United States District Court - Northern District Court of California

Claudia Wilken, Chief Judge

Richard W. Wieking, Clerk of Court

Overview of the ADR Multi-Option Program

The ADR Multi-Option Program is designed to encourage litigants to use ADR and to provide parties with sophisticated assistance in identifying the ADR process that is best suited to their particular case.

Most civil cases are automatically assigned at filing to the ADR Multi-Option Program under ADR Local Rule 3 (.pdf).  In this program, litigants are required to familiarize themselves with ADR by reading the court’s ADR handbook (.pdf), and they are presumptively required to participate in one of the non-binding ADR process offered by the court.  The processes are:

Alternatively, with the assigned judge’s permission, the parties may substitute an ADR process offered by a private provider.  More customized options are also available. More about Other Processes…

For more information and a chart that highlights the key differences among the ADR processes, please visit our How to Choose an ADR Process page.

The initial case management scheduling order sets a deadline for certifying that the parties have read the ADR handbook and for stipulating to an ADR process is established.  The deadline is ordinarily about 3 weeks before the initial case management conference.  If the parties have not submitted a stipulation by the deadline, the ADR office schedules an ADR Phone Conference with a member of the ADR Legal Staff, who will assist the parties in selecting an appropriate ADR process.  If necessary, the ADR Legal Staff makes a recommendation about ADR to the assigned judge, who may order the case to an ADR process even if one or more of the parties objects.