8 Types of Alternative Dispute Resolution

8 Types of Alternative Dispute Resolution

Steven Schwartzapfel -Founding Partner Jul 26, 2022

For more than 35 years, Steven Schwartzapfel, the founding member of Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C., has been one of New York’s most prominent personal injury attorneys. Steve represents clients in all types of personal injury cases. His experience, skill, and dedication have enabled Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. to recover hundreds of millions of dollars for their clients.

When you have a legal grievance against another person, you may think your only option is a lawsuit. But lawsuits can be timely, expensive, and stressful for all involved, even if you are not at fault. Fortunately, the New York legal system allows for various forms of alternative dispute resolution to stand in for lawsuits when alternative forums are preferred. In fact, oftentimes these ADR methods can better serve your needs.

Below, we’ve broken down in detail (8) types of alternative dispute resolution. Additionally, you can ask any questions you may have and also receive a free case evaluation by contacting Schwartzapfel Lawyers today. Simply visit us online or call us directly at 1-800-966-4999!


Arbitration is the most common type of alternative dispute resolution. An arbitration meeting involves a neutral third party, called an arbitrator, who is ceded decision-making authority. The arbitrator hears the arguments and/or evidence from both sides of the dispute, then decides on a legally binding outcome.

The benefits of the arbitration process are many. Arbitration isn’t as formal as a trial, and rules of evidence are therefore more relaxed. Nevertheless, arbitration can result in decisions that are either binding or nonbinding. Note: Binding arbitration meetings require both parties to accept arbitrator decisions without the right to appeal, while nonbinding arbitration decisions allow either party to request a trial if they don’t approve of the final decision.


Mediation is another popular type of alternative dispute resolution. In mediation, another neutral third party called the mediator helps both disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable resolution.

The key difference between arbitration and mediation is that a mediator doesn’t decide the case. The mediator instead acts as a facilitator, helping both disputing parties come to a collaborative settlement themselves.

Mediation is a useful form of ADR in many cases, such as:

  • Interfamily conflicts when two family members have a legal dispute
  • Minor legal disputes, such as neighborhood disputes
  • Business disputes in which both business partners want to continue doing business but cannot overcome one legal hurdle

However, the mediation process is not suitable for all cases. For instance, in circumstances where one party has much more power or control over the other, another means of legal resolution might be needed.

For more on mediation and/or other means of alternative dispute resolution, call Schwartzapfel Lawyers now at 1-800-966-4999. In turn, you will be offered a free consultation that may save you miles of headache, heartache, and financial strain down the road.

Collaborative Law

Collaborative law is a problem-solving process utilized for divorcing parties and family restructuring. It allows the divorcing partners in a couple to end their marriage and/or restructure a family without the stress and potential cost of litigation. Thus, it is used for divorce or child support cases almost exclusively.

Collaborative law requires (3) things to be successful:

  • A binding pledge by both parties not to litigate their disputes through their regular court system.
  • A good faith, prompt, honest, and voluntary exchange of any relevant information without requiring legal teams to go through formal discovery. In other words, both parties in the divorcing couple have to be honest and upfront about evidence.
  • A commitment to work for solutions that take into account priorities between both parties and any children.

Note that every lawyer in a collaborative law case has a duty to represent their client without considering the other party. That said, the collaborative law process can be very useful for amicable divorces, which are sometimes called undisputed divorces. It saves divorcing couples time and can serve children better emotionally.

Neutral Evaluation

Neutral evaluation (or “early neutral evaluation”) processes call upon neutral third parties with certain subject matter expertise to advise on a legal dispute. The subject matter expert then hears arguments between both sides in the legal dispute and reviews the strengths and weaknesses of both cases.

In the end, the neutral party offers a projected outcome of court processes. For example, they may project how much money and time a full lawsuit will take and offer this information to both parties. The purpose of a neutral evaluation is to promote an out-of-court settlement. In addition, neutral evaluators can offer case planning guidance and other settlement assistance with both parties’ agreement.

Neutral evaluations are most useful for business disputes or other legal issues in which subject matter expertise is required and in which both parties wish to avoid going through a lawsuit.

To learn more now, contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers and speak with one of our lead ADR attorneys at no charge. Simply dial 1-800-966-4999 and allow us the honor and privilege of assisting you with your case, answering any questions you may have, and fighting for you every inch of the way.

Parenting Coordination

Parenting coordination, or PC alternative dispute resolution, is explicitly child-focused. In a nutshell, a trained and experienced legal professional called a parent coordinator helps parents carry out a parenting plan. This type of ADR is usually recommended for high-conflict parents or former partners who cannot get along or agree.

It requires the prior approval of the court and both parties. The parenting coordinator then helps the parents make decisions within their appointment contract or court order. For instance, they may help one parent learn how to navigate child support obligations in the aftermath of a court order or assist another parent in following a child-support payment plan.

Parent coordination aims to expedite and streamline conflict resolution regarding children in a divorced partnership. It helps to promote healthy, safe parent-child relationships as well.

Restorative Justice

Restorative justice is an ADR process intended to address a dispute or incident of harm without bringing the legal system into the mix. Generally, the criminal legal system emphasizes punishing at-fault parties by way of fines, imprisonment, and/or other punitive measures.

In contrast, restorative justice emphasizes meeting the needs of victims or those aggrieved. It also allows at-fault parties to take action and accountability as they attempt to remedy their damages.

Restorative justice can be used as a referral means of ADR from courts, especially where juveniles are involved. It can also be used in schools to reduce harmful incidents or promote a positive school culture.

Settlement Conferencing

Settlement conferencing is an ADR process that technically takes place within the usual judicial system. In a nutshell, a judge or one of their representatives meets with both parties in a dispute as well as their attorneys. Next, the judge or representative tries to settle some or all of the outstanding issues through dispute negotiation before a trial takes place.

Settlement conferences are typically utilized in cases where there are many different issues at hand. The goal is to limit the necessity of a trial or to narrow the issues in dispute so that focused resolutions may be achieved.

Call Schwartzapfel Lawyers now at 1-800-966-4999 and take advantage of our free consultation offer. In one phone call, we’ll answer your questions and lay out viable legal options to protect you and your loved ones, as well as your financial future.

Summary Jury Trials

Summary jury trials (SJTs) are adversarial dispute resolution processes. In summary jury trials, both sides in a dispute present their cases in shortened, streamlined formats to juries. A jury for a summary trial case then makes a decision.

However, the jury decision is only advisory. In other words, the parties do not need to take it as legally binding (although they have the option to do so if they both find it agreeable). The summary jury trial allows parties in a dispute to see what a potential verdict might be if they were to proceed to a regular trial. In turn, this can cause two disputing parties to reach a resolution more quickly.

Note: Summary jury trials are only available in certain New York jurisdictions, not all.

Why Pursue Alternative Dispute Resolution?

Alternative dispute resolution can be very beneficial for quarreling parties. It often allows:

  • Two disputing parties to reach an agreement more quickly
  • Disputing parties or couples to save money and time by avoiding the need to go to trial
  • A more emotionally and mentally satisfying resolution compared to the adversarial nature of the lawsuit process

In many cases, alternative dispute resolution helps parties reach agreements without having to go to full trial. This is more cost-effective and in many cases prevents emotional damage to the parties involved (children particularly).

For example, a disputing couple seeking a fast divorce cannot reach an agreement no matter how much they discuss their issues. Rather than going through court proceedings and airing grievances in public, an alternative dispute resolution can help the couple reach a mutually beneficial agreement and go their separate ways, all while saving time and money.

Legal professionals can assist with alternative dispute resolution. Schwarzapfel Lawyers has years of experience successfully handling arbitration, mediation, and other ADR processes. Contact us today for more information online or at 1-800-966-4999.

Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers Today

As you can see, many types of alternative dispute resolution can be used to resolve your legal issues. If you need help choosing the right ADR method for your case, or if you want to know more about ADR in general, Schwartzapfel Lawyers can help.

As experienced New York attorneys, we’ve helped individuals just like you reach alternative means of legal resolution to avoid the time-intensive and costly trial process. We can assist with personal injury cases, worker’s compensation disputes, and so much more. Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers today at 1-800-966-4999 for a free case evaluation.

But you shouldn’t wait, as your window to reach a just legal conclusion may soon close forever. Instead, act now and recover the damages you are entitled to by having Schwartzapfel Lawyers fight – and win – for you!



Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. | Fighting For You

Alternative Dispute Resolution | Wex | US Law

Alternative Dispute Resolution | For the Public | NYC Bar

Summary Jury Trial Project | NYCOURTS.GOV

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