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Benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution

two businessmen arm wrestling, benefits of alternative dispute resolution

Are you involved in a dispute with a business partner, customer, or family member? Do you dread the time and expense of litigation? You may be surprised to learn that it is possible to come to a mutually agreeable arrangement without the risks and costs of going to court. Learning what is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) may be a possible option for you.

Through arbitration or mediation, you and your opponent may find a way to reach an agreement that makes everyone happy. If you are asking, “What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?,” here are three important facts about ADR that you should know. 

1. It’s Faster than Litigation 

It is common knowledge that the wheels of justice tend to move slowly. Courts are overwhelmed with cases. 

In a lawsuit, you may have to wait months while each side undergoes discovery. There may be depositions and motions which take a long time to conduct and decide. Lawyers and judges go on vacation and have other cases that require delays.

Sometimes a party to a lawsuit will benefit from prolonging the judicial process and may use these delays to negotiate a better settlement.

In business,  time is money. You may be waiting on an important shipment, loan, or hire while court proceedings drag on. 

ADR is much faster than going through the court system. You can often come to a resolution in a matter of weeks or less, as opposed to months or even years. 

2. It’s Less Expensive 

Arbitration and mediation are different kinds of ADR. Depending on your dispute,  one may be more appropriate for you.

However, both methods of dispute resolution share this attribute: they are less expensive than litigation. Because they typically move more quickly than a traditional lawsuit, your legal bills will be much less. 

ADR does, like court, entail costs like filing fees. Depending on the nature of the dispute, these can be quite high. Securities disputes with such agencies as FINRA may total thousands of dollars. 

However, ADR is generally a much more cost-efficient way to settle legal disagreements than by going to trial. 

3. It Can Be More Flexible 

Whether you are dividing up assets in a divorce, trying to come to terms with a client, or separating from your business partner,  you may want to salvage the relationship. The high costs and intense win-lose stakes of litigation make it very dfficult to continue working with someone with whom you have engaged in a contenious court battle.

Arbitration allows for more flexible settlements than a judge’s decision or jury award. Because the venue itself has been decided consensually, the two parties have already decided to agree on certain terms.

The mediator or arbitrator will assist the parties in coming up with creative ways to satisfy both sides. Because the decision-maker is not a judge, they have more leeway proposing and considering alternate resolutions like payments over time, non-compete or confidentiality clauses, and other tactics that can allow the opponents to cooperate now and in the future.

If you are wondering if alternative dispute resolution is right for you, contact us. We may be able to help you iron out your legal dispute at a minimum of cost, time, and stress. 

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