Alternative Dispute Resolution, or ADR, is a term that describes methods of resolving a dispute outside of litigation. At times, ADR can be used in place of litigation, such as binding arbitration as a requirement of a contract. ADR can be used as a part of the litigation process at other times, such as mediation in the divorce process. For more information about the various aspects of Alternative Dispute Resolution, please click on the links below. To schedule an appointment with one of our ADR attorneys, call 770-461-2025.
Negotiation is the most basic form of dispute resolution between two parties. In negotiation, the two parties discuss, debate, or argue about the claim in an effort to bring resolution to the issue. Explanations of the stance of the parties, offers between the parties, and any form of direct communication in an attempt to resolve the situation would be considered negotiation.
Negotiation is the easiest way to avoid litigation, but often emotions run high or one or both parties are incorrect about the application of the law, which can lead to a breakdown in communication. An attorney lays out the situation to the second party and presents the case of his or her client in a logical manner. This avoids personal conflict and helps to bring light to the strengths of the client's case. Having an attorney settle the matter in the early stages will save a great deal of money, time, and stress in the long run. More importantly, settling a matter through negotiation can preserve the business relationship.
While attorneys are not required in every negotiation, there are times when having counsel is essential. To find out how our attorneys can help in your situation, call 770-461-2025 to set up a consultation.
Mediation is method of a dispute resolution system that allows a neutral party to facilitate the negotiations. Mediation is an option when negotiation fails. When both parties recognize that settlement may be possible despite the failure of the negotiation process, mediation allows a third neutral party to facilitate discussions. The neutral has no decision-making power. The parties in dispute must be the ones to agree to a final resolution. The mediator is someone who facilitates discussion, makes suggestions, and tries to show both parties new ways of looking at the dispute so that they will be able to come to an agreement.
There are really no disadvantages to mediation if both parties are truly willing to work toward a solution. Mediation often leads to an agreement, saving the time, stress, and money which would be expended in litigation. Another attractive side to mediation is that it is completely confidential. Finally, mediation is voluntary. Because both parties are there of their own free will, both parties are more likely to be happy with the result. (There is no result if either party does not agree.) Also, because the parties are there voluntarily and in the end agree, the parties are much less likely to leave as enemies, which is important to preserving the business relationship.
There are several types of mediation. The form of mediation with which most people are familiar is court annexed mediation. This mediation is required by the court (found most often in divorce cases) in an effort of the court to save time of the court and of both parties, as well as the parties' money and taxpayer money. Transformative mediation is part issue resolution and part personality conflict mediation. If you find yourself in conflict with another's personality, transformative mediation helps the people deal with each other, not just the problem. This is very helpful in that it can help prevent future problems from occurring in situations where there is an ongoing conflict between two people. Therapeutic mediation helps in interpersonal problems and acts as part therapy and part issue resolution. Therapeutic mediation can be useful in disputes within a business such as partner disputes. Traditional mediation is voluntary submission to standard mediation as described in the first paragraph.
As in any official proceeding, it is recommended to have an attorney assist with the mediation process, as an attorney can advise as to what would likely happen if the matter were to go to trial and what rights a party may have. To discuss mediation with one of our attorneys, simply call 770-461-2025 and set up a consultation.
Arbitration, like mediation, uses a third neutral party to run the proceedings. Unlike in mediation, the arbitrator (like a judge) makes a determination. The arbitrator will view evidence and hear testimony just as in a trial. After hearing the evidence, the arbitrator will make a ruling. Arbitration decisions can be binding just like a trial verdict. (Sometimes this is agreed to by the parties and sometimes it is required by a contract signed before a dispute arose.) Arbitration that is not binding is often used as a measuring device so that parties who plan to settle have a better idea of what the trial result would be.
There are advantages and disadvantages to arbitration. Some of the disadvantages include inability to appeal (with a few exceptions), inability to choose the arbitrator if there is a contract wherein the other party reserves the right to choose, inability to lean on the compassion of a jury, and uncertainty about the rules of arbitration that the arbitrator may set. Some advantages include a faster process, typically a less expensive process, a final verdict in binding arbitration, a decision not based on the unpredictable nature of a jury, less formality in rules that may allow testimony or evidence not otherwise admissible, and the ability to minimize publicity.
Because of the nature of the proceedings, having an attorney is essential in arbitration. To get advice about your case, call 770-461-2025 and set up a consultation with one of our attorneys.