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 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 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 both parties.
Mediation is a method of dispute resolution that involves a neutral who facilitates a discussion between the parties, often with the presentation of attorney arguments and key evidence. Unlike many other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods, however, mediators are active rather than passive participants. They do not impose a settlement, but through joint sessions and private caucuses help the parties to reach a common ground between themselves.
Mediation is very popular today. Indeed, it is probably the fastest-growing segment of the ADR world. Some experts estimate that 80 to 90 percent of all disputes submitted to mediation are resolved through the process. It tends to work best when it is truly voluntary when the issues are fleshed out enough for meaningful discussion — which sometimes means there has to be some discovery first — and where the parties are using a trained and experienced mediator. It also helps if the real parties in interest — the representatives of the respective companies — are in positions of authority so they do not have to worry about being criticized or second-guessed. It is often recommended that very high ranking executives be the decision-makers for this reason. SGR attorneys thoroughly understand the benefits of mediation and the strategies and methods which tend to maximize benefits and results.