Trials can cost significant resources that are better devoted to other endeavors. That’s why alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, has grown in popularity in recent years. Most civil lawsuits settle without the need to go to trial, often with the assistance of ADR. If you have pending litigation in your business or personal matter, it’s essential to explore how SederLaw’s Alternative Dispute Resolution attorneys can work toward a positive outcome for all parties.
The Basics Of Alternative Dispute Resolution
ADR is the use of out-of-court methods to resolve civil lawsuits. Whereas trials can be costly and time-consuming, ADR can be a relatively quick and less expensive option. ADR offers parties a number of other crucial advantages over traditional litigation. Two of the most common ADR methods are mediation and arbitration.
Mediation. In this process, a neutral third party known as a mediator facilitates discussions between the parties with the hopes of reaching a mutually agreeable settlement. The mediator has no stake in the outcome and cannot make decisions for the parties. Rather, the mediator’s goal is to challenge the parties’ respective positions, explain how a court might rule on the matter, and explore potential settlement offers between the two sides.
Parties to mediation are encouraged to have legal counsel represent them through the process. The attorneys can review proposed settlements and explain the advantages and disadvantages of settling versus going to trial. Mediation can take place in as many or as few sessions as are needed. Mediation may resolve all or some issues between the parties, leaving unresolved matters for trial.
Arbitration. In arbitration, a neutral third party known as an arbitrator hears arguments and evidence from both sides related to the dispute. Unlike mediation, the arbitrator is empowered to decide the outcome. Arbitration is similar to a less formal version of court, and is often more relaxed than a courtroom setting. As with mediation, the parties may have legal counsel present during arbitration.
After considering the evidence and arguments from both sides, the arbitrator issues a decision called an award. The award is usually final and binding, meaning there is generally no right to appeal the outcome. However, the arbitration may be non-binding, which would allow a dissatisfied party to appeal the award to court. Arbitration is often required by contract as a means of encouraging parties to work out any conflicts that may arise.
Advantages Of ADR
Compared to taking a lawsuit to trial, mediation and arbitration offer these potential advantages:
Saves time and money. Trials involve discovery, multiple hearings, expert witnesses, and delays. Some can take years before a judgment is reached. By contrast, ADR can resolve cases in weeks or sometimes even days.
Confidentiality. ADR methods are confidential, meaning that offers to settle and statements made during ADR cannot later be used in court if the process fails and the lawsuit proceeds to trial. This confidentiality is designed to encourage frank and open discussions between the parties while preventing the public from having access to information the parties would rather keep private.
Subject-matter expertise. Parties can select a mediator or arbitrator who has background experience with the specific issues at stake. This contrasts with judges and juries, who have more general knowledge of these matters. The right ADR professional can therefore guide the parties to a more positive outcome.
Control over the outcome. Similarly, ADR allows the parties to decide the fate of their dispute, rather than leaving it in the hands of a judge and jury who cannot possibly understand the issues as well as they do. This allows for the parties to devise creative, mutually beneficial solutions that a court likely would not.
Preserves relationships. Trials are concerned primarily with who wins and who loses, and they can engender bitterness between the parties. Many relationships do not survive the stresses of trials. Conversely, ADR can help parties move past their disputes and continue doing business. It can even enhance the parties’ relationship by clarifying rights and expectations of each other moving forward.
Selecting The Right ADR Professional
At SederLaw, our attorneys represent parties during mediation and arbitration. But we also serve as neutral mediators and arbitrators in a variety of civil matters, including:
- Business, corporate, and general commercial litigation
- Construction lawsuits
- Employment disputes
- Environmental law
- Estate planning disputes
- Divorce and domestic litigation
- Insurance law
- Real estate
- Personal injury
Because our mediators and arbitrators are attorneys, we understand the relevant laws that govern your particular dispute. We also have broad experience across a number of different industries, businesses, and practice areas, so we’re familiar with the issues at stake in your civil matter. SederLaw prides itself on successfully and professionally mediating and arbitrating cases to the mutual benefit of the parties involved.
Contact Our Alternative Dispute Resolution Attorney
No matter the type of civil dispute facing you or your organization, SederLaw is ready to mediate or arbitrate with an eye towards successful and cost-effective resolution. Reach out to us to learn more about the advantages of ADR and how it can benefit you. Contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation.
SederLaw helps clients with alternative dispute resolutions in Worcester from their primary office as well as clients throughout MetroWest from their Westborough office.