As popular as courtroom dramas are, the truth is that most people would prefer to avoid having their disputes resolved by a judge and jury, especially when the issue is contract enforcement. Alternative Dispute Resolution — which generally involves either negotiation, mediation, or arbitration — has proven to be one of the most effective ways of addressing these issues outside of the courtroom. It offers several advantages, including being less costly and optimizing the ability to preserve relations between the two parties.

Each of these three methods has advantages, as described below:

  • Negotiation is one of the most direct methods of addressing issues and reaching a solution that is acceptable to all parties. It is generally the most collaborative and informal approach and therefore is the best option when you’re trying to preserve a business relationship because both parties can represent their own interests and exert some level of control over the process. Negotiation also costs less than other methods because it does not require the involvement of a third party or attorney.
  • Mediation involves having a neutral third party step in to facilitate an agreement that is amenable to both sides. The key here is that an agreement is voluntary and that getting to yes from both sides involves having a skilled communicator break through the noise in a way that identifies common interests. When done right, mediation is also a way to preserve relationships. It is less adversarial than litigation, and although neither side is likely to be 100% happy with the outcome, it generally is resolved by both giving a little to get to yes. Mediation also has the advantage of avoiding airing grievances or dirty laundry in a public courtroom.
  • Arbitration allows both sides to choose a third party who has expertise in their industry or the issue at hand and asks that person or persons to review all of the relevant facts of the situation and make a decision that both sides need to adhere to. While arbitration is faster and less expensive than having a case heard in court, there is again a good chance that neither side is going to be fully happy with the decision that is handed to them.

No matter which of the three methods you ultimately choose, alternate dispute resolution is one of the best ways to address and resolve contract disputes efficiently. If you’d like information on how we can assist with this process, contact us today to set up a time to discuss your needs.