#GreatADR: Alterity’s 10 tenets of great mediation and arbitration


Alterity ADR is the country’s most diverse and inclusive dispute resolution firm, with a national panel of experienced mediators, arbitrators, and conflict resolution specialists. The firm, founded and led by a woman of color, is committed to providing fair outcomes, true industry expertise, and superior case management and service.

At Alterity, we have thought deeply about the tenets that set the foundation for the development and delivery of a GREAT mediation or arbitration experience. This includes a human-centered approach to ADR, innovative solutions to dispute resolution, diverse voices that reflect our clients and their values, and excellent client service that goes above and beyond.

Here are Alterity’s 10 behavioral tenets of #GreatADR and why Alterity’s neutrals lead the profession by personifying them:

1. Preparation: We ensure that all parties in a mediation or arbitration will be prepared and not surprised. Mediators and arbitrators will be briefed and hold pre-mediation and pre-arbitration conferences with each party to further understand the case. Other participants will have a frictionless experience that starts with a clear understanding of the process, what to expect, their role, and how to effectively use technology to avoid embarrassment and ensure confidence in self and process.

At Alterity, preparedness is essential to delivering quality services.

2. Accountability: We do what we say we will do. We know everyone makes this claim, but ask them if they hold themselves accountable by agreeing to refund 100 percent of your fees if they fail to deliver resolution services with excellence. We do.

Claiming to be accountable is necessary, but it’s not sufficient. At Alterity we believe that a fee guarantee sufficiently back stops our claim.

3. Transparency: We will be transparent about the fees you pay and why. We will be transparent about conflicts and potential conflicts, which have historically gone undisclosed in our industry. We will regularly gather and publish feedback on our processes and performance from every interaction with us — staff, mediators, and arbitrators. Our mediators and arbitrators will be transparent and share their thoughts, rationale, and opinions honestly and respectfully.

We recognize that transparency is an approach to communicating and forming relationships that emphasizes being direct and intellectually honest and consistent. We will publish a transparency index score that comes directly from those using our services: We won’t just promise transparency, we will show what others think about our commitment to transparency. At Alterity we recognize that’s what great companies do; our aim is to be a great company.

4. Listening: We listen intently to your feedback. Not only do we care about what you think, but every day we put our feet on the ground, we are striving to perform better than the day before. Our mediators and arbitrators understand that active listening is fundamental to facilitating a resolution to a meaningful conclusion in the most efficient manner.

At Alterity, listening is a critical skill that we embrace as we strive for excellence.

5. Punctuality: We know that your time and resources are valuable assets. We are committed to being responsive and mindful of your time and resources at every step of the process. Alterity mediators and arbitrators will always be on time and prepared. Equally important, they will ensure an efficient and effective process that is grounded in the facts and realities of the matter. They will get to work right away. They won’t create artificial constraints or fictitious pressure points. They won’t be lazy and offer overly simplistic solutions to complex matters. They won’t misinterpret and apply King Solomon’s solution of splitting the baby (which actually isn’t a solution but a threat that attempts to flush out the truth of a situation). They won’t allow matters to unnecessarily absorb all allotted time.

At Alterity punctuality is more than showing up on time — it’s about being respectful of your time and resources.

6. Community Learning: Diversity of experiences and thought contributes to producing better outcomes. Community sharing, peer learning, and collaboration create an environment where mediators and arbitrators can leverage community to assist in preparation and learning. We also use our community to conduct post-mediation reviews so that we can all learn from each other and imagine how we can get better.

At Alterity, community learning is highly valued, and we believe that it is an imperative to providing resolution services that are truly great.

7. Consistency: It builds trust over time, and we are committed to delivering consistent service to both earn your trust and also ensure that your individual needs are met every time, regardless of the scope or nature of the dispute.

At Alterity, we recognize the importance of doing the things we say we will do.

8. Data-Driven Insight and Decisions: We insist on using data insights to inform our mediators and arbitrators as they prepare to do their work. Data-driven dashboards are used to inform potential clients about our capabilities, experiences, customer feedback, and how all those data points might be relevant to the matter at hand and help inform the parties.
At Alterity, we embrace the digital transformation, and we will proactively shape the future of digital dispute resolution.

9. Empathy: Mediators need to understand that everyone has unique experiences, reactions, and thought patterns. Something that might be a logical answer to the mediator may not be to the client, so the mediator needs to understand why that may be and how to present options that are in line with what the client needs. They also need patience to fully understand each case and to approach situations without a “one-size-fits-all” mentality.

At Alterity, our mediators and arbitrators are committed to empathizing with all parties. In part, it’s why we insist on pre-resolution meeting calls so that we get to know you better and add more context to the matter we have read and prepared for.

10. Integrity: We’re guided by a true north star, which is to consistently adhere to strong moral and ethical principles and values. At Alterity, we are proud to create trust with our clients by promising to never sacrifice ethics for results. We believe in finding appropriate solutions that benefit our clients and doing so in fair and moral ways.

What does #GreatADR mean to you? We would love to hear about your experience or core values. Contact us today, or connect with us on social media.

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