Stradley Ronon considers the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to be an integral part of the practice of law and the advice we give to our clients. As an “alternative” to the cost, delay, inflexibility and uncertainty that can be associated with traditional litigation, procedures such as private judging, arbitration, summary jury trial, mini-trial, early neutral intervention, mediation, negotiation and hybrid techniques provide many reasons to consider ADR. In most cases, ADR may include relative speed and economy, an expert facilitator, increased fairness, reliability and flexibility, confidential proceedings, and a preservation of or growth of business relationships (less adversarial). Such benefits are especially important in resolving complex intellectual property (patents, trademarks, copyrights or trade secrets) disputes.
Our Commitment to ADR
Stradley Ronon has pledged through the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR) to explore ADR options with clients whenever possible. We have counseled, educated and trained clients, fellow attorneys and others about ADR. We have represented clients in many private and court-ordered mediation and arbitration proceedings relating to IP disputes. Our attorneys often act as ADR neutrals. In recognition of our ADR practice group’s efforts, CPR presented the organization’s inaugural Law Firm Award for Excellence in Alternative Dispute Resolution to Stradley Ronon. The award committee – comprised of corporate counsel from General Electric, DuPont, Abbott Labs, Northrop Grumman, Johnson & Johnson, and Microsoft as well as faculty from the University of Missouri Columbia School of Law and Pepperdine University’s School of Law – agreed that Stradley Ronon demonstrated a firm-wide commitment and a culture promoting the principles of conflict resolution.
Our Unique Team
Our firm is unique in combining a separate IP practice with a growing ADR practice of more than a dozen attorneys. Several leaders participate in both groups. Stradley Ronon Senior Counsel Ben Picker, former chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association and a leading national figure in ADR, focuses extensively on the resolution of IP disputes. The chair of our IP practice group, Kevin Casey, has an active ADR practice in the IP field. He is certified as both a mediator and an arbitrator by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; arbitrates for the Chester County, Pennsylvania Court; has received certification as a panelist by the National Patent Board (now part of the American Arbitration Association); is a member of the IP Panels of CPR, the National Arbitration Forum and the International Trademark Association; and is a trained and active mediator.
ADR Is “Now”
Today, more than 98 percent of all civil litigation settles. Thus enthusiasm for ADR is spreading – especially in the IP area. The myriad forms of ADR also continue to expand and now include the concept of a small claims court for patent disputes. For example, the Delaware Chancery Court recently expanded its jurisdiction to include mediation of “technology disputes.”
In today’s litigation environment, the IP community must learn about and embrace ADR. Stradley Ronon has been at the forefront of the movement to do so. We look forward to working with clients to educate, answer questions and address issues relating to ADR in general and, more particularly, ADR involving IP disputes.