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Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) offers cost-effective and time-saving alternatives to traditional litigation and has been in place in the Northern District of Ohio since 1991. The Court's Local Rules provide guidelines for the use of a wide menu of ADR processes designed to provide a less expensive, faster and more satisfying alternative to traditional litigation. In addition to ADR, the Court also encourages the use of extra-judicial processes to resolve disputes including mini-trials, private trials, fact-finding and private ADR processes.


ADR processes are confidential and information disclosed at an ADR proceeding may not be provided to the Court, to third parties or anyone else, including settlement terms, unless counsel/parties provide written consent to such disclosure. ADR processes are treated as compromise negotiations for purposes of the federal and state rules of evidence. ADR processes are managed by a court-qualified neutral who is disqualified from serving as a witness, consultant, attorney or an expert in any pending or future action relating to the dispute, including actions between persons not parties to the ADR process.


Local Civil Rule 16.4(d)(3) was revised on December 1, 2018 to require panelists to provide up to six hours of free service for each appointed case, which includes preparation time. The Court has also received approval from the Ohio Supreme Court to offer Continuing Legal Education Credit (CLE) for the the pro bono services that Panelists provide. Panelists can receive one CLE credit for every six hours of free service provided, up to six CLE credit per biennial reporting period. Attorneys who wish to receive CLE credit for their pro bono legal service will complete Ohio Supreme Court Form 23 for each assignment in which they provide free service and submit it to the Pro Bono Department by December 31 of each calendar year. For more information, please contact the ADR Department at