Save Time and Money With Alternative Dispute Resolution
In certain industries, lawsuits are accepted as a price of doing business. But when a legal battle breaks out, the costs can be prohibitive. Tied up in court for years on end, both sides can end up spending a fortune in legal fees. It is no wonder alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has emerged as a viable legal option.
What is ADR?
ADR is defined as any method of resolving disputes outside of the courtroom. There are no judges, no jurors, and far fewer rules. In other words, it’s a simplified version of dispute resolution that gets to the heart of the matter more expeditiously. Though rules do differ, arbitration and mediation are the two most common forms of alternative dispute resolution. Let us take a moment to discuss them individually.
A highly informal legal option, mediation is essentially a negotiation process between the two opposing parties. An impartial observer called a mediator listens to both sides then tries to work out an agreement between them. Depending on the style of mediation, the mediator may or may not place a value on the case. This potential settlement can be accepted or rejected by either side. Only when both parties agree can a legally-binding, completely confidential contract be signed.
When is It Used?
The primary advantage of mediation over other resolution methods is its incredible versatility. The option has been used in a wide range of cases, from labor grievances to multi-billion dollar securities fraud cases.
Much closer to litigation than mediation, arbitration allows lawyers introduce evidence and argue in front of a panel that decides the case. They may not be judges, mind you, but arbitrators do have the authority to decide who wins and how much. In almost all instances, the decision is legally binding on both sides.
When is It Used?
Arbitration proceedings are often more expeditious than clogged court rooms. On average, hearings tend to last for only a few days or 10 days at most.
Last but not least, all opinions are not a matter of public record. That fact alone makes arbitration an attractive option to settle business disputes that you may not want to see hashed out in the papers. In recent years, securities, construction, and labor disputes have been quickly and quietly handled through arbitration.
What to Look For in an Arbitration Attorney?
Because it is a growing area of legal practice, inexperienced attorneys may be dabbling in this. The only problem is that most of them know next to nothing about alternative dispute resolution, since it is a highly specialized field that requires first-hand knowledge to learn. That is why we strongly suggest that you find an attorney who has dozens of ADR cases under his belt. It is also a big plus if he has international ADR experience, since the rules of arbitration and mediation may differ from country to country.