Early Resolution Origins: Something old is new again. We give credit to Roger Fisher of the Harvard Negotiation Project for elevating the modern-day initiative for early resolution. In his seminal 1983 article, What about Negotiation as a Specialty, he made the case – a very persuasive, yet disruptive, case – emphasizing that the trial attorney is not always the optimum resource for timely, effective resolution. His foundational articles, and a few other early works, can be found here. Subsequent works can be found here.
Organized ECA/EDR Protocols and Associations: Years ago, many companies came to appreciate the value of early resolution of claims and disputes and several created model programs in-house that proved very successful. Eventually, efforts to define a repeatable methodology were undertaken by various legal services organizations – including CPR and the ABA. Most recently, the EDR Institute and the AAA have risen to the forefront with a comprehensive methodology for mediation-related early resolution.
Settlement Counsel: While the idea of a specialized settlement resource was daylighted by Roger Fisher years earlier, the first stand-alone settlement counsel law firm arrived in 2001 with the formation of Resolution Counsel LLP – a law firm of three attorneys who only served as settlement counsel for their clients. A search of “settlement counsel” today will reveal a number of attorneys and mediators offering settlement counsel services to their firms offerings. In 2008, Resolution Counsel partners formed Resolution Strategies LLP to continue to the focus on the role of settlement counsel and forging resolutions in cases “that couldn’t be settled.” Our approach and related materials are here.