Guiding Clients Through Alternative Dispute Resolution
Despite how complicated an issue may seem, not every issue needs to be litigated or taken to trial. Through negotiation, mediation and arbitration, IN PACTA has helped hundreds of people reach positive results without the expense and unpredictability of traditional litigation.
We are a firm committed to helping clients reach an end to their cases. Whether you are involved in a personal injury case, business law matter, employment law dispute or another issue involving litigation, our Seattle/Tacoma area firm can assist you in finding a solution to the situation.
What Is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?
Alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, has come to encompass a broad class of methods for resolving disputes outside of the courtroom – the traditional arbiter of disputes. Aimed at saving time, money and the underlying relationship between the parties, ADR can be a valuable surrogate to filing suit. The most well-known forms of ADR include negotiation, mediation and arbitration. It is important to note as well that, with the legal and public communities’ acceptance of ADR, these extrajudicial “alternative” methods are also finding their way INTO the courtroom.
Types Of ADR
There are three main methods of ADR that are typically considered:
- Arbitration: Though similar to litigation in terms of structure and finality, arbitration allows the parties more flexibility than court-based proceedings, including permitting the parties to choose their own judge (or arbitrator, as the person is known), timetable and procedural rules. With multilateral conventions opening the way for the use of arbitration and the enforcement of arbitral awards, the inclusion of this method of dispute resolution in international contracts is crucial to a successful representation.
- Mediation: This is a method for extrajudicial dispute resolution which utilizes a neutral third party (the mediator) to help facilitate settlement or compromise. The structure or format for the mediation is largely left to the parties. If the parties agree to the mediator’s recommendations, they may sign a settlement agreement to that effect, which can then be enforced as a contract. While mediation can benefit the parties (by keeping costs down, speeding up the resolution process and permitting the parties to continue their relationship), its major drawback is the lack of finality. If one party disagrees with the mediator’s decision, the mediation may simply fail.
- Negotiation: Negotiations are the base method for dispute resolution and are also the strategic, least-invasive first step to dispute resolution. Here parties (or their counsel) agree to meet and attempt to work out differences without third-party involvement. When drafting contracts between parties, it’s a good idea to include a requirement in the contract that the parties attempt to negotiate, in good faith, a solution to any problem that may arise during the course of the performance of the contract.