Center for Environmental Policy and Administration

Public Managers, Attorneys and Alternative Dispute Resolution of Environmental and Natural Resources Conflicts: Results and Implications of a National Survey

Author:Rosemary O'Leary and Maja Husar
Date: December 2002
Publication:International Journal of Public Administration, 25(11), pp. 1267-1280

Public managers spend much of their careers resolving disputes. Many of these disputes involve attorneys representing concerned citizens or representing the public managers themselves. In the last two decades, a variety of techniques commonly called alternative dispute resolution (ADR) have been touted as ways to avoid lengthy and sometimes tumultuous court cases. This article reports the findings of a year 2000 national survey of attorneys’ attitudes concerning ADR as applied to environmental and natural resources conflicts. It is the first wave of a longitudinal study funded by the Hewlett Foundation to track attorneys’ changing – or unchanging – views of environmental and natural resources ADR. After highlighting the most significant findings of the national survey, this article examines the implications for public managers who resolve disputes, work with attorneys, or find themselves embroiled in litigation.


Rosemary O'Leary
Center for Environmental Policy and Administration
The Maxwell School, Syracuse University
Revised 06/14/2006 13:06:05