The conventional wisdom regarding the disposition of disputes filed in court is that most of them settle before trial. This generalization holds true, although settlement rates vary from court to court and include cases in which the defendant defaults or the plaintiff fails to pursue the action. Over the last two decades, many courts have instituted an array of procedures to both encourage earlier resolution of disputes and offer more structure to the settlement process. 1 These procedures generally are called alternative dispute resolution (ADR) because they function outside the framework of traditional civil litigation. Two of the most commonly adopted forms of ADR are mediation and court-annexed arbitration.