STEP BY STEP- How the U.S. Government Adopted the ADR Idea - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 53, No. 2
Robert G. Fryling
Edward J. Hoffman
Robert G. Fryling Esq. is a partner and chairman of the Government Contracts Group of the Philadelphia-based law firm of Blank Rome Comisky & McCauley. Edward J. Hoffman Esq. is a partner with Blank Rome and a member of the Government Contracts Group. Blank Rome has offices in Philadelphia; Media, Pa .; Cherry Hill, N.J.; Trenton, N.J.; Wilmington, Del.; Washington, D.C.; New York; Baltimore; and Boca Raton, Fla.
The legislation of the past decade has reflected a marked change in the way that the federal government handles the many lawsuits in which it becomes involved. In this article the authors discuss the government’s advance to the forefront of alternative dispute resolution advocacy and provide a brief history of the legislative changes that have brought about this move.
It can be safely said that no U.S. corporation is a party to as many lawsuits as the federal government. Defending literally thousands of suits per year requires the resources of the world’s largest law firm, which is headed by the Department of Justice and includes thousands of agency attorneys who work full-time defending government interests.
It is, therefore, somewhat surprising that the federal government has only recently come out in support of alternative dispute resolution for resolving many of these outstanding disputes. In 1990 Congress first passed an ADR statute, which, when combined with recent changes in the law and in various agency regulations and executive orders, has brought the federal government into the forefront of ADR advocacy. This article will provide an overview of the ADR statutes and regulations that have been issued.