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Mediation, Arbitration, and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Disputes and disagreements sometimes arise, despite the best of intentions. From contract disputes and allegations of breach of contract, to disputes between business partners, claims of copyright infringement, patent infringement, violations of non-disclosure agreements, disclosure of trade secrets and unfair competition, there are many business situations that require resolution.
Alternative Dispute Resolution, or ADR, offers a set of tools to avoid costly legal battles. Several ADR options may be available as an alternative to court processes. These options include mediation, arbitration, negotiation and collaborative practice. ADR processes can be used to settle business-related challenges without the need for public and often very expensive court dispositions. One or more of the various ADR options can be employed to resolve a particular case. For example, while mediation is more cooperative in nature, some processes like arbitration are more traditionally adversarial. In arbitration, a third party decides the case, much as a judge or jury would make a ruling in the courts.
Alternative dispute resolution can be quite useful for resolving business-related legal matters in a prompt, cost-effective, confidential and streamlined manner. Sandman Law Office, is available to assist with a range of ADR know-how, combining experience with trusted and respected tools and processes, including negotiation, arbitration, mediation, and negotiated agreements. Issues arising from patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets and unfair competition can be resolved with experienced assistance from an ADR professional.
Licensed attorney Lori Sandman has extensive ADR experience, including resolution of domestic, contractual and intellectual property conflicts. Ms. Sandman is certified in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Collaborative Law Practice (PACP). Her experience includes mediation with Native American tribes in Montana and contractual and family ADR in Berks County, Pennsylvania, serving as court-approved mediator and arbitrator. This has afforded her some unique insights into the mediation and arbitration process. She is also a Florida Supreme Court Civil/Circuit Certified mediatior.•
What is Mediation and How is it Used to Resolve Business Disputes?
Mediation is a cooperative process, where both parties work together to negotiate and arrive at a fair, mutually-agreeable resolution. In a mediation setting, both parties may be represented by attorneys, who can serve in an advisory capacity, in addition to helping with the negotiation process. An objective third party – a mediator –works to ensure that the negotiations and discussions remain productive.
Mediation for business disputes can frequently lead to a mutually acceptable resolution. This can be especially good where the parties must continue working with each other. For example, imagine that you’re at odds with a prospective business partner and simply cannot arrive at a mutually-agreeable contract for your partnership. You might opt to engage in mediation so you can explore various real-world solutions and settle on a resolution that works for everyone involved. Of course, mediation doesn’t always work. In many cases, you may proceed to arbitration or to the courtroom.•
What is Arbitration? How is Arbitration Used to Resolve a Dispute?
Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution, similar to mediation in that you have two or more parties, each with the option to have an attorney on-hand. There’s also one or more objective third parties known as an arbitrator or arbitral tribunal.
The arbitration process is similar to the process used in court. Each party presents their argument and at the conclusion of the proceedings, the arbitrator or tribunal will make a legally binding decision, just as a judge or jury would do. The parties typically agree to be bound by the arbitrator’s decision (although non-binding arbitration does exist).
While a mediator works to help both parties arrive at a compromise, an arbitrator simply evaluates both arguments and determines which argument has more merit.•
What Are the Other Types of Alternative Dispute Resolution?
There are a few other types of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), such as neutral evaluation. Neutral evaluation can be a very effective tool, particularly if you’re unsure if you want to proceed to arbitration or the courtroom. Neutral evaluation usually involves an objective evaluator who’s familiar in the area of law that’s being discussed. Both sides present their case and the evaluator renders a non-binding evaluation on the case’s merits.
Neutral evaluation gives you a better idea of the strengths and weaknesses in your case (and in the other party’s case). This can help you to decide how (and if) to proceed in an effort to arrive at some sort of resolution or decision.
Another form of ADR is called collaborative law, although this form of ADR most often applies to family law and divorce cases, whereby the parties’ attorneys and other professionals work in a collaborative manner to arrive at a fair resolution.