For many disputes, businesses are finding nonjudicial methods of resolution (including arbitration and mediation) increasingly attractive, as these mechanisms are more cost-effective, less time-consuming and less adversarial than traditional litigation.
In addition to representing parties in arbitrations, mediations and other forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), Duane Morris attorneys have experience as third-party neutrals for early case evaluations, as mediators and arbitrators in court-annexed and private proceedings, and in other neutral advisory or decision-making roles.
Appropriate case management seeks the best solutions for a client, and may include consideration of mediation, arbitration, mini-trials and other ADR methods. When cases are better suited for traditional litigation, the Duane Morris team has the resources of hundreds of trial attorneys.
Benefits of ADR
The benefits of mediation, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution derive from their versatility and independence from court bureaucracy. The general concept of ADR has gained wide support among legislatures and courts. Successful ADR programs ensure neutrality, provide a forum for mutual education and encourage the parties themselves, not just their lawyers, to join in the negotiating process. In some instances, ADR may afford quicker resolutions and lower costs than conventional court proceedings.
ADR may be particularly appropriate for clients who must maintain or strengthen business relationships with adversaries. Mediation and conciliation, as opposed to adversarial adjudication, may be especially helpful when there are ongoing business ties between potential litigants. In addition, ADR has the advantage of keeping witnesses off the witness stand, information out of the public record and the terms of a settlement confidential.
ADR also may be particularly well-suited to international disputes, since binding agreements reached in ADR may be enforced more efficiently in different countries than through a judgment in an American court.
Types of Proceedings
In place of courtroom judges, ADR proceedings typically use "neutrals" to guide the parties' own negotiations, render a decision or advise the parties. Many ADR professionals are former judges as well as attorneys or industry experts. Types of proceedings include:
Range of Services
We assist clients in selecting an appropriate ADR mechanism and drafting the ADR contract provisions, and we represent clients in the ADR process. Our lawyers also serve as neutrals and independent arbitrators and mediators. ADR techniques are used today in settlement negotiations for all types of complex cases.
We handle construction matters using all forms of alternative dispute resolution, including mini-trials, mediations and arbitrations, and we present strategies to attempt to resolve disputes promptly, amicably and short of trial. Our attorneys have considerable experience arbitrating complex, highly technical construction claims, contract and fraud disputes, bid protests, delay, differing site conditions, loss of productivity, extra work and inefficiency claims, as well as error and omission claims, design deficiency claims and a variety of other types of disputes.
Our employment and benefits lawyers draft mediation and arbitration clauses for employment contracts and advance client interests in mediation and arbitration proceedings, including employment discrimination claims. On the labor relations side, we represent clients in the collective bargaining process as well as in labor arbitration proceedings.
Commercial Disputes and Products Liability
Lawyers in our commercial litigation group handle ADR proceedings involving other commercial and business disputes, joint venture agreements, licensing agreements and other commercial contracts, products liability claim resolutions, allocation of environmental cleanup liability, loss allocation in toxic tort cases and disputes of intellectual property, to name a few.
Our bankruptcy lawyers serve as examiners, mediators and arbitrators in bankruptcy and insolvency matters.
Duane Morris attorneys are experienced in handling arbitrations under the major international arbitration conventions and rule systems, including the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), the international affiliate of the American Arbitration Association (AAA), the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR), JAMS and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). We also represent clients involved in arbitration before the Austrian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration, the Dubai International Arbitration Centre, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Arbitration and Conciliation Tribunal (FACT), the Korean Commercial Board (KCAB), the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC). In addition, our attorneys represent clients in international arbitration before specialized providers of arbitration services such as Association Internationale de Droit des Assurances Reinsurance and Insurance Arbitration Society, U.S. (ARIASoUS) as well as the Reinsurance Association of America.
The dispute resolution group consists of lawyers from many of the firm's practice and industry groups across the United States and in the United Kingdom, Singapore and Vietnam. Many of our lawyers perform services as neutrals, mediators, arbitrators and conciliators. Members of our dispute resolution group include former judges and prosecutors who bring valuable perspective to the representation of clients in ADR proceedings. The team includes a Fellow in the College of Commercial Arbitrators, as well as members of the American Arbitration Association (AAA) who are listed as AAA professionals. Others have been active in publishing articles and instructional materials about ADR. All of our lawyers are oriented toward resolving disputes, rather than perpetuating them.
Duane Morris is a sustaining member of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR), a nonprofit initiative of 500 general counsel of major national and international corporations, law firms and prominent legal academics supporting private alternatives to the high costs of litigation.
Excellent securities lawyer. It was a pleasure to work on a transaction with him.Read more
Excellent securities lawyer. It was a pleasure to work on a transaction with him.Read less
Will Sirota is a highly respected and exceptionally qualified commercial lawyer with excellent ethical qualities.Read more
Will Sirota is a highly respected and exceptionally qualified commercial lawyer with excellent ethical qualities.
Sean has been much more than our legal counsel, providing advice, mentorship, network, and friendship to every member in our organization. He's gone a...Read more
Sean has been much more than our legal counsel, providing advice, mentorship, network, and friendship to every member in our organization. He's gone above and beyond his responsibilities as our lawyer to ensure we are setup for success in every aspect of our lives and business. As soon as Sean engaged with our business it became a personal responsibility and he has protected and advanced our mission from the moment we met him.Read less
I have known Denyse Sabagh since the 1990's when she handled all my family's immigration cases. She has a depth of knowledge about every aspect of imm...Read more
I have known Denyse Sabagh since the 1990's when she handled all my family's immigration cases. She has a depth of knowledge about every aspect of immigration law that is only matched by her very pleasant demeanor. She leaves no stone unturned and she makes sure that you are informed about every option available to you. In addition, she is a problem solver who genuinely cares about the well-being of her clients. She is a true GEM and her remarkable career accomplishments are proof of that...Read less
Patricia Hollenbeck is skilled, diligent, professional and highly experienced, with a deep understanding of the needs of a business client. She under...Read more
Patricia Hollenbeck is skilled, diligent, professional and highly experienced, with a deep understanding of the needs of a business client. She understands and can achieve business needs much better than most outside counsel, all the while representing the company extremely well. I would recommend her without hesitation to other business clients.Read less
Jim always has his client's interests at heart and thoughtfully and expertly handles each problem. I feel very confident that he is representing me.Read more
Jim always has his client's interests at heart and thoughtfully and expertly handles each problem. I feel very confident that he is representing me.Read less
"In my discussions with Duane Morris leaders, they frequently speak about how diversity within their firm has enabled them to better serve their diverse clients. They understand that investing in diversity is a wise business decision that positions them for the marketplace of the future."
Senior VP, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary
At Duane Morris, achieving diversity is paradoxical. By supporting and celebrating the differences of our attorneys - and the individual strengths that they bring - our firm culture expands, fostering creative solutions for our clients. But diversity at Duane Morris does not mean that we have a certain number of diverse attorneys; true diversity means that it is no longer noteworthy to see diverse lawyers leading our practice groups or managing client relationships. Ascending to positions of leadership and greater responsibility and providing the highest levels of client service is simply what is expected of all our lawyers. Diversity is another strong asset that adds to our collective abilities to meet the needs of our clients.
Our vision of diversity at Duane Morris is to realize an environment in which our lawyers' outstanding qualities are not just measured by ethnicity, race, gender and sexual orientation, but more importantly, that our lawyers are remarkable as excellent attorneys above all else. Only then can we celebrate our differences while focusing on the common pursuit of legal excellence which everyone shares at Duane Morris.
To reach this goal, Duane Morris understands that the familiar diversity strategies and policies that most law firms have are needed. Without demanding results from such policies, most law firms are bound to fail in even achieving numerical hiring and retention goals. Duane Morris has been proactive and ambitious in its efforts to improve diversity at the firm, and has set deadlines for reaching the milestones which mark our progress. To create a more diverse law firm, Duane Morris is:
Combining new initiatives with our longstanding diversity efforts, Duane Morris has seen increasingly positive results. In the Minority Law Journal's annual diversity survey of the nation's largest 260 firms, Duane Morris continued to improve its regional and national ranking, rising to number 136 of all firms surveyed. Our strides in Philadelphia are encouraging; in a city known for both the racial diversity of its population and the lack thereof in its law firms, Duane Morris is one of only two law firms to exceed the national average of minority partners at all law firms. Additionally, Duane Morris leads all national law firms based in Philadelphia in the number of Latino partners. Nearly 30 percent of all of our attorneys are women, and more than 20 percent of our partners are women.
In our approach to diversity, progress in racial, gender and cultural diversity cannot be measured in numbers alone. Duane Morris has focused our diversity initiatives on both increasing the number of diverse associates and addressing the challenges diverse attorneys face in building lasting careers and rising to senior and leadership positions. While several of our key practice groups are led by diverse partners and female partners, Duane Morris endeavors to create a culture which will foster a deep pool of such attorneys who can then develop into the firm's future leaders. Duane Morris understands that simply hiring diverse associates will not change the diversity of the firm; Duane Morris is working to mentor and retain diverse associates so that our progress in racial, gender and cultural diversity is also reflected at the highest levels of leadership within the firm.
Our progress on gender diversity has been profound. We have no glass ceilings: women hold positions of leadership at all levels of management at the firm. Women lead a number of our key practice groups, including our Energy, Immigration and International practices, and serve on the firm's Executive Committee. The success of our female attorneys at Duane Morris has not gone unnoticed. Barbara Adams was chair of the firm's Finance Practice until her appointment by Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell to serve as General Counsel of the Commonwealth. In 2004, our longtime General Counsel, Gene E.K. Pratter, was approved by the United States Senate and is now a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Our efforts to improve diversity extend beyond our firm's walls. The chair of our Diversity Committee, Nolan N. Atkinson, Jr., recognized the lack of diversity in Philadelphia's legal community and formed the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group. Nolan now serves as the chair of the organization, a consortium of 25 law firms and corporations that commits to employing at least one diverse first-year law student each as a summer associate. From this program, law students of diverse backgrounds gain access to what was once an exclusive legal community, and now have the opportunity to learn and develop their legal careers with experience at Philadelphia's top law firms.
In addition to our involvement in the Philadelphia area, Duane Morris has increased our presence at national conferences and events focused on diversity. We sponsor the Hispanic National Bar Association and its job fair. Duane Morris is also a longtime supporter and sponsor of the Equality Forum, a national gay and lesbian rights organization. Duane Morris continues to sponsor the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, and is active in other associations of diverse attorneys including: the Asian American Bar Association of the Delaware Valley; the Charles Houston Bar Association; Cuban Bar Association; Korean American Lawyers Association; National American Indian Housing Counsel and the National Bar Association.
The challenge of improving gender, ethnic and cultural diversity at Duane Morris is an ongoing effort that has the support of the entire firm. Duane Morris has been at the vanguard in supporting gender diversity throughout the firm beginning a generation ago. Our diversity programs are leading to similar success in improving racial and national origin diversity at Duane Morris. But even as we share these examples of Duane Morris attorneys and our involvement in numerous legal events, associations and programs for diversity, our hope is that such examples will no longer be necessary to mention in the future. We hope that through our efforts, and the efforts of other law firms, these stories become so common that they are no longer the remarkable accomplishments they are today, but simply routine aspects of the legal world tomorrow.