The Story of ADR Systems
In the early 1990s, before ADR Systems had opened its doors, the idea of settling disputes out of court through alternative dispute resolution (ADR) was still relatively unknown in the Chicago legal community. Select attorneys had heard of this ‘wave of the future’ – mediation and arbitration – but there were few avenues to explore the potential of these processes. Going through the court system, with its ever-growing case backlog, resulted in people spending years tied up in litigation. Marc Becker had first-hand knowledge of this situation, having spent three years involved in a dispute, only to settle moments before trial.
Dissatisfaction with the lack of options outside the court system led Marc to consider the new field of ADR. It offered promising alternatives to litigation. At that time, Chicago did not have an ADR provider that offered reliable service, comprehensive case management, and a trained panel of neutrals. Marc recognized an opportunity. He worked hard, spoke with many attorneys, and pinpointed exactly the kind of ADR service they needed. With great respect for the value of ADR and an acute understanding of the benefit it provides to the human side of legal disputes, Marc opened ADR Systems of America, LLC in October, 1994.
There is an Alternative.
At first, ADR Systems was composed of only Marc and a handful of neutrals – former judges that Marc called, convincing them that their future careers would be as mediators and arbitrators. Yet, despite their dedication and the successful resolution of a growing number of cases, ADR processes were new and not readily accepted. Clients had to be convinced that there was a real benefit in using mediation or arbitration. In the first year, Marc gave himself a goal – hit a certain number of cases in a month or close shop. The last month of that year, he made his goal, and vowed to stay open another six months.
There’s Always a Way.
Six months later, business was growing steadily – case after case settled. Attorneys set up pilot settlement programs through ADR Systems, and were so satisfied with the results that they not only returned with more cases, but referred colleagues. Through word of mouth and client referrals, buzz about ADR Systems continued to grow, and so did the company. The number of cases increased, the panel of neutrals expanded, and eventually Marc had to hire additional case managers and staff to keep up with a booming business. ADR Systems was gaining a reputation for being the best in the ADR field. The original office at 500 West Madison became too small to handle all the demand for space, necessitating a move to a larger office. The company would move three times in the next 20 years, eventually ending up at the current office on 20 North Clark Street, occupying the 29th floor. In 2015, the company expanded to the 28th floor, and now has facilities in Kane and DuPage County to better serve our clients. Currently, ADR Systems has the largest facility of any other ADR service provider in the Midwest, with more than 15,000 square feet of office space.
We’ll Take Care of It.
To commemorate its 20th anniversary in 2014, ADR Systems adopted a new brand, which represents a renewed promise: to provide exceptional client service and an unparalleled client experience.
ADR Systems has achieved steady growth over the last two decades, building a solid client base and a distinguished panel of neutrals. According to Marc, “There is no end in sight.” The court system – in Illinois and throughout the United States – continues to be overburdened. Even in the best circumstances, the court system limits the parties’ control of case resolution. This opens the door to ever-expanding opportunities for ADR. “Mediation and arbitration are just friendlier than litigation,” says Marc, “Especially in mediation, there are no real losers. Attorneys select the neutral; they choose the process; and they craft their own settlement. All parties can leave satisfied.”
Marc has a straightforward vision for the future: “ADR Systems will elevate its business and become the new standard for alternative dispute resolution by respecting the needs of our clients, fostering strong partnerships within the legal and business communities, and delivering on our brand promise.”
ADR Systems, It’s Settled.™