"Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser -- in fees, expenses and waste of time. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough." -- Abraham Lincoln, “Notes for a Law Lecture,” 1850
Fewer than 5 percent of all lawsuits filed go to trial; the other 95 percent are settled or otherwise concluded before trial using alternative dispute resolution ("ADR") methods. ADR techniques are increasingly being used more frequently as they help resolve legal disputes more quickly, cheaply, and privately than conventional litigation. Moreover, many people prefer ADR approaches because these methods are more creative and more focused on problem solving than litigation, which has always been based on an adversarial model.
Although certain ADR techniques like mediation and arbitration are well-established and frequently used, ADR has no fixed definition. ADR includes a wide range of processes, many with little in common except that each is an alternative to full-blown litigation. Litigants, lawyers, and judges are constantly adapting existing ADR processes or devising new ones to meet the unique needs of their legal disputes. Therefore, the definition of ADR is constantly expanding as well to include new techniques in our rapidly-changing society.
The goal of the W&M ADR Team is to offer a forum for team members to train and compete in ADR methods, cultivating valuable skills to better prepare them for aiding clients in the professional world.
Each fall, the ADR Team hosts a two-week tryout for 1L and 2L students. During the first week of tryouts, participants are provided fact patterns and compete in arbitration and negotiation pairs. Those who advance to the second week compete individually. The competition selection is highly competitive and those who make the team attend training in the spring semester to prepare them to compete in tournaments during their 2L and 3L years. Team members have the opportunity to travel and compete in negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and client counseling competitions.