The Center for American Progress has published a paper, “Grounds for Objection: Causes and Consequences of America’s Pro Se Crisis and How to Solve the Problem of Unrepresented Litigants” that recommends ADR as one method for helping the growing numbers of pro se litigants in the country’s courtrooms:
“Alternative dispute resolution methods administered by lawyers and nonlawyers alike can help people avoid court altogether. Mediation is often considered particularly useful in family law cases where it can promote cooperation in parents who must remain significantly involved with one another after their case is resolved.”
The author wisely points out that ADR is not a panacea:
“For some litigants, alternatives to the traditional client-attorney relationship will not work. They may be unable to resolve their disputes in mediation, their case may be too complicated, or they may face personal issues such as mental health problems that make both ADR and self-representation poor options.”
This takes a very healthy perspective, one that those of us who care about both ADR and about individuals with limited resources should embody. We should think broadly about how the processes we promote can assist people and what the limits are to the effectiveness of these processes.