Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is the general term for a variety of ways to resolve legal conflict out-of-court. ADR can involve one – or sometimes more ADR processes:


ADR participants resolve their conflicts in an office setting, instead of a public courthouse. The ADR process is private, efficient, neutral, and fair. Participants choose their location and schedule sessions at their convenience.

Mirick O’Connell has offered ADR services for more than 20 years. The Superior Court and Probate and Family Courts of the Commonwealth and the federal court have appointed Mirick O’Connell lawyers to resolve or recommend solutions in a wide variety of disputes including business, internal governance, commercial, financial, personal injury, construction, bankruptcy, employment, discovery, probate and custody. All of our ADR lawyers are experienced trial lawyers with specialized ADR training to complement their trial skills and legal expertise. Our Private Client, Business Litigation, Personal Injury, Probate Litigation, Family Law, and Employment and Labor and Bankruptcy Groups all offer specialized neutral services.

Mediation is a voluntary ADR process in which a neutral who has been trained in effective communication and creative problem solving assists the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable resolution of the parties’ conflict. Mediation by a trained mediator is entirely confidential. Mediation is especially suitable to diffuse emotions and resolve potentially volatile disputes in a calm and private environment. Mediation also permits the parties to arrive at creative solutions to their disputes that would otherwise not be possible in contested litigation.

Case Evaluation is a confidential ADR process in which a trial lawyer experienced in the particular issues to be resolved advises one party on the likely case result if the case is tried. Case Evaluation provides neutral assessment of a range of settlement options. It offers a party the unbiased reality check that may be necessary to reach settlement.

A Special Master resolves discrete disputed matters during litigation. A Special Master is court-appointed, usually at the parties’ request. He or she efficiently resolves preliminary issues that may require expertise or attention otherwise not available to the court, such as examination of voluminous documents. Special Masters offer timeliness, productivity, and expertise.

Arbitration is a private trial. In arbitration, the parties select a decision maker based on her or his known expertise, experience and temperament. The parties may also select a panel of decision makers, especially if the dispute involves one or more fields of unique expertise, such as law and engineering in a construction matter. The parties control the process entirely, setting their arbitration rules by agreement. They generally waive rights of appeal, knowing that, with few exceptions for bias or for other impropriety, their dispute will end with the arbitration award. Like all other forms of ADR, except Special Master appointments, the arbitration process is confidential. Results may be entered as a judgment or court order and are enforceable to the same extent as judicial orders and judgments entered after trial or public hearing.

To learn more about Mirick O’Connell’s ADR professionals and services, contact us at
508-791-8500 or Our ADR Coordinator will arrange a telephone or in-person consultation with an attorney appropriate for your matter.

Mirick O’Connell offers ADR consultation in Worcester, Westborough, and our Boston, Massachusetts offices and in other locations by agreement of the parties.



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