Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute ResolutionIn recent years, alternative dispute resolutions have become an increasingly common method of resolving disputes in the legal system. Many courts and private parties are using these methods as a way to resolve disputes and avoid engaging in litigation. Additionally, more and more commercial contracts, such as credit card contracts, are requiring some type of alternative dispute resolution, whether it be mediation and/or arbitration, before a dispute can be brought to court.

During arbitration or mediation, the process is less formal, takes less time, and is typically more cost effective than undertaking a traditional litigation path. Some parties also prefer these methods because the matters can be heard privately and remain confidential. The methods used in these alternative venues require a different set of skills and training that a regular attorney may not possess. With this increase in the use of alternative dispute resolutions, parties and their attorneys need to select an attorney that has experience in these methods, both in terms of representing a party and serving as a mediator or arbitrator.

What is the Difference between Mediation and Arbitration?

The difference between mediation and arbitration as forms of alternative dispute resolution is the method of determining the outcome. In mediation, the mediator’s goal is to facilitate an agreement between the parties. In arbitration, the format resembles a more traditionally litigated case with the arbitrator deciding on the outcome, much in the manner of a judge in a legal case.

When is Mediation Appropriate?

Certain types of dispute are not appropriate for litigation. In these instances, parties are often frustrated at the lack of options available for an equitable resolution.

In other instances a party may be stuck in litigation and can see no way out. As the costs of litigation continue to rise and there are continued delays, which are inherent to the litigation process, an alternative method is often attractive. In these types of scenarios mediation can often provide a more sensible way to resolve the matter.

The attorneys at Benner and Wild have all received formal mediation training. Most recently, Gavin Laboski, successfully completed the three day training course on mediation offered by the Centers For Resolution in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Our attorneys have participated in mediations on behalf of clients in matters involving, neighbor disputes, EEOC claims, construction disputes, business disputes, real estate disputes and other commercial matters.

When is Arbitration Appropriate?

Mandatory arbitration clauses are more and more common in recent years when engaging in business or signing contracts. Companies recognize that traditional litigation simply takes too long and is too expensive. In addition to our experience in mediating matters, our attorneys have extensive experience serving as arbitrators and representing parties in arbitration in several areas of the law including, personal injury matters, commercial disputes, construction litigation and real estate matters.

If you are an attorney in need of a neutral arbitrator or mediator or are someone involved in a dispute where you believe an alternative dispute resolution would be a preferred course of action, please contact us to find out how we can help.