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Honoree Headshot

Rich Lee

Co-Founder & CEO
New Era ADR

Location: Cook County
Year Founded: 2020
Industry Group Specific: Technology and Legal

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Serving as the top lawyer for two tech companies, Rich Lee experienced the reality that no business ever wants to fight a lawsuit. “Executives just want to get rid of disputes as soon and inexpensively as possible because, even when the law and facts are in their favor, actual litigation is a net loser,” said Lee.

Partnering with his friend Collin Williams and two other co-founders, Lee launched New Era ADR to do something about this problem.

New Era ADR addresses inherent problems in litigation and traditional alternative dispute resolution forums, which are bogged down by protocols and procedures that are unnecessary for most disputes. New Era ADR provides truly alternative dispute resolution that helps parties resolve disputes more efficiently and cost-effectively with mediators and arbitrators of equal or better quality than the judges or neutrals found in courts or traditional forums.

Since its inception in 2020, New Era ADR has raised a total of $7.8 million, built a platform that cuts average dispute resolution times from hundreds of days to fewer than 100 days and designed a streamlined set of dispute resolution procedures. The firm serves Fortune 500 companies to venture capital-backed startups and has signed 60 former judges and highly qualified mediators and arbitrators to serve as neutrals for the firm.

“Rich Lee is a titan in the dispute resolution industry because he is fostering its necessary evolution,” said his colleagues. “He saw companies and consumers forego fighting for their rights even when they had a good chance to prevail because litigation is so onerous that the only smart play is usually to end the case as soon as possible.”

According to his staff, titans gain power and influence by turning big ideas into reality, and that’s what Lee is doing with New Era ADR. “Rich is most proud of how his work can make it easier for businesses and individuals to resolve disputes,” they said.

In addition, he is active in the community and the industry, serving on a panel for the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium, the national Leader’s Council of the Legal Services Corporation and on the board of Illinois Legal Aid Online.

“It’s easy to stay passionate when we’re building something that truly improves all of society – not just businesses or the privileged few,” said Lee. “I’m proud that my deep sense of empathy and intuition allows me to put myself in other people’s shoes in a way that I’ve not witnessed with others.”

For his passion and intuition as a leader, Lee has been named a titan.

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Truly bringing the human side to business-building and people management. I'm proud that my deep sense of empathy and intuition allows me to put myself in other people's shoes in a way that I've not witnessed with others. That's served me well in all settings involving clients, investors, employees, and in turning doubters into believers. Not to mention, with my family

What is Your Superpower?

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