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Effectiveness of Mediation: An Independent Analysis of Cases Handled by Four Major Service Providers

NCJ Number
Negotiation Journal Volume: 12 Issue: 3 Dated: (July 1996) Pages: 259-269
J M Brett; Z I Barsness; S B Goldberg
Date Published
11 pages
A study of 449 cases administered by four major providers of alternative dispute resolution services revealed that mediation was capable of settling 78 percent of cases, regardless of whether the parties had been sent to mediation by a court or had selected the process voluntarily.
The research focuses on cases administered by the American Arbitration Association, the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution, JAMS-Endispute, and U.S. Mediation and Arbitration Service. These organizations provided the names and addresses of the attorneys, clients, and neutrals in cases they administered in Los Angeles, Dallas, Seattle, New York, Florida, and San Francisco. A survey sent through the mail collected the data. The research received information about 449 of the 902 cases for which the survey sought information. Results revealed that the disputes varied widely in size and had a median claim size of $180,000 and a median counterclaim size of $100,000. The cases less likely to settle were those with the potential of a very large recovery and those for which it was not in the financial interest of one party to settle. Mediation cost far less than arbitration, took less time, and was regarded by participants as a more satisfactory process than arbitration. Findings indicated compelling reasons to use mediation, as well as situations in which mediation should not be used. Therefore, mediation should be the first option to consider when selecting an alternative dispute resolution procedure. Figures, tables, notes, and 12 references


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