A View of ADR as Part of the Process Instead of an Alternative to the Process

In law school I had the impression that Alternative Dispute Resolution was a practice area separate from litigation. Seemingly, there was a Chinese wall between the trial advocacy classes and ADR classes. After all, my ADR classes never discussed the techniques for cross-examinations, and my trial advocacy classes never discussed mediation or arbitration strategies.

The ABA Young Lawyer Division’s latest newsletter perpetuates that myth in an article entitled “Top Ten Mistakes Litigators Make in Arbitration.” Certainly, the article gives good advice in telling us what to avoid — serving excessive document requests, using delay tactics, not cooperating, not being prepared, introducing redundant testimony, and filing untimely submissions. However, that advice is equally applicable to litigation as it is to arbitration.

In my experience, the differences between litigation and arbitration are cosmetic. 

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In Too Deep?


b9df7f5b8b1280964519cb1f0cd53f13Thank you, Professor O’Hear and Professor Slavin for inviting me to share my comments with the Marquette University Law School community. 

On my first day of law school, former Marquette Professor Eric Goldman informed our orientation group that, much to his own dismay, the practice of law is nothing like it is portrayed on television.  “What?”  I thought, “You mean cases can’t be tried start to finish in one hour?”  

Although I never truly expected that practicing law would resemble the television shows, I realized that there was value to be gained by watching these shows.  Not only do they offer a bit of light-hearted entertainment, but also an opportunity to test those years of legal education. 

One of the most recent newcomers to legal television is ABC’s new dramedy, “The Deep End.”  In “The Deep End,” five new associates join L.A.’s most prestigious law firm—Sterling, Huddle, Oppenheim, & Craft.  As the show’s title would imply, these associates are immediately thrown into the deep end.   I can appreciate that filming document reviews and the preparation of written discovery would not make for entertaining television.  I also understand that filming legal research in a law library filled with Pacific Reporters is better cinema photography than filming.  Thus, within their first week of practice, the legal neophytes are handling motion hearings, taking depositions, meeting with the firm’s major clients, and of course, groping each other, their support staff, and their clients. 

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