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Bench & Bar of Minnesota




Not so long ago, "ADR" was just one more term in a legal jargon already filled with too many acronyms. While we concede that "ADR" might not rival "CPR" as a vital necessity, its use is extremely important to the practice of law today. Since the promulgation of Rule 114 of the Minnesota General Rules of Practice, nearly 80 percent of Minnesota attorneys report that they are using ADR to help resolve their civil cases filed in state trial courts.' Their reasons? ADR processes can cut litigation costs, reduce clients' expenses, save attorneys' and clients' time, and generate earlier settlements. National research also consistently shows that ADR increases clients' satisfaction with the resolution of their cases.

But most attorneys think of ADR only in relatively standard, two-party cases. It probably would surprise many attorneys that ADR also is being used to help settle huge, complicated class actions or mass torts. One dramatic - and instructive - example of this use of ADR has occurred in the federal court in Minnesota. In this article, we will describe this use of ADR - and share a few of the lessons learned in this experience.

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Minnesota Bar Association

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