ADR stands for Alternative Dispute Resolution. That is: a private alternative to civil litigation and public court battles. It also stands for the notion of Appropriate Dispute Resolution. Often times a more appropriate, efficient, effective and affordable alternative to civil litigation can be achieved through the use of ADR. Lawyers and judges know this. Many businesses and individuals do also, which is why over 95% of cases filed in state and federal courts are ultimately settled prior to trial through negotiation or utilizing a form of ADR. The two most prevalent forms of ADR in the United States are mediation and arbitration.
Mediation is a process of assisted negotiation and private dispute resolution (ADR) where a neutral third-party (mediator) is hired to assist parties in resolving a conflict. The mediator is not able to make a decision for the parties, and has no ability to force a settlement, but is able to assist them in working through a dispute and ultimately arriving as a legally binding resolution.
Some mediations require only a few hours of time to be resolved and other cases take a day or longer. Some cases benefit from having all of the parties in the same room together and other cases warrant separate caucuses in order to be resolved. It is up to the parties. In private sessions, the mediator discusses the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s case, explores potential outcomes and offers feedback on a party’s position. Anything discussed with the mediator privately is not relayed to the opposing side without permission. All types of civil cases and issues can be mediated, and common cases include consumer, employment, commercial, neighbor, family, contract, partnership and business dissolution.
Patrick Burns is an experienced mediator and advocate for clients in mediation. He founded a business called ValueSolve ADR in 2010 based on his belief – and that of many judges and lawyers – that mediation costs and processes were getting out of control.
Patrick is one of only three mediators in Minnesota to be certified by the International Mediation Institute (IMI). He also serves as a mediator with the American Arbitration Association (AAA), ValueSolve, Resolute Systems, the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights and Hennepin County District Court. Patrick is a past chair of the Minnesota State Bar Association’s 400 member ADR Section. He has received advanced training in ADR through the Pepperdine School of Law Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution in California. The Straus Institute is considered the premier training ground for ADR professionals in the country.
Arbitration is a process of private dispute resolution (ADR) where a neutral third-party (arbitrator) is hired to assist parties in resolving a conflict. In arbitration, the arbitrator selected by the parties is hired to make a decision and that decision is generally binding and enforceable in court just like a jury or court verdict. Essentially, an arbitrator is a private judge and the arbitration process is similar to a streamlined bench trial. Parties present their case to a single arbitrator or panel of three arbitrators. Parties may introduce written documentation such as expert reports, medical records, witness statements, etc… in lieu of live testimony. Hearings generally take place in a conference room, but some arbitrations are conducted telephonically or via document submissions only. The relaxation of the civil rules of evidence and setting generally make the arbitration process more informal, cost-effective and efficient than court. After hearing the parties’ arguments and the presentation of the evidence, the arbitrator(s) render a decision. Arbitration awards are enforced in the same manner that a civil court judgment is enforceable. The finality of a binding arbitration award makes this an attractive option to parties who want a final resolution of their dispute.
Many consumer, employment and business contracts contain clauses that require the parties to resolve any differences through arbitration instead of in court.
Patrick Burns is an experienced arbitrator and he also appears as an advocate for clients in arbitration. Patrick is a past chair of the Minnesota State Bar Association’s 400 member ADR Section and Chair of the Hennepin County Fee Arbitration Committee. He serves on the ValueSolve, American Arbitration Association (AAA) and National Center for Dispute Settlement (NCDS) panels of arbitrators. Patrick spent three years as an executive with the American Arbitration Association in Minneapolis before returning to private practice.
He has received advanced training in ADR through the Pepperdine School of Law Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution in California. The Straus Institute is considered the premier training ground for ADR professionals in the country.
An ombudsman serves as a neutral, confidential and informal resource for employees by telephone or in-person at a location that is private and external to an employer’s place of business. Benefits of an organizational ombudsman include offering employees a safe place to inquire about and air their complaints or explore various available options, resolving issues at their lowest level – and often before a dispute even arises.
Organizations that use an ombudsman frequently report increases in employee morale, retention and productivity. Protection of brand and decreased operational and litigation costs are also by products of successful ombuds programs.
Patrick Burns is available to consult with or serve as a consulting ombudsman for corporations, universities and businesses. He is a member of the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) and adheres to their Code of Ethics, Standards of Practice and Best Practices.
Patrick received training in the ombuds field through the Pepperdine School of Law Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution in California. The Straus Institute is considered the premier training ground for ADR professionals in the country.
Patrick is available for in-house trainings at law firms, small businesses and large companies in the areas of mediation and arbitration processes, contractual clause drafting and ADR advocacy. These programs usually satisfy professional continuing education requirements. Arrangements are made in advance to ensure the programs are tailored to a particular audience and satisfy any particular industry or professional requirements.
Patrick has trained thousands of lawyers, business people, law students and ADR neutrals on various legal and ADR topics in the past 10 years. Click here for Patrick’s full bio.
While serving as an executive with the American Arbitration Association, Patrick regularly presented at trainings and seminars, trained AAA arbitrators and mediators, and consulted with ADR neutrals and advocates daily. He teaches ADR as an adjunct professor of law and is a regular lecturer and guest speaker at local law schools. He has also volunteered as a vice chair of the Minnesota State Bar Association’s ADR Section for the past five years. With over 400 members, the ADR Section is dedicated to education of lawyers and non-lawyers about ADR topics. Patrick was the chair of the MSBA ADR Section in 2011 and 2012.