I appreciate the organisers of this workshop – International Chamber of Commerce Young Arbitrators Forum (ICC YAF) for the opportunity to speak at this workshop. I recognise every other speaker at this workshop and the amount of resource each speaker has offered at today’s workshop.
At the risk of rehashing what has already been said earlier on, permit me to re-introduce the workshop’s theme. The theme of this session is “Growing a budding ADR Practice”. However, the focus of my discussion is as it pertains to “The Role of Mentors and Sponsors in ADR Practice”. This is a very timely discussion as the practice of ADR is becoming a very viable and attractive practice area. This is seeing the influx of a lot of young practitioners into the ADR scene. Practitioners interested in making a successful practice require to have discussions such as the instant one and this avenue is very much appreciated.
What is ADR and ADR Practice?
I cannot effectively do justice to this topic without briefly touching on the meaning of ADR and ADR Practice. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a set of practices and techniques designed to facilitate the resolution of legal disputes outside the Courts system. It is a set of processes used in resolving disputes without the need to go to court. It can also be said to be a means of settling disputes by means other than litigation. It usually includes negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and a variety of other hybrid procedures involving a neutral party who facilitates the resolution of legal disputes without a formal adjudication, such as combining Mediation and Arbitration (Med-Arb). Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) may be preventive (negotiation, ADR clauses); facilitative (mediation); advisory (conciliation) or determinative (arbitration, Med-Arb, Arb-Med, and Adjudication).
The practice of Alternative Dispute Resolution indicates a person’s involvement in the facilitation of alternative means of resolving disputes. ADR practice connotes the giving of legal advice or of representation of another as an agent in an ADR process, or in the preparation of legal documents to be used in the procedure. ADR practice can also be said to extend to playing the role of facilitating a mediation as a mediator, performing in advisory function as a conciliator or acting as an unbiased umpire in determining the rights of the parties, although outside of the institution of the court.
As a lawyer, your role in ADR is diverse and therein presents the opportunities to grow a vibrant ADR practice. A lawyer may embrace the practice as a counsel or may play the role of resolving the dispute in some supervisory function. Either way, there appears to be an avenue to pursue a vibrant ADR practice.