In any organization, disputes will arise that require resolution through a formal proceeding, traditionally within the court system. However, the court system can be extremely costly and time consuming, which may help explain why a study of Fortune 1000 companies showed that more than 23% used alternative dispute resolution (ADR) for non-union dispute resolution. A study by the Institute for Civil Justice of the Rand Corporation found that arbitration resulted in a cost savings of 20%.
The enforceability of arbitration agreements has been one of the more actively litigated issues in recent years at the trial and appellate court levels. Littler attorneys have argued for the enforcement of their clients’ agreements at each of these levels, including successfully before the United States Supreme Court. Nonetheless, there are many things to consider before implementing an ADR program. Littler’s ADR practice group attorneys work with their clients to determine whether an ADR policy makes sense and, if so, to draft agreements that meet the client’s objectives and can be enforced in a court of law.
One of the hottest issues in ADR law is whether an arbitration agreement can be drafted to require individual arbitration only and prevent class actions. Littler attorneys can help their clients address this and a myriad of other issues. Likewise, what claims must be excluded from arbitration under an expanding array of federal laws and rulings can be just as important in drafting an enforceable arbitration agreement than the consideration of what claims a client wants to include.
A company’s locations can also help determine whether to implement an arbitration policy and what it may provide. What works in Texas may not work in California. Littler attorneys can advise their clients about changes and nuances in the law that will help the clients develop workable solutions. We have developed templates covering near any issue that likely could arise when drafting an agreement to arbitrate. Littler attorneys stay current with legal developments at the state and federal level and thus can advise their clients accordingly.
Likewise, how an ADR agreement is disseminated, and whether state-based rules governing contract formation and consideration create potential problems to implementation, are issues that require careful analysis. Littler has developed 50-State surveys that can efficiently be tapped into to get clients the information they need. Littler attorneys know the challenges and rewards of ADR policies. They work with clients to help them decide what’s best.