ADR, the acronym that identifies the alternative dispute resolution movement, derives its current popularity from widespread dissatisfaction with the present system of justice. Thus, ADR both proposes and promotes "alternative" ways of dealing with disputes which would otherwise be the subject of litigation. In truth, there is nothing very new about the criticism directed at the legal profession, the courts, and the adjudicatory systems in general. The alternatives which have been suggested over the years are very similar. All of the alternatives lie along an axis which starts with efforts to bring about voluntary agreement by the parties and ends, where agreement is unobtainable, with some form of adjudication. In any event, my intention in these remarks is to address four questions: (1) Why is our present system of justice unpopular? (2) What alternatives are there which seem to hold promise? (3) What are we to conclude about the respective merits of the court system versus alternative methods of dispute resolution? and (4) What should law schools be doing about all of this?
Robben W. Fleming, Reflections on the ADR Movement, 34 Clev. St. L. Rev. 519 (1985-1986)