A Research Agenda

What We Need to Know About Court-Connected ADR

by Deborah R. Hensler

Although practitioners of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) have long emphasized the benefits of substituting problem-solving processes for adjudication, empirical studies indicate that ADR may not save litigation costs or time. Litigants may prefer ADR because they believe that it saves them money they would have had to spend if they went to trial; they may prefer mediation because of its process of conciliatory problem-solving or because they feel they it gives them their due as citizens. Lawyers may prefer mediation either for lawyerly reasons or because it brings a third person into the task of informing the client of a less-than-fully-satisfactory outcome. Measuring and understanding litigants' and lawyers' preferences for different forms of dispute resolution will require diverse research techniques and many studies. New research may indicate that the spread of ADR has more to do with the economics of legal practice than the ideology of transformation. Producing quantitative changes in legal dispute resolution may require more money, not less.

Originally published in: Dispute Resolution Magazine, v. 6, no. 1, Fall 1999, pp. 15-17.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.