Whether you or your business is facing an intellectual property dispute, considering filing for bankruptcy, or are dealing with white collar offenses from internal employees, you know that you need legal help. However, complex civil litigation for commercial cases like these can be extraordinarily expensive, confusing, and lengthy.
It’s important to understand that litigation is not your only option for resolving differences or disputes. There are alternatives — in fact, there’s a whole branch of practice known as “alternative dispute resolution,” or ADR. These methods can help you avoid complex civil litigation and come to an agreement outside of the courtroom.
One common method is mediation, where an impartial third party representative (usually a neutral lawyer or retired judge) will help both parties talk through their options and rights. The mediator does not make decisions for the parties, but helps them come up with a terms of agreement on their own.
Another method is arbitration, wherein a third-party representative does make a decision after hearing both cases. This is very similar to litigation, but without the formal court proceedings. A binding arbitration agreement means that the decision is final: it cannot later be taken to court if the parties are dissatisfied.
Other services can be used in combination with or in preparation for complex civil litigation, such as mock trial hearings, investigations, or trial consulting. For your best shot at a quick and painless resolution, it’s worthwhile to spend some time looking at all of your options before diving headlong into the litigation process.
Some of the former judges who commonly work in mediation and arbitration services now have years of experience and a wealth of specialized knowledge in very particular, messy kinds of commercial and civil law. The most effective neutral mediator or arbitrator for your case will be someone who has dealt with similar cases in the past.
Whether you’re facing immediate threats of litigation or are interested in starting a discovery process, ADR services can help. Until you explore all of your options, you may not even know that the best solution has been right under your nose the whole time.
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