Litigation can be lengthy, costly and potentially damaging to the financial viability of a business and the financial security of an individual. Often, the parties can resolve their disputes without going to court by using alternative methods such as arbitration and mediation. Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) is an area of law devoted to settling disputes without using the court system. ADR is often a shorter and less costly process by which businesses and individuals can confidentially resolve their disputes.
Rincon Law Firm, PLLC has extensive experience resolving disputes through ADR. For this reason, the firm considers arbitration and mediation as an option for its clients to pursue prior to or during litigation.
Arbitration is similar to a trial without the formalities. It is an adversarial proceeding where the parties can call witnesses and present evidence to a neutral arbitrator or panel of arbitrators. The rules of discovery and evidence are relaxed to make it a shorter and more cost efficient process. An attorney or retired judge, who works for a private ADR firm, conducts the proceeding. Often, the parties select the arbitrator or panel of arbitrators. Arbitration can be binding, in which the arbitrator renders a decision that can be enforced by the courts, or non-binding, in which the arbitrator renders an advisory opinion that the parties can accept or reject.
Mediation is a process in which the parties seek the help of a neutral third-party to resolve their dispute or litigation through negotiation. Unlike arbitration, mediation is not a proceeding in which the neutral renders a decision. The mediator helps the parties reach an agreement by clarifying their positions and goals and encouraging them to work together. In mediation, the parties have the power to decide whether, and on what terms, to reach a resolution.
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