supporting confidentiality. There is no guarantee of confidentiality beyond the protections established by the parties’ agreement.

Alternative Dispute Resolution consists of a full range of informal to formal problem-solving processes, wherein a neutral professional assists the parties in reaching an amicable solution, a binding agreement or other resolve to a dispute.