Friday, April 27, 2012

Use and Benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution

A Statistical Summary Prepared by the Department of Justice

If anyone needs statistical evidence that ADR saves money and reduces litigation, here it is. Last year the government saved over $12 million in litigation and discovery expenses, over 14,600 days of attorney time, and avoided over 1,200 months of litigation by the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. These savings were achieved primarily through the use of mediation at a cost of under $2 million. Six dollars saved for every one dollar spent is pretty good cost/benefit ratio, if you ask me.

This data is being reported by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Dispute Resolution (ODR). The ODR was set up to develop Justice Department policy regarding the use of ADR.

These are just the government’s cost savings and, according to the ODR, are “based on detailed case reports submitted by the lead trial counsel in all cases in which a private neutral conducted an ADR process in Department litigation across the country.”

Also note that in 2011 nearly 75% of the voluntary ADR proceedings (cases in which the government and other parties agreed to ADR without being ordered by a court) were “resolved” (i.e., settled). About 50% of cases ordered into ADR, by contrast, were resolved – still a significant percentage but perhaps an indication of why voluntary ADR works so well.

This chart is pretty strong evidence of the cost-saving benefits of ADR.








Success Rates for ADR

Voluntary ADR Proceedings

73% Resolved

80% Resolved

78% Resolved

79% Resolved

69% Resolved

Court-Ordered Proceedings

53% Resolved

46% Resolved

42% Resolved

51% Resolved

50% Resolved

Cases in Which ADR Achieved Benefits




No Data

No Data

Quantified Benefits of ADR

Litigation or Discovery Expenses Saved






Days of Attorney/Staff Time Saved

14,656 Days

12,260 Days

5,829 Days

23,010 Days

2,797 Days

Months of Litigation Avoided

1,231 Months

930 Months

849 Months

661 Months

429 Months

DOJ Support ADR

Expenditures for Mediation Services






Number of Case Authorized for ADR Funding






Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Dispute Resolution