Dispute Resolution

What are the Alternatives?

Over the past several years, a new phrase has been bantered about by lawyers and business people.  That term is “Alternative Dispute Resolution” or ADR as it is often called.  So what is this ADR and how does it affect you?  Over the next three articles, we will look at ADR, as well as traditional dispute resolution forums, in an effort to explain the benefits and risks of each.

Initially, it is helpful to identify the various mediums commonly utilized to resolve disputes.  In this regard, it is easiest to view these options in terms of a spectrum.  On one end of the spectrum we have the options which allow for the most self-determination by the parties to the dispute.  On the other end of the spectrum we have the options through which the disputants relinquish control over the resolution process to a third party.  In such a case, the third party imposes a resolution on the disputants.

The following is a list of the most common types of dispute resolution, starting on the side of the spectrum which allows for the greatest self-determination.

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Mediation Alternative

Last we reviewed the various alternatives for dispute resolution.  These alternatives included:  1) One on One Negotiations; 2) Mediation; 3) Non-Binding Arbitration; 4) Binding Arbitration; 5) Court Trial, also referred to as a Bench Trial; and 6) Jury Trial.

Now we will examine mediation in more detail.  In reading the following, it should be noted that mediation is an extremely valuable and highly successful alternative for dispute resolution.  For this reason, you and your clients are strongly encouraged to use mediation whenever a legal dispute arises which cannot be resolved by way of “One on One Negotiations.”

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