U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Lawyer Turns Peacemaker

NCJ Number
ABA Journal Volume: 82 Dated: (August 1996) Pages: 54-62
R C Reuben
Date Published
9 pages
With mediation emerging as a popular form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), the quest for common ground may force attorneys to reinterpret what they do in the future.
ADR is primed for growth, as witnessed by the expansion of court-related programs, the participation of lawyers and nonlawyers in mediation training seminars, and the pledge of many businesses and large law firms to consider ADR options. Critics of ADR, however, say it is just another assault on juries and the civil justice system and charge its secret, "kangaroo" courts delivered a skewed brand of justice that fails to provide adequate remedies for weaker parties such as women and minorities. The legal profession has long had a strained relationship with ADR. A fundamental difference between mediation and binding ADR methods is that parties decide themselves how to resolve their dispute in mediation. Nonetheless, mediation raises questions not found in law, and experienced lawyers trying their hand at mediation often find the mediation process awkward and frustrating. Differences between mediation and arbitration are discussed, as well as characteristics and qualifications of mediators, ethical standards of conduct for mediators, and the integration of ADR and the law. Because mediation and other ADR techniques are often forced on litigators and their clients by courts and legislatures and the growth of ADR seems assured, attorneys need to become aware of and skilled in ADR techniques. 1 figure and 6 photographs