Online ADR for attorneys is a unique opportunity to handle cases that otherwise would not be practical or cost-effective to take on in a traditional, “brick and mortar” way. Litigation and traditional ADR can be time-consuming and expensive. This in turn limits an attorney’s ability to accept new cases. This is particularly true when the claim involves a small dollar figure (under $50,000). Online ADR eliminates many of these disadvantages, allowing firms to represent these clients, which is good for lawyers and clients.
Advantages of Online ADR for Attorneys
From a law firm’s perspective, online ADR changes the economics of smaller cases.
- Reduced time and cost.Representing clients with smaller claims is often difficult financially in litigation or traditional ADR. Clients don’t want to pay an hourly fee because the cost could be too high. On the other hand, the operating cost structure of a typical firm makes it cost-prohibitive for a firm to handle the work on a contingency fee. Too many resources must be utilized for a small return. However, with online ADR, those concerns are lessened.
Online ADR only takes a fraction of the time to resolve disputes that is needed for litigation or traditional ADR. Simplified rules of evidence and discovery, set time limitations, online hearings and restrictions on appeals means less time spent to resolve a dispute. This translates into reduced legal fees so clients are more likely to decide to pursue these claims. Law firms don’t not need to devote as many resources and the work becomes more cost-effective.
- Convenience and efficiency. Online ADR makes it easier to manage cases in many ways. Software which runs the online platform guides participants through the process with timely reminders of all events and tasks needing attention. Attorneys can instantly monitor the status of all of their arbitrations/mediations with a quick glance. They can upload evidence from virtually any desktop or mobile device to a cloud-based service to preserve e-mails, voicemails, photographs, witness statements, reports, video and audio recordings, etc.
In addition, the ability to conduct hearings online means it is easier to arrange testimony of necessary witnesses, including eliminating some of the legal challenges to obtaining non-party witness testimony for an out of town hearing.
- Increased caseload.Once taking on smaller claims becomes more economical, firms can expand the number and types of cases they handle. In addition, online ADR opens up the possibility for a firm to expand their practice nationally. In many jurisdictions, an online appearance does not constitute an appearance in any given state. That means that an attorney can represent a client in an online ADR matter anywhere in the country, regardless of whether the lawyer is licensed in a particular state. As online ADR expands, state bars may start regulating online appearances, so attorneys should check with the rules of their state.
As previously discussed, online ADR also provides many advantages in terms of flexibility, control, simplified rules and arbitrator expertise, which all benefit attorneys.
A Better Way
Online ADR provides additional benefits. By offering law firms a way to feasibly represent more clients with valid claims, online ADR serves an important societal interest in helping parties seek justice and resolve disputes out of court.
To learn more about the benefits of online ADR for attorneys, contactARS.