From an opinion piece in this morning’s National Law Journal (article here):
… Just as companies can implement a systems-based approach to manufacturing, sales and other business functions, general counsel can implement a system for managing legal cases, with an eye toward avoiding litigation and its attendant costs at the earliest possible juncture. A group of general counsel at Fortune 500 companies have joined together to change the culture of litigation that has pervaded Corporate America, causing waste, inefficiencies and diversion of resources that could be used to gain a global competitive advantage, by signing on to the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR)’s 21st Century Corporate ADR Pledge.
CPR revolutionized litigation and promoted the adoption of alternate dispute resolution (ADR) with its Corporate Policy Statement on Alternatives to Litigation, beginning in the 1980s. More than 4,000 operating companies and 1,500 law firms have signed the “CPR Pledge” and committed to consider ADR before filing suit. However, the initial pledge envisioned that it was to be effective only between parties that had both adopted it, within the context of an individual dispute.
CPR’s new 21st Century Corporate ADR Pledge provides companies an opportunity to focus on a systemic approach to dispute resolution. Rather than focus on each individual case, we encourage companies to embrace a broader view, to approach dispute resolution in a new way and look at its internal processes with an eye toward resolving conflicts without litigation. …
Developing a sophisticated set of policies and practices as part of an integrated program creates significant and sustainable time and cost savings. Such an approach provides mechanisms whereby the dispute and its resolution remain in the control of the parties rather than in the hands of uncontrollable third parties. With a systems approach, the natural tendency to litigate aggressively on a case-by-case basis is moderated. Companies work together through all phases of the resolution process with the same goal: identifying opportunities for early resolution that translate into better outcomes and less cost.