Jun, 2021 · 5 min read
Managing Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) cases is a complex task. ADR case management has a unique set of challenges that today's practice management systems do not support. These challenges include managing 3rd party Neutrals, handling cases with multiple dispute parties, organizing and scheduling resolution sessions, and 3rd party and split billing. In addition, there is the added complexity of Neutrals playing multiple roles (i.e., lawyers, mediators, and arbitrators) depending on the case and their expertise. As a result, organizations providing ADR services have turned to a hodgepodge of alternative approaches for managing their ADR caseload including CRM products, practice management systems using workarounds, home grown applications, and spreadsheets.
Let us take a closer look at some of these unique needs and requirements:
Booking ADR cases: Coordinating with dispute parties, clients and Neutrals is a challenge. Case managers and assistants must coordinate between all parties including everything from neutral identification and selection through scheduling and signed agreements.
Accounts receivables: Tracking filing and other fees, bookings, expenses, time and cancellations across multiple parties presents another set of requirements. Invoices are often split in ADR cases and may be part of an award for an arbitration case. Effectively tracking and collecting both upfront payments and accrued invoices is a necessity that can save the neutral and support staff significant time and improve cash flow.
Multiple Neutrals: Many ADR cases require multiple Neutrals. In addition, these Neutrals have their own unique approach and way of working. This tends to present increased complexity for case managers such as organizing dispute parties and a panel of Neutrals, providing access to case information and documents, and providing a single place for all Neutrals to record time and expenses.
Administration: Many Neutrals use the services of administrators. These administrators coordinate and support a large group of independent Neutrals. They manage bookings, scheduling, and invoicing of the ADR cases. They handle billing and collection activities for the Neutrals time and are responsible for paying the Neutrals for work performed. This results in a separate and distinct set of administrative fees to be included in the invoices to cover their services. This also places additional requirements on the billing and invoicing process to allow for the administrator to manage accounts receivables both for the Neutrals and for their service fees.
Document and Case management: Sharing documents and case information across Neutrals and multiple dispute parties is difficult. Having access to the most accurate case information at the same time as the other Neutrals and/or other parties (but limited based on role in the case) is a necessity. Sharing large PDFs, video files or even standard Word Attachments using email is far from ideal. Having a shared secure, internet accessible document folder gives you the ability to upload and share data between parties or Neutrals without the limitations.
As indicated above most Neutrals or ADR groups are using several sub-optimum solutions for managing their cases. There is no one perfect solution for an ADR group but limiting the platforms used can increase effectiveness by allowing for a smoother, more effective case workflow with faster billing and payments. Caseroads addresses many of the limitations and workarounds that traditional practice management solutions impose enabling ADR groups to improve client satisfaction and their bottom line.