While litigation is a time-honored method of resolving disputes between parties in the court room, it is not the only method.  Alternative Dispute Resolution is an effective approach that can offer parties a faster and less costly process to resolve disputes to complex legal issues.  Alternative Dispute Resolution refers to any method of resolving disputes without litigation.  Alternative Dispute Resolution includes arbitration, mediation, and other forms of administrative hearings, some of which are mandatory and others are voluntary.

Some clients prefer to use Alternative Dispute Resolution instead of the court system for several reasons, including the fact that confidentiality is maintained and no public record is kept.  Also, Alternative Dispute Resolution can provide for reduced costs and can employ learned or expert fact-finders instead of a public jury.

Some specific examples of the more common Alternative Dispute Resolution alternatives pursued by our litigators include:

This involves the selection of one or more neutral third parties who render a binding decision following the presentation of evidence.  Arbitration may be compelled by court rule or by agreement of the parties, who typically share the expense.

This approach entails the use of a skilled neutral third party who does not have the power to impose a solution but assists the parties in arriving at their own confidential solution.  Parties retain ultimate control over the process and the resolution that may occur.

This proceeding is typically used in commercial disputes and involves a hearing before a neutral third party selected by the parties.  A mini-trial requires that senior representatives of each party with authority to settle the dispute attend the mini-trial.  It allows the parties to retain control over the outcome and provide an opportunity for flexible and creative solutions to disputes.

This entails negotiation between the parties with the assistance of their respective attorneys.  Negotiation is the most widely used form of alternative resolution that results in a settlement before trial of more than 90% of all disputes.  Such disputes may be both civil and criminal in nature.

This approach is a private proceeding in a courtroom overseen by a judge, with jurors selected in a manner similar to an ordinary jury trial.  Jurors will provide either a non-binding decision or can be empowered to provide a binding decision.  If parties agree that the jury’s decision is non-binding, parties typically engage in negotiation or mediation after the summary jury trial in order to resolve the dispute.