Whether you are part of a large corporation or a limited partnership, you will likely face a dispute sooner or later. While pursuing litigation in such cases can get clear, legally enforceable results, it’s not always ideal, and it will often ruin relationships. Litigation can also be pricey, especially when there are complex issues involved, resulting in a significant drain on your time and resources.

Alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, is just that: an alternative way to resolve disputes without putting yourself or your company under the strain that comes with litigation. Hart & David provides skilled dispute resolution services to clients throughout Chicago.

ADR vs. Litigation

Litigation is defined as a lawsuit that is decided in court. Individual cases and arguments are presented, a judge or jury determines the outcome, and the decision is made enforceable by law. In litigation, there is a defined winner and loser. This is never good for situations in which a vital business relationship or partnership is at stake.

Litigation also tends to be expensive and lengthy. In many cases, one or both parties won’t be able to afford it. Even if they can, it will involve a lengthy battle in which there will be very little hope of reconciliation.

Alternative dispute resolution, such as arbitration and mediation, aims to resolve issues without going to trial. In many cases, it’s cheaper and faster, and there is a much higher chance that a mutually beneficial decision will be reached. Ultimately, if there is a relationship at stake, ADR is generally a much more desirable option than litigation.

Types of ADR

There are a number of alternative dispute resolution methods, each of which has its own specific strengths, drawbacks, and applications.

Mediation: This is the process of involving a third party to help the disputing parties discuss their conflict. Ultimately, it is up to the parties to hash out a decision. The third party only facilitates the discussion, providing guidance and insight that can help those involved make a rational, mutually beneficial decision. Mediation is non-binding, and is therefore reserved for civil disputes, such as those surrounding divorce or the breach of a contract.

Arbitration: In arbitration, involved parties present their cases before an arbitrator, usually a lawyer with experience with the issue. Once they make their arguments and show their evidence, and it is left to the arbitrator to make a final decision. In most cases, this decision is binding and cannot be appealed, though sometimes disputing parties opt for non-binding arbitration. Arbitration is less formal, less expensive, and less time consuming than litigation, and the rules of evidence are generally relaxed.

Conciliation: Conciliation is similar to mediation in that you have a neutral third party facilitating the discussion. However, it differs in that the conciliator can provide suggestions on what decision may be best for the disputing parties. Nevertheless, he or she will still not take sides on the issue or tell you what to decide.

Other forms of dispute resolution exist as well. In each case, it is best to have a neutral party on board who has experience dealing with the issues at hand. Hart & David provides the experience and knowledge needed for successful alternative dispute resolution. For a free consultation, contact our attorneys today.