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Writing аn Alternative Dispute Resolution: A Handy Guide

Sometimes being a lawyer means learning how to settle things outside of the court room. That’s why alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, is a common law-school topic. So, chances are, you’re going to have to write about it sooner or later.

Narrow down your topic

An alternative dispute resolution essay follows the same format of a standard paper. ADR is really an umbrella topic that houses multiple facets of the larger idea. As such, the best place to start is with deciding what your goal is with writing. What topic do you want to cover within the umbrella topic, and what is your overall goal? This will help you determine if your essay will be:

  • Argumentative
  • Informative
  • Comparative
  • Or interrogative

If you’re going to argue a point, you’re writing an argumentative essay. If you only want to inform the reader about a certain type of ADR, that’s an informative piece. If you’re comparing different types of ADR, you’re writing a comparative essay. Raising questions about an aspect of the process falls under the category of interrogative. You can’t know what style of essay you’re writing until you narrow down your topic, so that’s your first step.

Research and Outline

Once you know what you’re writing about and how you will be presenting the information, it’s time to crack open the books. Keep track of important points and begin to flesh out the structure of your paper as you research. Once you’ve gained enough information, make a rough outline and continue to revise it as you fill in the gaps with your information.

It’s time to write

No matter what your focus is or what type of piece you’re writing, ADR is a technical subject. As such, your main goal is to ensure you’ve organized the information well throughout the paper. A well-organized paper will have a good flow of information, use transitional phrases to shift between points, and will follow the introduction/body/conclusion format. Check out the following writing tips if you need a little more guidance:

  • Stick to your topic
  • You’d be surprised how easy it is to stray from the main focus of your essay, especially with a subject as broad as alternative dispute resolution. The thesis statement in your introduction not only informs the reader as to your intent, it can also serve to guide you as you write. If you feel you’re getting off topic, revisit your thesis statement and ask if your providing extraneous information. If you feel the information is necessary, but it’s not obvious from your thesis statement, then maybe it’s time to rewrite your statement to better reflect the focus of the paper.

  • Trust yourself as you write
  • The worst mistake a writer can make, no matter what the topic is, is to edit as you go. While it can be tempting to stress over every word and grammar choice, especially with a such a technical subject, this will negatively affect your writing. Trust that your research and organization has prepared you to present the information well, and save the editing for your second draft.

  • The kitchen sink doesn’t belong in your essay
  • If you try to include everything you learned about alternative dispute resolution in a single piece of writing, you’re going to end up with a mess. This is the importance of narrowing down from the umbrella topic while also adhering to the style that best fits your ultimate goal. For example, try sticking to two or three types of ADR if you’ve decided to compare and contrast. If you are arguing a point, stick to the information that is most important to validating your thesis.

The main thing to remember when you’re writing is that you’ve got this. You are intelligent and, with a little hard work, you will produce something great!