My original answer to the question “Alternative to what?” was “the adversary system.” ADR held out the promise of a better way than the adversary system for handling at least some of the inevitable friction in society. I could not define “better” precisely, but it contained notions of faster, cheaper, less contentious, less aggravating, or more likely to leave the parties talking to each other when the process was over. My current answer to the question “Alternative to what?” is that ADR is not an alternative. Alternative Dispute Resolution courses have become Dispute Resolution. In this society, dispute resolution is the adversary system. My unhappiness with the current answer is the reason for this essay and for its suggestion that the ADR movement, and particularly the law teachers within it, think again about the direction it should take.
Steven H. Goldberg, "Wait A Minute. This Is Where I Came in." A Trial Lawyer's Search for Alternative Dispute Resolution, 1997 B.Y.U. L. Rev. 653 (1997), http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/81/.