Online Journal of Peace and Conflict Resolution 1.5

ADR Personalities and Practice Tips. 1998. American Bar Association - Section on Dispute Resolution.

Edited by James J. Alfini and Eric E. Galton. 264 pp. $45, softcover.

The field of conflict resolution has always had its share of attorneys and this new book allows some of the more successful ones to tell their stories. ADR Personalities and Practice Tips not only allows these practicioners to describe their transitions from lawyer to ADR provider, but also presents suggestions about creating a dispute resolution practice and being successful in the field.

The 23 chapters each are written by a different "recovering attorney" (a term both used and discouraged by contributors) and almost always include a narrative about what caused each lawyer to change their focus to alternative dispute resolution and what steps they took to set up an ADR practice. These stories are insightful and help put a human face on a much-maligned profession. Quite a few use the phrase, "Don't quit your day job."

It is in the few chapters dealing with ADR practice where this work truly shines. For example, Louis L. C. Chang skips the usual stories and jumps directly into a discussion of techniques to break empasses in negotiation. His analysis is comprehensive, yet never verbose. Also, Dana L. Curtis contributes a clear and well-argued discussion of the role of empathy in mediation.

Along with these ideas about technique, the book discusses the day-to-day necessities of running an ADR practice. Richard Chernick includes in his chapter a discussion of marketing ADR and, perhaps most usefully, the appendix includes sample documents donated by contributors. These are not only excellent examples of everyday forms such as agreements to arbitrate and mediate, but also show the variety of approaches evident in the field.

Although ADR Personalities and Practice Tips is published by the ABA and generally intended for lawyers, it provides topical and concise advise to any dispute resolution professional.

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