Proactive Pre-dispute and Pre-escalation Techniques to Strengthen Business Relationships
Jim Groton is a retired partner of the law firm of Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan LLP, where he formerly led the Construction Practice and Dispute Prevention and Resolution practices of that firm.
JIM GROTON RECEIVES CPR’S INAUGURAL AWARD FOR LEADERSHIP IN DISPUTE PREVENTION.
Waxman considers Jim Groton “the father of the modern Standing Neutral concept.”-Forbes, 3.31.2022
Allen Waxman Interviews Jim Groton
Two Minute History of Construction Law
In a playful tongue-in-cheek address in Biblical language to the American Bar Association’s Forum on the Construction Industry in 1994, Professor Thomas Stipanowich, a prominent construction industry and dispute resolution scholar, undertook to describe how the field of construction law had developed during the past generation, with humorous references to some of the lawyers who were principally involved in that history.
Professor Stipanowich’s article was originally published at 14 Constr. Law. 28 (Aug. 1994), and was reprinted in the Bruner and O’Connor Treatise on Construction Law, with bracketed notes added by the authors of the treatise that explain some of the names in the article that readers who are not intimately familiar with the construction industry might not recognize.
The purpose of this website is to inform the business world about the use of pre-dispute and pre-escalation processes in business dealings, not only to prevent disputes but because they strengthen relationships. In this website we collect the very best writing in this field, report on significant developments, and encourage further research and experimentation to advance the field.
THE DEVELOPING FIELD OF PROACTIVE DISPUTE PREVENTION
Among the dozens of dispute resolution processes that exist today, there are a number of relatively new pre-dispute and pre-escalation processes that can be used to prevent disputes before they become so intractable that they have to be dealt with through traditional “resolution” processes. These processes are most effective when instituted proactively, at or near the beginning of a relationship.
The philosophy behind these processes can be illustrated by the following expressions: “It usually costs less to avoid getting into trouble than to pay for getting out of trouble” (Professor Lewis Brown, 1950). “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” “A stitch in time saves nine.” “Fortune favors the prepared mind.” “Fix the problem, not the blame.” “Be prepared.” “be proactive, not reactive,” “The highest and best form of dispute resolution is dispute prevention.”
These processes are all practical, common-sense practices and techniques, invented by users of dispute resolution services. They acknowledge that problems and unexpected events are likely to occur in any relationship, and they are based on such principles as mutual cooperation, collaboration, early attention to problems as soon as they develop, prompt action to deal with problems on a “real time” basis, avoidance of adversarial attitudes, reliance on pre-selected experts, participation in reaching solutions to problems and disputes, and direct party control over the outcome of a dispute.
Categories of pre-dispute and prevention processes:
Pre-dispute and pre-escalation processes can be grouped under the following two broad categories:
- Prevention and cooperation techniques that help to avoid problems and disputes.
- Dispute de-escalation, control, and “real time” resolution techniques to prevent disputes.
Chart of Dispute Resolution Stages and Steps:
Today, because of the flexibility, adaptability and versatility of ADR, Users of dispute resolution processes have available to them a wide variety of techniques that can be used to prevent, control and resolve disputes. New techniques are constantly being developed to deal with the wide variety of potential disputes that can occur in any kind of relationship, and at any stage in the development or escalation of a problem or dispute.
- Three Articles that Explore Pre-dispute Techniques in DepthNow that the basic principles of the dispute prevention and resolution field have been described, it’s useful to flesh out more details about the art and practice of using prevention techniques to create and strengthen … Read more
- Forbes Magazine Reports on the Advantages of Standing NeutralsIn an article written by Kate Vitasek, a business school professor, business consultant, and prolific author, Forbes Magazine has reported on how successful Standing Neutrals can be in preserving supplier relationships, especially during pandemic stresses. … Read more
- Richard Susskind’s Dispute Prevention WisdomRichard Susskind is a British law professor, author, speaker, and advisor to businesses and governments. He has studied and written extensively about a wide variety of subjects. In his 2008 book, “The End of Lawyers?”, … Read more
- The Most Powerful Practical Case That Has Yet Been Made for Using Dispute PreventionNoah Hanft, who now serves as an arbitrator, mediator, consultant and executive coach, had distinguished himself as a practicing lawyer and General Counsel of Mastercard during the earlier phases of his career. In common with … Read more
- Global Pound Conference Voting Results Confirm Preferences for Pre-dispute and Pre-escalation Processes to Prevent DisputesThe historic Global Pound Conferences in 2016 and 2017 evaluated all forms of dispute prevention and resolution in a worldwide effort, forty years after the first Pound Conference, to find ways to improve the future … Read more
- A Comprehensive Library of Articles and Materials on Dispute Prevention The International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR), the world’s leading proponent of the values of dispute prevention, maintains a comprehensive library of Resources on dispute prevention. That Library can be accessed HERE.
- Thoughts on Recent Evolutionary Changes in the Disputes Field, and the Resistance that Some of These Changes Have ExperiencedIt’s interesting to observe the development of various “movements” within the disputes field during the past generation, and the extent to which they have experienced resistance. The first modern dispute resolution movement: From litigation to … Read more
- Language and expressions that can be used to encourage the practice of anticipation and preventionHuman beings have long been using anticipation and prevention practices, both defensively as protection, and proactively as a way to make life easier for themselves. Over time, much “prevention lore” has been passed on from … Read more