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CPR Publishes Early Case Assessment Guidelines

From John DeGroote’s Settlement Perspectives

You can’t settle your case before you know what it’s worth — or at least you shouldn’t — so we discussed why it’s best to value your dispute before settlement discussions start a few months ago.  This fact has driven an entire series on Early Case Assessments here on Settlement Perspectives, and it’s clear I’m not the only in-house ECA fan out there.

The International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution, known also as the CPR Institute, has recently published CPR’s Early Case Assessment “ECA” Guidelines (2009), which are designed to “set forth a process designed to help businesses decide early on how to manage disputes, including identifying key business concerns, assessing risks and costs, and making an informed choice or recommendation on how to handle the dispute.”  They certainly meet their objectives.

CPR’s Early Case Assessment Guidelines

The guidelines themselves are divided into five sections, each of which deserves a read:

  1. CPR’s Definition of ECA;
  2. Benefits of Utilizing Early Case Assessment;
  3. CPR Rationale for Developing the ECA Guidelines;
  4. Setting the Stage for Successful Early Case Assessment; and
  5. Utilizing the CPR ECA Guidelines.

Additional ECA Materials from CPR

Importantly, CPR’s Guidelines are backed by truly helpful resources in .pdf format, including:

Recent Press on CPR’s Early Case Assessment Efforts

CPR Institute President and CEO Kathy Bryan has followed up on these guidelines and CPR’s other efforts to make sure ECA stays at the top of the in-house agenda with a recent Metropolitan Corporate Counsel article.  Bryan provides us with a quote not unlike one you might have seen here on Settlement Perspectives before:

We think that the sooner early case assessment can be done – and it can be done 30 to 60 days after a complaint is filed – the greater the likelihood of an early resolution at minimum cost.

We couldn’t agree more.

Stop by the CPR website at when you can. You’ll be glad you did.


John DeGroote

John serves as a mediator and arbitrator in complex business, technology, and intellectual property matters involving parties and interests around the country and beyond — often before litigation is filed. Prior to his service as a mediator and arbitrator, John served as the lead settlement negotiator in hundreds of cases,… MORE >

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