Herbert Smith has launched a study into how effectively and efficiently alternative dispute resolution (ADR) can be used by in-house counsel.
The study, which will take place over the summer and be published in the autumn, is probing general counsel on how they currently use ADR options such as mediation and what difficulties they have encountered.
Alex Oddy, a litigation and arbitration partner at the firm, said the research will suggest steps general counsel could take to structure their departments to focus more on ADR.
"The results of the study should provide a toolkit that will recommend to in-house counsel and general counsel how they can use ADR in a more sophisticated way and use it more upstream in their business," explained Oddy.
He went on to explain that many legal departments have had difficulty embracing ADR as their companies are not able to put a value on its use.
"Businesspeople and company boards want to know the value of using ADR and this study will hopefully provide them with some idea of the numbers, though on the whole it's a qualitative survey," he added.
The scores of general counsel who will be contacted will also be asked what practical issues they would like addressed or what solutions they have so that these ideas can be added to the toolkit.
The news comes a week after Grant Thornton's forensic and investigation services practice revealed that in-house counsel believe that, other than the outcome, managing costs is the most decisive factor in measuring a law firm's success (The Lawyer, 25 June).