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The Florida ADR Team

The Florida ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) Team was founded in 2011 at the University of Florida Levin College of Law and is now a co-curricular organization dedicated to improving students’ practical skills in negotiation.

Since it’s inception in April of 2011, the Florida ADR Team has held tryouts, gained co-curricular status and established rigorous training schedules for our competitions. We look forward to continuing our success at competitions meanwhile providing students with the practical skills needed for the modern practice of law.

What is ADR?

Alternative Dispute Resolution consists of the many formal processes for resolving disputes prior to trial. The most widely used methods include mediation (where a neutral third person helps facilitate an agreement between the parties) and arbitration (where a neutral third person hears both sides of a dispute, then issues a decision). Other methods include the mediation-arbitration approach (where mediation is tried first and then a fall back arbitration arrangement is set in case of impasse), neutral fact finding (a useful format for highly technical or conflicts of interests cases, where a single third party investigates and issues a report on their findings), and the mini-trial (where parties present their cases in front of a panel of experts who issue an opinion on the merits of each side).

The appeal of ADR, especially today, is that it promotes confidential, faster, and less costly settlements. If the parties cooperate, disputes may be settled in a matter of days or weeks through ADR, as opposed to spending months or years in litigation. ADR statistics show that parties playing an active role in crafting the resolution process or the resolution itself are more apt to abide by the resulting decision or settlement, which lessens the burden on the court to deal with appeals and enforcement problems.

The Growing Importance of ADR in Florida

Alternative Dispute Resolution has been utilized by the Florida Court System to resolve disputes for over 25 years. Over the years, it has grown in popularity, and Florida has incorporated a number of ADR programs into its court system. Under current Florida law, judges in civil lawsuits have the power to require that parties try to resolve their dispute through mediation or non-binding arbitration before reaching trial.

Recognizing the growing presence of ADR in the practice of law and the importance of these skills to upcoming lawyers, UF Professors are currently working to establish an ADR Certificate Program to go along with the prestigious Criminal Justice, Environmental & Land Use Law, Estates & Trusts, Family Law, Intellectual Property Law, and International & Comparative Law Certificate Programs already offered at the Law College. The Florida ADR Team is an extension of our nationally ranked ADR program, proud to represent our school in ABA competitions nationwide.

For more information contact Nicholas Alberto at nickalberto@ufl.edu

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