The Longer, Broader View of ADR: Small Changes Can Make a Large Difference

A theme, not too subtle, throughout a number of my blogposts has been that ADR is not a limited service to be used only after a lawsuit is filed or threatened. Early intervention to improve work relationships and management is recognized and used in some quarters. I along with some colleagues have pushed for it in healthcare as therapeutic, cost cuttting, and as a means to preserve human resources. Some large corporations have built concepts into their in-house General Counsel offices with reported success.

ADR law professor, system designer, and thought leader, Nancy Hardin Rogers of Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law (and former Ohio Attorney General), recently shared some of her vast knowledge and fresh ideas in the American Bar Association's Fall 2016 Dispute Resolution Magazine. In an interview there, she recalls the early years of ADR, fighting for its recognition and use by the legal profession. Now that ADR is increasingly used by lawyers, she focuses her work on broadening its application in community to vexing problems in the public and private sectors. She uses past experiences to underline her point that "...I still believe that even minor process changes can lead to major improvements in people's lives." (at page 22). Practical and hopeful, Ms. Rogers' leadership challenge makes a person want to roll up sleeves and get to it - now!   

Jeanne Franklin