Business law disputes don’t necessarily have to end up in front of a judge. Alternative dispute resolution may be a more effective, cost-efficient manner of resolving them. Rather than be bound by a court’s win-lose ruling, alternative dispute resolution allows parties to devise creative and mutually beneficial solutions to their legal issues. It’s important to have knowledgeable counsel conduct alternative dispute resolution in your matter. That’s where Peter Papagianakis and Business Law Firm LLC, are ready to serve you and your organization.
What Is Alternative Dispute Resolution?
Alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, is a set of methods other than litigation to resolve legal disputes. The objective of ADR is to save money and time by avoiding a trial. It can also be used to devise creative solutions to lawsuits that a judge likely would not come up with. Rather than being forced to accept the win-lose outcome of a trial, ADR solutions offer the chance to come up with mutually beneficial approaches to settling business disagreements.
ADR is often required by contract to resolve issues that arise between parties. In some matters, the court overseeing business litigation may order the parties to conduct ADR. In still other cases, the parties are free to choose alternative dispute resolution to avoid a lawsuit. Regardless of how they arrive at ADR, mediation and arbitration are two of the most common methods used.
Mediation involves a neutral third party, known as a mediator, who helps the parties attempt to compromise and reach a mutually acceptable agreement to resolve the dispute. The mediator does not decide any issues, but instead facilitates productive and positive discussions between the parties and their legal counsel. An effective mediator is familiar with the details of the business issues at stake as well as the law that would guide a judge’s decision in court.
One goal of a mediator is to help the parties understand that they have the power to settle the case on their terms, as opposed to allowing a judge to do so. Mediation is confidential, so the parties can frankly and honestly talk about the dispute without fear that an offer to settle will later be used against either of them.
Arbitration, on the other hand, can be thought of as a less formal, out-of-court “trial.” With arbitration, a neutral individual known as an arbitrator hears evidence and arguments related to the dispute and decides the outcome. Arbitration is confidential and the rules of evidence and procedure are more relaxed compared to court. In many cases, the parties can choose their arbitrator.
There are two kinds of arbitration: binding (in which the parties are obligated to accept the arbitrator’s decision) and non-binding (in which a dissatisfied party may request a formal trial).
What Are The Benefits Of ADR?
Compared to a court trial, ADR offers the following potential advantages to handling a business dispute:
Saves money and time. ADR typically saves money and time that might otherwise be spent in a drawn-out trial. Litigation generally requires hearings, discovery, expert witness testimony, and numerous other steps compared to the less formal ADR process.
More conducive to settlement. The methods used in ADR create a more favorable environment for a settlement to occur. For example, mediation is a confidential process by which the parties can openly discuss their issues without worrying that an offer to settle will later be used against them in a trial. ADR also encourages creative outcomes that courts often don’t have the time or inclination to devise.
Confidential. As mentioned above, ADR methods are confidential. This not only helps the parties settle but can allay concerns about certain details becoming a matter of public record. Parties often want to prevent the general public from learning about trade secrets, business processes, and other confidential information.
Specialized knowledge. Mediators and arbitrators typically have specialized knowledge about the various and often complicated aspects of the business dispute in question. Conversely, judges might not possess such knowledge. Generally, it is beneficial to have someone familiar with the business issues that pertain to your matter to help resolve them.
Preserves business relationships. Trials, which are concerned with who wins and who loses, can trigger bitter hostility between business partners and companies. This can threaten their ability to work together in the future. ADR in many cases actually improves business relationships and leads to greater satisfaction with the outcome.
How Peter Papagianakis and Business Law Firm LLC Can Help
Our firm represents business law clients in alternative dispute resolution, regardless of whether it’s required by contract, ordered by a court, or chosen by the parties. Whether mediation or arbitration will be used, we begin by explaining how the process can help resolve the issue. Then we get to work reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of your case compared with those of the other party.
This process continues during the actual mediation or arbitration. In mediation, we explain your position to the mediator and consider offers to settle the matter. This includes discussing the legal consequences of a settlement, the obligations it would impose on both parties, and the advantages or disadvantages compared with going forward to trial.
During arbitration, we produce the evidence and arguments needed to convince the arbitrator to decide in your favor. We also explain the governing law and how it could affect the outcome of the matter. Settlement is always an option, so we keep lines of communication with the opposing party open by proposing and considering offers.
We review all legal documents generated during mediation or arbitration (including settlement agreements) and explain what they mean. If mediation fails, or you are not satisfied with the outcome of non-binding arbitration, we can take your matter to court.
Contact Our New York Alternative Dispute Resolution Attorney
Selecting legal counsel to represent you in ADR is a critical step in protecting your rights and interests. If ADR is in your future, or you are considering it to handle a business conflict, turn to Peter Papagianakis and Business Law Firm LLC. Call today to learn more.