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Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee

Goals:

To promote the use of alternative dispute resolution ("ADR") procedures (mediation, arbitration, neutral evaluation) to resolve legal disputes in the commercial, employment, corporate, real estate, bankruptcy, business, and domestic relations contexts;

To educate and assist members of the Bar in the use of advocacy techniques appropriate to ADR processes through continuing legal education programs;

To assist members of the Bar and of the public in the selection of qualified neutrals to serve as mediators, arbitrators, or neutral evaluators by maintaining a roster of neutrals serving the Westchester community.

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

ADR refers to any of the processes designed to help parties resolve disputes without expensive, time-consuming, and often frustrating, litigation. ADR has gained recognition throughout the Country and internationally as an effective, efficient, and ethical process which can help parties avoid and resolve disputes without continued litigation, and can provide remedies and benefits that are not available through formal court proceedings alone. Such processes include:

Mediation - in a confidential setting, a third party neutral facilitates negotiation between adverse parties with the objective of reaching an agreement that resolves the dispute, thereby avoiding or settling litigation.

Arbitration – a third party neutral, retained pursuant to an agreement to arbitrate, conducts an evidentiary hearing and renders a binding and final decision or award as to the appropriate resolution of the matter.

Neutral Evaluation – a third party neutral receives presentations from all parties in a dispute and renders a non-binding opinion as to the strengths and weaknesses of the parties' positions with the objective of assisting in the settlement of the matter.

Here’s what lawyers who litigate in Westchester have to say about mediation

On October 18, 2007, New York State Mediation Settlement Day, mediators in Westchester took to the Courthouse and spoke to judges, lawyers, jurors and court employees about mediation. While some knew little about mediation, some were enthusiastic proponents, and some were skeptical. Here’s what they had to say when asked, “What do you think about mediation?”

“It works when both parties cooperate.”
“I don’t like mediation . . . it’s just another level to get through before you get to a settlement or decision.”
“I think it is a good tool a lot of time . . . but good attorneys can usually do it themselves.”
“Cases drag on and on . . . once the emotional piece gets expiated, it’s a good time to mediate.”
“Every day should be Mediation Settlement Day.”
“If people would just sit down, look each other in the eye, and just stop . . . everybody has to walk away from the case a little unhappy, but at least it will be over.”
“Why aren’t judges making more referrals to mediation? . . . judges can’t take the time to do what mediators can do.”
“It is a good option to consider at the onset of a case before battling it out in court.”
“It works!”

For more information about mediation programs in Westchester County, please consult the contacts listed below, or the WCBA ADR Committee co-chairs, Ruth Raisfeld, rdradr@optonline.net or Andrew Schriever, aschriever@cuddyfeder.com

Westchester County Supreme Court; Commercial Division
http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/comdiv/westchester.shtml
The court offers a mediation program for commercial cases. Selected cases are referred to mediation as soon as possible after they have been commenced or at any other time deemed appropriate by the Judge. All mediators on the court's roster completed a court-sponsored, 16-hour mediation training.

Supreme Court Matrimonial Mediation Programs
Westchester County Supreme Court:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/courts/9jd/Westchester/WhitePlains.shtml 
The program offers mediation services for matrimonial cases. Selected cases are referred to mediation after a preliminary conference or at any other time deemed appropriate by the Judge. Volunteer attorneys who have completed a 32-hour mediation training sponsored by the court serve on the court's roster of mediators.

ADR in the Family Courts
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/ip/adr/court_annexed.shtml#familycourt
The New York State Unified Court System recognizes that litigants bring to Family Courts many matters that might be resolved by the parties themselves with the assistance of a mediator. Throughout the state, Family Courts refer litigants to Community Dispute Resolution Centers (CDRCs) and other agencies to obtain this assistance.

Westchester Community Mediation Center (family, landlord-tenant, consumer)
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/ip/adr/ProgramList.shtml#Westchester
 

CLUSTER
20 South Broadway, Suite 501
Box 1248 Yonkers, NY 10702
(914) 963-6500
Attorneys Fee Dispute Resolution Program
Westchester County Courthouse
111 Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard
White Plains, New York  10601
(914) 824-5100

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