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Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR): The career opportunities promised and how to go about it

Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) as a means to solve disagreements between two or more parties, has garnered huge traction in the recent past. The Government of India has also made its intention clear to promote private dispute resolution to ease the existing burden on judicial paraphernalia. The main aim is to speed up the resolution process and encourage the practice of ADR, wherein the parties in dispute would have an easy option to solve the matter out of court. 

This development is bound to propel the growth of both national and international ADR and the sector is expected to witness an uptrend. This means immense career opportunities in the sector, especially in a country like India, where there is a huge lag in the judicial timeline.

If someone wishes to build a career in ADR, there are multiple organizations working in the field, which can be considered to join. The arbitration field is vast and there are various segments to it, such as labour, investment, and commercial disputes. One can always choose a segment, as per one’s personal inclination and interest, and gain specialization. 

ADR is generally classified into at least four types; negotiation, mediation, collaborative law, and arbitration. Arbitration has grown in value in the recent past and new contracts are being drawn between parties, keeping a provision for arbitration. The practice is being followed by entities across sectors and is also prevalent in contracts when two or more parties form a business association, such as a joint venture. Even government and local administration contracts and agreements are drawn by financial service providers, such as banks and insurance companies including the arbitration clause. So, anyone who wishes to begin a career in arbitration needs to enter the field and start early, so as to reap the maximum benefits. Although, it is important to understand that arbitration cannot be practiced by possessing mere ‘bookish knowledge’, it requires special expertise that only comes with practice and experience in the field.

Considering the academic qualification, to become an arbitrator, one simply needs a bachelor’s degree in any field. The field is closely linked with the precise knowledge and networking that one can garner through networking and being part of a group of individuals with similar interests. Some renowned mediation organizations such as Maadhyam, organize regular conferences and workshops and encourage new entrants in the field to garner knowledge and become experts. Such meetings and conferences would allow a great chance for further networking and interaction with experts in the arbitration process, some even having international exposure. 

Like in any other field, training plays an important role in the field of Alternate Dispute Resolution. It is important to gather training by attending meetings, conferences, and seminars and by being part of the actual mediation and arbitration process. This can only be done if one creates the required network and the people in the network allow the individual to participate in the verbal negotiation process. This is the best way to gather some first-hand experience. 

In today’s world that revolves around social media and online networking, it is very important to be active on social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter. A very effective way to create your visibility is by writing on subjects related to ADR and sharing the articles and write-ups on the social media handle. It is one of the most effective tools to connect with the right individuals who would eventually contribute to one’s active network in the field. Video content is also very effective in reaching out to people as it allows one to be more vocal about the subject matter and explain the topic in a better way. 

If one becomes a part of an active mediation or arbitration group, it is important to promote and communicate it. People are more likely to depend on someone who has established experience for their dispute resolution. 

It is also very important to know in detail about the Arbitration and Conciliation Act. One can always enroll in a course to get the best knowledge. ADR gives one a great opportunity to run and function one’s own entity dedicated to the cause of dispute resolution. So, it is very important to know how to register and run one’s own company legally. In a nutshell, there is no dearth of opportunity in the field of Alternate Dispute Resolution. 

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