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Is mediation or arbitration an option in your legal dispute?

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2024 | Mediation & Arbitration

In any legal dispute there is the potential for acrimony to build between the parties involved. In an adversarial arrangement like the US judicial system, it is only natural for each side to think their version of facts is the correct one and that the other party is just flat-out wrong. As a result, it can oftentimes be difficult for parties in a lawsuit to consider options to compromise or negotiate. So, is mediation or arbitration an option in your legal dispute?

ADR options

Mediation and arbitration are processes that fall under the general umbrella term “alternative dispute resolution” – commonly referred to as “ADR.” No matter what ADR option parties might consider to attempt to resolve a legal dispute, the general idea of ADR is that the parties attempt to find ways to consider common ground, compromise and, hopefully, find a mutually satisfactory end to the legal dispute.

Arbitration is the more formal of the ADR options. In fact, arbitration can even seem more like courtroom litigation – the parties will present their evidence and arguments, but they are attempting to convince an independent arbitrator instead of a judge or jury. The key to arbitration is the parties’ consent to participate and be bound by the ultimate decision of the arbitrator.

Mediation is usually much more laid-back. In mediation, the parties will typically be at the same location, but in separate rooms. Then, the third-party mediator will go back-and-forth between the parties to discuss ideas to resolve the case, point out differences in facts and, ultimately, try to hammer out a settlement agreement that can be presented to the court for approval.