The Multi-Door Contract and Other Possibilities

102 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2012

See all articles by Thomas Stipanowich

Thomas Stipanowich

Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law

Date Written: March 4, 2012


The pressure of recent legislative, judicial and administrative developments and increasing awareness of the possibilities of other alternatives is encouraging unprecedented experimentation in the consensual arena. As courts and agencies have experimented with a range of solutions to more effectively address the many and varied controversies presented to them, litigators have been exposed to the possibilities of purposive third party intervention prior to adjudication. At the same time, nonlawyers have recoiled from the perceived high costs of 'Total Process' in the litigation mode and have become more proactive in their approaches to conflict. Gradually, both these trends are feeding, together and separately, into the process of contract planning with results which may ultimately far transcend the capabilities of court settings. The time is ripe to take stock of current developments in the arena of private contract and assess the possibilities of movement beyond the stock and static approaches of the past. Our model is the 'relational' world of construction contracting in which multiple parties are wedded for an extended time to produce a one-of-a-kind product under a potentially wide range of economic and climatic conditions. In this world, conflict is not only likely, but well-nigh inevitable. These realities, which have long conditioned parties to the use of out-of-court approaches to conflict, have now stimulated a veritable reformation in contract planning and conflict resolution. The active players are not only attorneys, but nonlawyers who see themselves as rivals of the legal community and remediators of its impact.

Keywords: arbitration, mediation, multi-door courthouse, multi-door contract, conflict management, dispute review board, partnering, dispute resolution advisor, standing neutral, conflict manager

Suggested Citation

Stipanowich, Thomas, The Multi-Door Contract and Other Possibilities (March 4, 2012). Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, Vol. 13, No. 2, 1998, Available at SSRN:

Thomas Stipanowich (Contact Author)

Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law ( email )

24333 Baxter Drive
Malibu, CA 90265
United States
310-506-4389 (Phone)
310-506-4437 (Fax)

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