Conflict is frustrating for everyone. It is time consuming, worrisome, emotionally exhausting, financially draining, and in general, negatively affects your quality of life. There are several ways to deal with conflict, such as litigation, arbitration, and mediation. The question you need to ask yourself is: “What form of dispute resolution is right for me?”
Litigation is the start of a formal adversarial judicial process used to settle a dispute between two parties. This process can be time consuming (sometimes taking 2-3 years to resolve), and be emotionally, physically, and financially draining. Litigation also takes place in a public forum, which means all the testimony and documentation of your conflict becomes part of the public record, and thus available to the general public. Lastly, litigation results in a zero-sum game in which one side wins, and the other side loses.
Arbitration is an alternative form of dispute resolution that takes place outside of a formal courtroom with a neutral arbitrator that is typically agreed upon by both parties. The decision by the arbitrator is legally binding and enforceable unless there is some contractual or due process defect. The final decision by the arbitrator is usually not appealable. That may be a disadvantage to the losing party compared to litigation. However, arbitration is typically less expensive than litigation, and usually gets resolved in a much shorter time frame.
Mediation, in my opinion, is the most logical, cost effective, and rational way to solve a dispute. Mediation is a non-legally binding form of dispute resolution in which a neutral mediator acts as a facilitator to get the parties to work together and understand the interests of the opposing parties. An effective mediator can help break down communication barriers between parties, help both parties to see the other side’s perspective on the conflict, and facilitate the parties to work together in a cooperative fashion and craft a solution that is mutually satisfying to all.
Effective mediation not only produces a solution that both parties are happy with (a non zero-sum game), but it can also help heal and restore relationships between the parties as well. If you are experiencing a conflict and would like to try mediation, call our office and we would be glad to help.