Committing to Settlement Work: Dropping the "A" from ADR

  • January 13, 2022
  • Ryan Osbourne

A lot of lawyers tell me they want to litigate less or drop it completely and focus on settlement work. They understandably feel they cannot do so without risking their livelihood.

Since I left the civil litigation world behind to start a settlement-only family law practice, a few questions have gnawed at me:

  • If just about every dispute settles before trial or without the issuance of pleadings – why are mediation, negotiation, collaborative law, and the like still considered alternative?
  • If problem solving, communication, consensus building, and understanding interests are essential to negotiating an agreement and containing costs – then why are these skills considered “soft” and not widely taught or prioritized?