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Alternative Dispute Resolution

Every business dispute, however minor it may seem at the time, has the potential to become a troublesome, and expensive, lawsuit. In today's business environment, your best course of action is to have a tough commercial litigation attorney on your side.

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Alternative Dispute Resolution

Commercial litigation can be very costly, in terms of not only the money that may be expended, but also the time and energy involved. Consequently, many attorneys and businesspeople have looked for different ways of resolving disputes. An experienced commercial litigation attorney at Sanders & Parks, P.C. in Phoenix, AZ, can help you determine if one of these alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods is right for your case. In some cases, courts have ordered parties to participate in some form of alternative dispute resolution. Whether you are ordered to participate in ADR, or choose it voluntarily, it is important to have capable legal counsel to assist you in the proceedings.

Arbitration

Arbitration is required by contract in some industries. In addition, contracts between two parties often contain an arbitration clause providing that any dispute related to the contract will be resolved through arbitration. In others cases, parties may agree to submit their cases to arbitration or a court may order arbitration as a means of helping to manage an overloaded court calendar.

Arbitration is similar to a trial. A neutral party, known as an arbitrator (in some cases, there may be more than one), is chosen to hear the case. He or she hears the case, much as a judge would. The arbitrator evaluates the evidence, and makes a decision based on that evidence. If the parties have agreed in advance, the arbitrator's decision is binding on both parties. If the decision is binding, it will be enforced by the courts, and will be overturned only in limited circumstances. Although arbitration is not a trial, you still need legal counsel to make an effective presentation of your case to the arbitrator.

Arbitration is convenient and informal, compared to a trial and offers a number of other benefits. First, arbitration is confidential, so there will be no public record of the proceedings, unlike court records, which are often available to the public unless they are sealed. Arbitration is quicker than a trial. There is limited discovery in arbitration, so there is no need for extensive discovery, which can get rather costly. Further, the arbitrator often has expertise in the subject matter of the dispute. Next, the parties will save money on legal fees and costs due to the limited discovery, informal hearings and shorter duration. Finally, arbitration may allow the parties to preserve their business relationship. Whereas litigation often destroys a relationship, because arbitration is less adversarial and more informal, it may be possible for the parties to continue their business dealings.

Mediation

Mediation is sometimes confused with arbitration, but the two are distinct processes, and have different purposes. Mediation is a consensual process in which a mediator facilitates the parties' negotiations and helps them reach a voluntary agreement that will end their dispute.

Like arbitration, mediation starts with the appointment or selection of a neutral third party to conduct the process. The mediator's job is not to make a decision. The purpose of the mediator is to help the parties reach a settlement agreement in their case.

A mediator will listen to the parties, offer suggestions and generally do whatever he or she can to help the parties come to their own resolution of the dispute. The mediator generally shuttles back and forth between the parties, relaying their positions to the other side and helping them reach a resolution. No decision is handed down, and nothing is imposed on either party without consent. The goal is for the parties to reach an agreement. If they do not reach an agreement, the mediation concludes. Effective presentation of your case is as important in trying to reach a settlement as it is in arguing before the court, and an experienced attorney will be able to present your case in the best possible light.

Speak to a commercial litigation lawyer

The use of ADR is spreading. Whether you undertake arbitration or mediation because of a court order or by agreement with the other parties to your dispute, the use of ADR is likely to reduce both the time and cost of litigation. A commercial litigation attorney at Sanders & Parks, P.C. in Phoenix can represent you and your interests in alternative dispute resolution proceedings, and help you obtain the best outcome possible.

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DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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