As a law student, you likely understand that there are certain basic skills you should develop to distinguish yourself from the competition when seeking potential jobs in the future. Examples of such skills include public speaking and legal research skills.
To further improve your chances of securing a position at a firm, you might also consider taking classes on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). This overview will cover the benefits of learning more about ADR.
What You Need to Know About ADR
ADR can take many forms depending on the circumstances. In general, ADR refers to the process of working with a neutral party to come to an agreement in a manner that eliminates the need for litigation. Although it may seem to be a relatively specialized skill, attorneys who took ADR classes in law school have reported that mediation skills are actually much more useful than anticipated in their work.
This is partially due to the way ADR helps parties involved in disputes save money. Mediation generally costs less than litigation. As such, individuals and groups often prefer to work with attorneys who have ADR skills. This approach may be less expensive than other means of addressing disputes.
What Are the Benefits of ADR?
Saving money is not the only reason ADR is often preferable to litigation. Other common benefits of ADR include the following:
Parties who enlist the help of attorneys with ADR skills are often striving to achieve mutual gains. Reaching an agreement where everyone feels like they received some benefit from the outcome can be difficult.
That’s one of the reasons attorneys with ADR skills can be in high demand. Being able to help multiple parties arrive at resolutions that satisfy everyone involved is a unique talent. Such a talent can help a lawyer make a strong impression on both potential clients and potential employers.
It’s not uncommon for parties to opt for ADR over litigation when they have existing business relationships. Ideally, an attorney can help them resolve their disputes in a way that doesn’t harm said relationships.
This point highlights one of the skills you should cultivate if you choose to take ADR classes or pursue ADR jobs. ADR is unique because it doesn’t involve representing one party in a dispute. Instead, it involves serving as a “go-between” who can help two parties come to a mutually satisfactory agreement. Remember, your goal when accepting ADR jobs is to maintain your neutrality.
Addressing Employment and Labor Law Issues
You may be particularly drawn to ADR classes if you aspire to work in the fields of employment and labor law. Again, a familiarity with ADR is often beneficial in situations when it may be important to preserve relationships between business partners.
Naturally, that means it can also be beneficial in disputes involving employees and employers. Workers deserve to know their rights are being protected without worrying that taking legal action may jeopardize their employment. A worker may feel more comfortable when an ADR expert is helping them work collaboratively with their employer to resolve their disputes.
However, this is not meant to suggest that ADR is a tactic exclusively reserved for employment and labor law cases. ADR skills can potentially be useful in a wide range of scenarios.
For example, ADR specialists are sometimes involved in juvenile felony cases. An ADR expert can help when a juvenile commits a crime for which there must be consequences, while also ensuring that those consequences are not excessively severe given the perpetrator’s age.
It’s worth noting that a number of states throughout the nation have begun experimenting with ADR programs in recent years. As a way to minimize court costs, states sometimes recommend ADR programs before litigation.
This indicates jobs for attorneys with ADR skills may be even more widely available than they already are in the near future. A law student can therefore boost their odds of landing a valued position soon after graduating by taking classes related to ADR. Consider this when choosing which classes to enroll in throughout your time in law school.