Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a method of resolving disputes without going to court. It provides a less formal and more expeditious way of reaching a consensus, and is often significantly less expensive than going to trial. Dispute resolution methods include arbitration and mediation. Our firm offers mediation services.
Mediation is one of the most popular alternatives for resolving civil disputes in the United States. Many lawyers and businesses now use mediation on a day-to-day basis to help resolve claims and litigation as quickly and efficiently as possible. Mediation can be a voluntary process between the parties, or ordered by a judge as an alternative to proceeding with a trial.
Unlike arbitration and litigation, mediation is confidential, and the mediator, a neutral third party, does not actually issue a binding decision in the matter. Instead, the mediator facilitates discussion between the two disputing parties and assists them in resolving the dispute by providing a forum to communicate openly. When necessary, the mediator serves as a resource to propose creative solutions based on experience and points of law.
Mediation works for many types of disputes – business and commercial claims, divorce and family disputes, tort claims, contract enforcement, partnership dissolution, estate claims, etc. In reality, any type of dispute can be resolved through mediation if the parties agree to participate. A lawsuit does not have to be filed to take advantage of mediation – and the size of the dispute does not matter. Mediation is a cost effective and efficient way to resolve disputes.
Mediation has many benefits over litigation:
Litigation frequently takes a long time. If the case goes to trial, it can be a year or more before a final verdict is reached. Mediation is usually much faster than litigation as there is no waiting for a court date.
Mediation promotes harmony. Because the parties are working together to reach an agreeable outcome, both parties are more likely to leave satisfied because they have agreed upon the outcome.
Compliance is more likely. Parties who have reached their own agreement through mediation are more likely to comply with the terms.
Mediation is more comprehensive. Court trial verdicts generally only address the legal issues. However, in mediation, other non-legal issues can be addressed and resolved as well.
If the parties cannot resolve their dispute through mediation, they may have to ultimately proceed to arbitration or trial to obtain a resolution.