Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

What is ADR, Why Use it, and How You Can Benefit From it.

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?

Conducting Arbitration and Mediation in Texas

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) refers to processes that use an impartial third party who helps people communicate and collaborate to address tough issues, make decisions, or resolve conflict. The use of ADR can save money by reducing expensive litigation costs and promoting a more efficient and durable resolution of conflicts. Some ADR processes are used solely to foster better understanding or information sharing. When individuals seek resolution, ADR most often takes the form of mediation or arbitration. In Texas, we have a statute that provides certain requirements for court-referred ADR: see Chapter 154 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) refers to processes that use an impartial third-party who helps people communicate and collaborate to address tough issues, make decisions or resolve conflict.


Mediation is a process of communication in which persons with a dispute, assisted by a mediator, reach an agreement, understanding, or reconciliation.

Mediators are facilitators; they are there to assist disputants who make their own decisions about the resolution of their conflict.

Mediators are neutral parties and impartial to the disputants and the outcome. As such, mediators are ethically bound not to impose an outcome or decision on either side.

For more about what mediators do, read our article “What is Mediation” and, if you’re interested in becoming a mediator, have a look at our step-by-step guide showing how to become a certified mediator in Texas. The only requirement for certification (in most states, Texas included – check your state’s ADR statute for more information) is a one-time, 40-Hour class that you can complete from the comfort of your home.

Sec. 154.052

(a) Except as provided by Subsections (b) and (c), to qualify for an appointment as an impartial third party under this subchapter a person must have completed a minimum of 40 classroom hours of training in dispute resolution techniques in a course conducted by an alternative dispute resolution system or other dispute resolution organization approved by the court making the appointment.

(b) To qualify for an appointment as an impartial third party under this subchapter in a dispute relating to the parent-child relationship, a person must complete the training required by Subsection (a) and an additional 24 hours of training in the fields of family dynamics, child development, and family law, including a minimum of four hours of family violence dynamics training developed in consultation with a statewide family violence advocacy organization.

(c) In appropriate circumstances, a court may in its discretion appoint a person as an impartial third party who does not qualify under Subsection (a) or (b) if the court bases its appointment on legal or other professional training or experience in particular dispute resolution processes.
Added by: Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1121, Sec. 1, eff. June 20, 1987.

Amended by: Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 195 (S.B. 539), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2017.

Common Mediation Myths

False – Our classes are open to both non-attorneys and attorneys alike, and many of the most successful mediators we have trained had little to no legal training prior to taking our class. See Sec. 154.052 above.

Becoming a mediator is not difficult! For starters, there is only one requirement needed for becoming a certified mediator: A one-time, 40-Hour class that can be completed online from the comfort of your own home (See our upcoming 40-Hour Basic Mediation Classes Here to get certified!). Our classes are typically live, a week-long (5-days, Mon-Fri) and our instructors structure the courses entirely from the ground up. The training focuses on practical mediation skills and covers areas of personal injury, employment, intellectual property, and multi-party conflicts, among others. In life and work, conflict is ubiquitous and inevitable, but it can be managed. Knowing the communication techniques to diffuse and resolve these conflicts is a valuable and practical asset to any skill set regardless of circumstance or experience. Our mediation classes are crafted with this idea in mind, giving you a toolbelt of conflict resolution techniques with the knowledge of how and when to apply them. From basic law and conflict resolution skills to more advanced negotiation and de-escalation techniques, our comprehensive course modules will ensure you have the knowledge and ability to be an authoritative figure when it comes to managing conflicts, negotiating disputes, and facilitating agreements.

No college degree is required!
The only pre-requisite is a 40-Hour training course in dispute resolution by a court-approved ADR organization!

Our classes are built to allow for easy access and a comfortable environment for all of our participants. With our online classes, you can become a certified mediator without having to leave the couch. We believe in providing generous breaks and understand if you need to “step out of the classroom” for a brief time to take a phone call or deal with other matters. Additionally, we provide CLE’s and CE’s (accredited by the state bar of Texas) and offer generous discounts to veterans and teachers in all of our classes. Get in touch with us to find out more information about these special prices.

Cost of becoming a Certified Mediator in the State of Texas

To qualify as a mediator in Texas, a person must have completed a minimum of 40 classroom hours of training in dispute resolution techniques from a court-appointed dispute resolution system or organization (Texas Mediator Training Roundtable – List of court-approved dispute resolution courses for Texas). Our 40-Hour, Online Basic Mediation Class satisfies these requirements and costs $999. Discounted rates for veterans, teachers, and first-responders.

Mediation Classes

40-Hour Basic Mediation Training

June 10 - 8:30 am to June 13 - 5:30 pm CDT

30-Hour Advanced Civil and Family Mediation Training

June 24 - 8:30 am to June 26 - 5:30 pm CDT

40-Hour Basic Mediation Training

September 9 - 8:30 am to September 12 - 5:30 pm CDT

30-Hour Advanced Civil and Family Mediation Training

September 23 - 8:30 am to September 25 - 5:30 pm CDT

What is Arbitration?

The arbitrator is a decision-maker; whereas the mediator is not.

Litigation vs. Mediation vs. Arbitration

Arbitration is generally less formal than a court proceeding, though the parties may present evidence, or call and question witnesses. Unlike a mediator, the arbitrator renders a decision or award once the case is presented.  Arbitration can be voluntary or mandatory and can be either binding or non-binding.

Most arbitrations stem from an arbitration clause in a contract, in which the parties have agreed to resolve any disputes through arbitration. Arbitration clauses can be simple – basically stating that claims will be settled according to applicable arbitration rules and then enforced by a local court. However, they can also be more complex, governing a significant number of matters, such as how arbitrators will be selected, the location of the arbitration, who will be responsible for attorney’s fees, and if the final arbitration award must be kept confidential.

Arbitration clauses are found in all types of agreements such as employment and consumer contracts, autos sales, credit cards, home repairs, and insurance. These arbitration clauses require that disputes arising out of contracts and transactions be resolved through arbitration.

As independent arbitrators, Mediators and Arbitrators of America can help you minimize costs and expedite the arbitration process. Mediators of Texas follows applicable American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) arbitration rules and procedures.

How much does it Cost to Become an Arbitrator in Texas?

We offer Arbitration training that meets The State of Texas requirements for $800. (Discounted rates for veterans, teachers, first-responders)

Additional Information:

Interested in becoming an Arbitrator?
Our Arbitration Courses and Advanced Arbitration Courses will give you the tools you need to successfully become a professional Arbitrator.
See all upcoming classes here

Arbitration Classes

8-Hour Basic Arbitration Training

May 6 - 8:30 am to 5:30 pm CDT

8-Hour Advanced Arbitration Training

May 13 - 8:30 am to 5:30 pm CDT

8-Hour Basic Arbitration Training

August 5 - 8:30 am to 5:30 pm CDT

8-Hour Advanced Arbitration Training

August 19 - 8:30 am to 5:30 pm CDT

Looking for Mediation / Arbitration services? Our professional mediators and arbitrators have the skills and experience needed to handle any dispute, big or small. Find out more about hiring one of our professionals and the services we provide here.

Have more questions?

Here’s an article wrote describing alternative dispute resolution that offers a casual look inside the world of mediation and arbitration. | What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

American Bar Association | Dispute Resolution