Representing Clients in Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”)
Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) is an important alternative method of helping people resolve their legal disputes rather than spending months and sometimes years of litigating a matter through the expensive litigation process in the state and federal courts.
ADR involves an independent third person, often called a “neutral,” who tries to help the parties resolve or narrow their areas of conflict. Albright, Stoddard, Warnick & Albright’s attorneys are recognized for their ability to assist their clients who desire to resolve their disputes outside of the formal judicial system, with its rigid discovery rules and sometimes lengthy delays. The two most common types of ADR are arbitration and mediation.
Arbitration is a process whereby a neutral third person, called an Arbitrator, acts as a privately paid judge and considers the facts and arguments presented by the parties and then renders a decision. Arbitration is an adversarial procedure which is similar to a trial, but it takes place in a conference room instead of a courtroom. It is usually binding with very few grounds of appeal. Parties to business and personal injury suits often hire one or more arbitrators to decide their disputes, since arbitration is often faster and less expensive than taking the matter to court. Often a contract will require that each party select one arbitrator and then the two thus chosen will designate the third member of the arbitration panel to consider and hear the dispute.
If a complaint is filed in court regarding a contract that contains an arbitration clause, then the opposing party must decide whether to pursue litigation and waive arbitration or move the court to enforce the arbitration provision.
Mediation, on the other hand, is a process whereby a neutral third person, called a Mediator, encourages and attempts to facilitate the mutual resolution of a dispute between two or more parties in an informal setting, typically an office affiliated with the mediator. Through Mediation, the parties to a dispute decide what is best for their own interests with the help of a Mediator. It is an informal and non-adversarial process where the disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable and voluntary agreement, unlike arbitration where a binding decision is made by the Arbitrator. Mediators meet with the parties and their attorneys, often in different rooms, and then explore various alternatives. The goal is for all concerned parties to leave with a mutually-beneficial resolution.
Albright, Stoddard, Warnick & Albright’s litigation attorneys are experienced in all forms of ADR. We can discuss with you the advantages and disadvantages of each method of ADR given the unique circumstances of each case. We help our clients achieve the best result whether a client’s dispute is being arbitrated, mediated or litigated.
Additionally, our senior attorney are available to serve as private mediators of litigation matters in the areas of their respective practices.