While litigation may be extremely effective—and required—to resolve a wide range of disputes, many business owners who have never been involved in a legal issue before are surprised to find that alternative dispute resolution is not only available as an option but yields success in most cases where it is used. Mediation may be required by the court for some types of civil cases, such as divorce, but if you are considering using this type of ADR as a business owner, chances are you are doing so voluntarily.
For the small business, mediation can be a serious benefit. A long and drawn-out court case could be enough to bankrupt some companies—and especially if an outrageous settlement is required at the end on their part. If you are having a dispute currently, you probably want it to end as quickly and as quietly as possible, whether the problem is with another business owner or a supplier, or perhaps someone who works for you whether they are full-time or were hired on as an independent contractor. The dispute may be over a financial matter, or other issues such as rights to intellectual property.
Mediation offers a more relaxed and affordable (in comparison to litigation) way to reach a resolution, all of which is positive for the small business owner. The mediator can usually offer flexible scheduling too, which is in stark comparison to litigation where the court docket may be so full that the case is not heard for months, could be continued, and re-scheduling means even further, extensive delays. In mediation, cases are resolved much more swiftly—even in the matter of an afternoon for some.
Preservation of relationships is also key for many newer and smaller businesses, and this is one of the most substantial advantages in mediation. Just the fact that everyone has agreed to alternative dispute resolution is a sign of their willingness to work the problems out. This could be for many reasons, but often may be due to a working or personal relationship you have had for years and do not want to destroy, or because you and the other party have the potential to keep working together in the future even though there has been a serious dispute; in fact, the process may improve your relationship with the other party enormously, as many problem-solving skills taken from mediation help participants far beyond the mediation.
The Bolender Law Firm will advocate on behalf of clients through litigation, arbitration, or non-binding mediation. Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!