Alternative dispute resolution—or ADR—has many proponents and detractors, but one Indiana attorney has devoted his practice exclusively to a biblically based ADR. Bill Blew, based in Fishers, uses a dispute resolution system developed by Montana-based Peacemaker AE Ministries.
To resolve disputes, ADR uses various approaches, such as mediation, arbitration and other methods designed to forge compromises in cases that might otherwise wind up in court. Proponents claim ADR provides a win/win situation, in which each side gets something it wants.
Critics note that settlements often don’t comport with existing law and end up going to court anyway. Also, many note that arbiters and conciliators are often paid by the employer, giving it an unfair advantage. Little hard data exist to support either side’s points.
Blew, a retired judge, opened his practice in 2006. He says his time on the bench showed him the legal system’s shortcomings. He notes that he “made decisions” as a judge but did not really “solve problems.” He hopes his new ADR practice allows him to do that.
Blew took the Peacemaker AE Ministries course after hearing founder Ken Sande speak at an Indianapolis conference on marriage.
The ADR approach, according to Blew, focuses on preserving relationships rather than just dividing money. Blew was so taken by the concept that he elected to devote his entire practice—called Crossroads Christian Conciliators (www.crossroadsconciliators.org)—to the ADR principle.