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Public Patron's Guide to Alternative Dispute Resolution

What is ADR?

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) generally refers to a closed, confidential proceeding in which a neutral third party facilitates the resolution of a dispute.  ADR may be used in a variety of disputes a few of which include civil law suits, busines and contract disputes, employment grievances, peer review in schools, and administrative disputes before governmental bodies.

What types of ADR exist?

The three major methods of ADR are negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. Negotiation is the ADR method used whereby the parties themselves to settle a dispute. This method process and resolution are controlled by the parties to the dispute. Mediation is the ADR method used whereby a neutral third party (the mediator) directs and facilitates the mediation process.  The mediator is not a decision-maker and has no opinion or interest in the dispute or its outcome.  Arbitration is the ADR method used whereby the neutral third party or parties (the arbitrator or arbitration panel) listens to brief presentations of the cases of the respective "sides" to the dispute and renders a decision. 

What is the attorney's role and responsibility in ADR?

Lawyers are obligated to assist clients in evaluating and preparing settlement options, including ADR.  Attorneys prepare for and participate with clients in ADR procedures.  If no settlement is reached, the attorney may try to settle the dispute in court.  

What are formbook sets?

Formbook sets are multi-volume sets of books that are either dedicated to providing Texas forms or contain a wide variety of sample forms. They do not focus on a single subject, but discuss many different aspects of Texas law.

What is the State Bar of Texas Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Council?

The ADR Council is the 18-member governing body of the State Baw ADR Section.  The Council provides program and policy leadership for approximately 1200 attorney and non-attorney Section members across the state.  The purpose of the ADR Section is to "promote the use and quality of ADR in Texas."

In what activities can Council members participate?

The Council is involved in a variety of activities and committees.  Although specific activities and priorities change each year, Council members typically focus on such areas as continuing education, the Section newsletter, ADR legislation, arbitration, mediation, credentialing, rural outreach, and school mediation programs.

What type of commitment is required for Council members?

Council members are asked to attend each of the 5 to 6 Council meetings and two Section meetings annually.  In addition, members are asked to spend approximately six hours in Council activities or committee work between meetings.  Council member terms are generally for three years.

Do I have to be an attorney to serve on the Council?

No.  The ADR Section is the only section of the State Bar to have members who are not attorneys.  Three positions on the 18-member ADR Council are reserved for non-attorney members.

What financial commitments are involved in Council membership?

Funds for the Section are raised through Section membership dues, training programs, and sale of publications.  Council members are reimbursed for travel expenses associated with each Council meeting, pursuant to State Bar guidelines.