Due to the costly and time consuming nature of litigation, our alternative dispute resolution lawyers strongly advise our clients to look at all manners in which to resolve a case fairly prior to initiating a civil action. We assist our clients in reviewing out-of-court settlement options before initiating a lawsuit. Some matters may be settled before the filing a lawsuit. The parties to a dispute may also choose to have their dispute resolved through alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or arbitration.
In mediation, the parties use a neutral third party to assist them reach a settlement. The third party is called a mediator. During or prior to mediation, the mediator shall be presented with each parties points of contention. Then the mediator will meet with each party privately to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each side’s case. The mediator will help each party identify the risks of their case and shall encourage each party to consider how those risks can affect their points of contention. The mediator does not have the power to force the parties to agree on a settlement, all he is able to do is to steer the parties toward a settlement.
Arbitration is an adversarial proceeding in which the parties select at least one neutral third party arbitrator to resolve their dispute. In arbitration, each party shall be allowed to present their case before an arbitrator. After each side present their case, the arbitrator decides whom wins the arbitration. The arbitration process is less formal and time consuming than the trial process. Arbitration arises from either a private agreement or it may be ordered by the courts or legislation. Parties to an arbitration proceeding may agree to settle their dispute using binding or non-binding arbitration. Binding arbitration cannot normally be appealed to a Court of law.