Category: Alternative Dispute Resolution

mediation

Mediation v. Arbitration: Resolving Your Business Dispute

Unless you are a feisty litigator, going to court is probably not one of your passions; in fact, finding out that you are about to be involved in a lawsuit may can be very unpleasant. After all, we would all much rather be working, running our businesses, and enjoying what little free time we have during the interim. Unfortunately, while even our normal personal lives can lead to disputes and legal battles during some years, that is even more likely for a business owner. Depending on the size of your company, you could find yourself putting out fires daily, but when they escalate into a major issue that could be headed straight for the courtroom, you may want to speak with your attorney about alternative dispute resolution options like arbitration or mediation.

There are benefits to litigation, mediation, and arbitration. The courtroom experience, however, is much more well-known for being adversarial, expensive, super stressful, and in many cases—long and excruciatingly drawn out. Arbitration can be thought of as a step below the court process, with cases both heard and decided by the arbitrator. Testimonies on both sides are allowed, and evidence is also entered as part of the process, if necessary. While not as rigid as the courtroom or as expensive, arbitration is still much more formal than mediation—and may be heard by an individual well-versed in the law such as a retired judge or lawyer, or a professional with experience relevant to the case. The decision is both final and binding and can be extremely difficult to appeal.

Mediation is known to be successful in most cases and can be helpful for business owners trying to settle a dispute without ruining the potential for a long-term relationship, whether that be with an employee or independent contractor, another business owner or industry peer, or a vendor. Sometimes there may be the reluctance to lose a long-term and personal working relationship that is being soured by a dispute, but other times it could be that profit is the priority. In wrecking relations with a much-needed vendor, a business could be challenged to have products delivered. The neutral mediation works in a casual atmosphere and usually offers flexible scheduling for everyone involved. Affordability is a key benefit in mediation, along with the fact that the parties in dispute are usually motivated to solve their differences—and this is expected of them, with the mediator only there to guide.

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!

 

mediation

Mediation: The Main Parties Involved Must Show Up

Mediation relies on all disputing parties getting together in one room to discuss an issue that could have ended up in the courtroom first. In turning to alternative dispute resolution, the hope is usually that a more relaxed venue will lead to better success in reaching an agreement and/or settlement; in fact, most mediations are successful. The key is everyone working together and being motivated to do so.

This begins at the hands of the mediator, who will usually interview both parties separately. As they do so, the goal is to delve as deeply as possible into the details of the dispute with everyone involved. While they will note all the details of the case in hopes to gain a comprehensive understanding of it, they also must consider the best techniques for reaching a resolution. Every case is not a one size fit all situation, and experienced mediators will shape the process appropriately after gleaning out the all the facts and creating a more intense focus on what the real issue is, and what should be discussed at length. Along with this, they can offer a more casual atmosphere and schedule, which is usually much appreciated by business owners who may not only be stressed out by a legal dispute but wondering how they can find a resolution when their schedules are so rigorous.

In a classic business litigation scenario, it may be normal to have your attorney do all the legwork and the negotiating; however, in a successful mediation, your input and presence is necessary (even though you may be consulting with your attorney during the process) as you and the other parties are able to meet in person and in a neutral atmosphere. The goal is for everyone to find a way to move forward, and in many cases save both business and personal relationships that may have been long-standing and are viewed as valuable for the future too.

All involved and authorized parties should be available during mediation so that the process runs smoothly, with a settlement agreement being reached and documented by the mediator. Once this happens, all authorized parties should be available to sign the settlement drafted by the mediator, making it a legally binding agreement that everyone must follow through on afterward.

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!

 

mediation

Mediation May Lessen Legal Vulnerability for the Small Business

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!

mediator

The Mediator is a Facilitator—Not a Judge

Mediation is a popular form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) for parties engaged in a wide range of different lawsuits or issues. In some legal cases in California (and other states too), the courts may even require mediation as an intermediary measure. You may have experienced this previously during a divorce or other civil proceeding; however, most mediations are voluntary and that is often the secret behind their success.

Neutrality is Central to Mediation

And while there are many pros to outweigh the cons of mediation, neutrality on the part of the mediator is one of the biggest benefits. The mediator could indeed be an attorney or a retired legal professional (although they do not require a license and may even be specialized in other areas that are of help to your case) but in a mediation these professionals are required to maintain a completely neutral demeanor, working with you and the other parties involved to assist you in reaching an agreement.

Voluntary mediations are often quite successful for business owners who may have become involved in a dispute with another company or merchant, a vendor who provides continual supplies, full-time employees, independent contractors, and more. If you are involved in such a scenario, mediation may become an attractive alternative to litigation for many reasons. Most importantly, if this is a long-standing working relationship, mediation may be a way to resolve the problem and even allow you to continue working together later. At the very least, the adversarial quality may be removed from the process, allowing for a more frank and relaxed discussion of the issues at hand. The mediator is there to help you and other disputing parties take a closer look at the reasons for the disagreement, as well as keeping everyone focused.

The Mediator Does Not Decide the Case

If a stalemate seems to be occurring, the mediator will often have to come up with more creative ways to keep the mediation moving along. Their role is not to decide the case, but rather to make sure both sides understand all the details of the dispute, allow everyone to be heard, and examine all the available options. Once an agreement has been reached and the mediator drafts and has all the required documents signed, the process is considered binding—with all parties involved beholden to keeping up their end of the settlement.

Other benefits to mediation include greater affordability, speed in reaching resolution (this could be just a matter of hours, instead of days or weeks expended in the courtroom), and confidentiality.

Contact Us for Help Now!

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!

Mediation

Mediation Can Be Much More Successful—and Less Stressful

Businesses thrive on structure. The established team needs to show up, do their part, and keep the customers happy and coming back. As the owner or manager, however, your day probably includes a long, complex list of duties to be checked off from beginning to end. There are the finances to deal with, employee schedules and requests, meetings, inventory issues, marketing campaigns, and so much more. The last thing you need is a legal conflict, whether it involves an issue with an employee, a business partner, vendor, or another commercial entity you are butting heads with.

Mediation Offers Respite from the Clogged Court System

No matter which side you are on, heading into a court battle can be intimidating—and it may take a long time to reach a resolution; to begin with, your court date may be months ahead. After that, you could be forced to deal with continuances, appeals, and more. Most of us become frustrated with the crowded calendars, inflexibility in scheduling, and so much more. The truth is though that judges and court administrators are often doing all they can to eliminate clogging in the courtrooms. Many cases may be directed toward other methods of resolution such as arbitration or mediation, or they may be voluntary.

Mediation is popular for many parties engaged in conflict as they realize even in the throes of a dispute that they may not want to destroy a long-term relationship. The key is not so much in ‘winning.’ but reaching an agreement that both parties can live with. The setting tends to be much more casual, and mediators are usually able to work around the schedules of everyone involved; in fact, they may even agree to hold mediations on Saturday or Sunday, or after work hours during the week.

The Mediator Guides the Parties to Reach a Resolution

The relaxed atmosphere, combined with neutral assistance from the mediator, allows for most mediations to be successful. In a voluntary mediation, the mediator often makes a point to meet with the parties separately, before proceedings begin, to gain an understanding of the main issue and to begin formulating a path for resolution. The mediator does not decide the case but is tasked with keeping the disputing parties on course and helping them think outside the box when necessary, to attain their end goals. Once an agreement has been reached, the mediator is responsible for drawing up the documents to be signed—and once they are, the mediation is considered enforceable with all parties expected to hold up their ends of the bargain.

Call Us for Help 

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!