Integrated Dispute Resolution

Integrated Dispute Resolution4 (“IDR4™”) is an efficiently designed approach to dispute resolution in which the parties work together with the assistance and advice of counsel and, if necessary, utilize neutral facilitators and experts as required by their specific circumstances and situation, to achieve the best resolution possible.

IDR4 is the core philosophy of Dispute Resolution Counsel, LLC, and our unique approach to resolving disputes. Its essence is the idea that the parties, working together and assisted by their lawyers, can and will design the approach for resolving their dispute so that the process fits their situation and circumstances and develop the options for resolution and control the decision-making and final settlement.

It reflects a dispute resolution paradigm centered on the “sovereignty of the client”. IDR4 is premised on the commitment by parties, lawyers and professionals involved in the dispute to utilize a non-adversarial, problem-solving dispute resolution process first, with a goal of settlement by intention and design. It is based in part on the concept of interest-based or principled negotiation.

IDR4 is completely client-centered, not court-centered. It views litigation as a last resort, only to be used when other interest-based, non-adversarial efforts have failed to fully resolve the dispute. This approach merges the legal analysis and assessment skills of the lawyer with the facilitative and negotiating skills of the mediator or settlement counsel, and utilizes the expertise of professional consultants or coaches. It draws from one or more of the problem solving approaches within Dispute Resolution Spectrum or “DRS”, creates hybrid processes that are decided by the parties, responsive to their situation, and focused on satisfying their interests and goals.

Dispute Resolution Spectrum

Preventive Training/ Proactive Counsel Ombuds Services Facilitative  or Transformative Mediation Collaborative Law & Collaborative Mediation Integrated Dispute Resolution/ Collaborative Negotiation Evaluative or “Shuttle” Mediation

Why IDR4?

We named our system IDR4 because the number 4 is a recurring element of our approach. First, our processes are built around the “four way” session or meeting, in which both parties and their respective counsel are present in the negotiation session.

Second, we recognize there are four basic elements to our processes: the parties, the lawyers, the neutral, independent experts and/or facilitators, and the process itself.

Third, most of the approaches we design will include four basic steps:

  1. Assessing and analyzing the legal and factual situation and circumstances;
  2. Working together to design the process that is best for the situation, parties and circumstances;
  3. Identifying the interests and goals and the relevant information needed to resolve completely; and
  4. Developing the best options for resolution and reducing them to a written agreement.

Fourth, our results-oriented approached give our clients four basic areas of value: 1. Cost and time efficiency; 2. Preservation of key relationships; 3. Minimizing of the collateral damage of litigation; and 4. Maximizing the ability to develop creative options and solutions.

Phase I (Preventive/Proactive Phase) and Phase II (Dispute Resolution Phase) IDR4:

IDR4 operates in two phases: (1) the preventive/proactive phase and (2) the dispute resolution phase. Its Preventive/Proactive Phase (“PPP”), or Phase I, is designed to address matters before they escalate into disputes, utilizes some or all of the following means of preventive law and proactive counsel:

The Preventive/Proactive Resolution Spectrum

Proactive Counsel & Policies Anticipatory contract clauses Preventive Training Ombuds Services Consultant Coaches Facilitative  or Transformative Mediation Collaborative Law or Collaborative Settlement Negotiation

Workplace, organizational or business audits and reviews

  1. Preventive training workshops
  2. Use of an Ombudsperson as a resource
  3. Use of business, communications or diversity coaches/consultants

Should problems escalate into disputes, IDR4’s Dispute Resolution Phase (“DRP”), or Phase II, focuses on resolving the dispute by intention and design. Phase II tailors the most efficient and least draining approaches for resolving that specific dispute, utilizing some, all or a hybrid of the following means of non-adversarial, interest-based negotiation:

  1. Case evaluation
  2. Mediation and/or Settlement Counsel
  3. Collaborative Law principles & processes
  4. Collaborative Mediation

IDR4 Phase II includes the following four basic steps:

  1. Initial Assessment and analysis of facts, parties and legal issues
  2. Counseling for Informed Consent of the client
  3. Development of the IDR process to be utilized*
  4. Negotiation in IDR Sessions

IDR4 proceeds through the following objectives-based sessions:

  1. First IDR Session – Identify interests and relevant information**
  2. Second IDR Session – Exchange information and determine use of experts as needed***
  3. Third IDR Session – Develop options for resolution
  4. Fourth IDR Session – Finalize settlement agreement terms and logistics

* It is recommended that an initial IDR session or an “IDR Process Session” be used by the clients and their lawyers to discuss, negotiate and develop together the elements of the IDR process. This gives the parties and their counsel the opportunity to work in an IDR Session without having to focus on the dispute itself, and build momentum by working together in an interest-based negotiation session focused on developing the “rules of engagement” for their specific IDR process.

** Depending on the circumstances and the complexity of the dispute, these two objectives of identifying interests and relevant information may take more than one session.

*** Neutral and independent experts, as well as process facilitators, can be used as resources for the parties and the process as is necessary. The kind of expert or facilitator used will depend on the facts and circumstances of the matter, as well as the goals being pursued. Because the experts are neutral and independent, they provide a valuable resource for both the parties and the process itself. The costs of neutral experts are shared equally by the parties.

IDR4 integrates some of the outstanding features from the entire spectrum of dispute resolution processes, organizes them into an efficient and adaptable system and empowers clients to work through their disputes in ways that respond to their circumstances and needs. It is a cutting edge, sustainable and powerful approach to problem solving.

Michael Zeytoonian Zeytoonian Center for Dispute Resolution, LLC February 27, 2010


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