In the traditional litigation process, too many times we see parties who win the battle, in that they proceed through a trial and receive a favorable outcome; however, in many ways these clients ultimately lose the war, when you consider the time, effort and expense required to litigate a case to its conclusion.
Over the last several years, we at SGR have seen increasing interest in finding ways to resolve disputes other than through the traditional court system. Some of the dispute resolution techniques that companies and individuals have turned to are fairly new, while others have been used for many years. All the methods, however, have as a common objective the resolution of commercial disputes in less time, at less cost, and with less emotional turmoil and hostility than typically results from litigation. Mediation and arbitration offer efficient and effective alternatives to litigation. Both may significantly reduce the cost of achieving a resolution of a dispute. Both may be conducted at any time, at any location, and at the convenience of the parties.
In recent years, our clients have come to rely increasingly on arbitration. Contracts now routinely include mandatory arbitration clauses, and the speed and reduced expenses involved with this form of alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) oftentimes present an attractive alternative to traditional litigation. In the most common form of arbitration, the attorneys present arguments to a panel of one to three arbitrators. Affidavits, depositions, and documentary evidence are oftentimes presented, and the rules of procedure and evidence are relaxed. Discovery is normally quite limited, though the parties may agree otherwise. Following the presentation of evidence, the panel makes a binding award, enforceable in court. Appeals are generally prohibited, although the parties may contract for the right to appeal.
The vast majority of commercial agreements now contain some form of ADR clause. SGR attorneys know the playing field in arbitration, and we are involved on a daily basis in all aspects of ADR — from negotiating and drafting agreements to conducting arbitration proceedings.
Attorneys at SGR specialize in a number of specific areas of arbitration, including: