Commercial disputes both big and small are bound to happen and will likely be a part of the future of all businesses. Whether that dispute is a mere annoyance or full-blown nightmare and financial disaster may well hinge on how the parties to the dispute seek to resolve their differences.
Many business owners and executives are at least minimally familiar with litigation, or the “I’ll see you in court” variety of dispute resolution. Indeed, our society has a long and storied history of cases in which parties and their attorneys are engaged in a struggle to convince both judges and juries that they are right and that they should win. But at what cost?
One of the most significant sources of frustration we hear from parties locked in the grips of litigation, aside from complaints about seemingly endless costs and delays and inexplicable, complicated and archaic procedures and rituals, is that it actually prevents resolution and denies the opportunity for those involved in the dispute to “tell their story” as to how the dispute came about and how it has affected them. They feel that the process and artful lawyering have displaced the merits of the underlying dispute. For those stuck in the adversarial model of litigation where the focus is on clobbering one’s opponent into submission with well pled accusations, motions and discovery, even those who have initiated the litigation with great righteousness and fervor, can often be heard wondering aloud “isn’t there a better way.” To most who endure the multi-year process from pleadings through trial, whether they “win” or “lose” the litigation, the outcome is not one of overwhelming elation or even satisfaction, but one of relief for having survived the process.
With this blog we will engage in a conversation about alternatives to litigation, more specifically, the alternative dispute resolution process known as mediation. For some this will be an introduction to a novel way to resolve disputes; to others it will be a reintroduction or reminder that there is a very effective way in which disputes can be resolved that does not involve court sanctioned combat and the collateral damage to businesses that so often results. We will pull from our experience, education and training to explain the benefits and unique qualities of mediation and how you can get a mediation started. From time to time we will be posting discussion on new dispute resolution developments, our experiences, tips and other anecdotes.
If you find you have any questions along the way, please contact us.