What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

Alternative dispute resolution is essentially settling civil legal matters outside of the courts through the use of mediation and/or binding or nonbinding arbitration.  Alternative dispute resolution methods are highly effective, over 90% being successfully resolved without having to resort to litigation.  These techniques are used in two party disputes, but can be particularly effective in complex bankruptcy cases where the debtor has a large number of creditors with interests that must be resolved.

Alternative dispute resolution generally involves two categories:

·         Arbitration—a process similar to litigation where the parties present their dispute before an arbitrator, and usually agree to be legally bound by his or her decision in the matter.

·         Mediation—a more collaborative process that tends to be less formal than arbitration.  There are two varieties of mediation: evaluative mediation, where the mediator evaluates each party’s position and often suggests settlement terms; and facilitative mediation where the mediator acts as an intermediary for the parties, so that they may reach an agreement between themselves.

The main benefit of alternative dispute resolution as opposed to a bankruptcy filing or litigation is that it is typically a much quicker and more streamlined process.   Avoiding the court system, as well as the reduced amount of time that is involved in the resolution of a matter, results in much lower costs for all parties involved.  The courts favor parties using alternative dispute resolution to settle contested matters if possible as well: budgetary constraints prevent many jurisdictions from increasing their staff to the degree that ever increasing dockets require, so viable alternatives to litigation are in the best interests of everybody.  In fact judges themselves often will require parties to attempt some form of alternative dispute resolution prior to taking a matter to trial.

Another benefit of alternative dispute resolution in cases where the parties will have to continue to interact with each other after the matter at hand is eventually resolved (such as cases involving businesses, or where family members are on opposite sides of an issue) is that since alternative dispute resolution is far less of an adversarial proceeding than litigation it does not typically generate the strong feelings of “winners” and “losers” that occur after parties have gone to trial.  This will usually prevent the worsening of relationships between the people involved in alternative dispute resolution, and make it easier to continue in whatever business or personal situation existed prior to the dispute.

Marshack Hays LLP can lead you through Alternative Dispute Resolution

Mr. Marshack has lectured attorneys and Bankruptcy Trustees in the art of negotiation and is a certified mediator for both. He attended Pepperdine University and St. Johns Law School and has served as a mediator in dozen of cases. Based on his experience, and that all members of the firm have participated in numerous mediations, Marshack Hays LLP should be your choice in resolving issues in a cost efficient manner.

If you are considering bankruptcy or litigation as a debt relief measure, alternative dispute resolution may be a beneficial alternative in your situation.  At Marshack Hays LLP, our legal team has the experience you need to successfully resolve your dispute.  Contact us today and let us explain your potential options.