If you are facing a lawsuit, you may think that going to court is the only option to fight it. However, litigation is expensive and time-consuming.
Fortunately, there are other methods that are less expensive and less contentious. Alternative dispute resolution methods often replace litigation, and they are becoming popular ways to deal with conflicts.
Benefits of alternative dispute resolution
According to the United States Office of Personnel Management, there are numerous advantages to choosing ADR over court litigation:
- Saves time and money
- Quicker resolutions
- Offers creative solutions
- Less stressful
Types of ADR
According to the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute, the two most common types of alternative dispute resolution are mediation and arbitration. Both include a neutral third party, but the methods of each process differ.
In mediation, a mediator works with both parties to come to a settlement agreement. The mediator allows both sides to argue their side and make their requests. If necessary, the mediator may offer creative solutions for negotiation. The discussions and agreement itself are confidential, and the agreement is not binding.
Arbitration is a bit more formal than mediation, and the process is similar to a court trial, with simplified rules of evidence and limited discovery. An arbitrator listens to arguments from each party’s attorneys. After examining evidence, listening to witness testimony and hearing the arguments, the arbitrator makes a decision. This decision is binding, and the process generally does not allow for appeals. There may be a single arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators that weighs evidence and issues the binding decision or award.