Tag: Mediation

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Business Partnerships: Alternative Dispute Resolution May Be Helpful

Entering into a business partnership can be one of the most significant decisions you will ever make regarding a relationship; in fact, it may be a sad state of things today regarding marriage statistics—but all too true—to say that business partnerships often live out one marriage, or even more. And for many also, the business partnership is often built on long-term friendships, some that may stem back to childhood, college, or at least the early days. If your company is new, you and your business partner may have created a product, a business model, and a foundation for your company together.

No matter how solid your partnership or your company is in the beginning, however, a partnership contract is critical. Just as your company has a structure, your partnership should have one too, including boundaries, limits, and definitions regarding titles within the company and what each partner is expected to do, along with financial information such as whether shares are distributed equally, or not, when products are distributed, and any other details your attorney and/or accountant may suggest.
And although it may seem unnecessary in the beginning, having a dispute resolution clause spelled out in your contract can make a world of difference when a major dispute—and one that may even be headed to court—arises.

The great thing about such a clause is it allows you to agree on how you will possibly disagree later. You and your partner, or partners, can outline how any legal disputes will be put to rest, whether through litigation, or alternative dispute resolution such as mediation or arbitration. If there are attorney’s fees, the clause may outline who will pay them, as well as designating locations such as what county disputes would be settled in.

Alternative dispute resolution is often the best solution in the face of a legal dispute with a business partner, especially if you are invested in preserving the relationship. Mediation may be best, offering a casual atmosphere where the parties often feel more comfortable talking and are able to work things out much more quickly and affordably.

Do you need legal assistance with a partnership or business dispute? If so, contact the Bolender Law Firm. 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

What Happens When an Agreement Cannot Be Reached in Mediation?

Mediation is often an extremely attractive alternative to the courtroom. Formally termed alternative dispute resolution (ADR), mediation is typically held in a more casual and relaxed setting, led by a mediator. While the mediator may not technically be licensed or may not even have a legal degree, they are usually very experienced in helping two or more parties deal with some sort of legal dispute that has brought them to such serious odds that they cannot reach an agreement or settlement decision on their own.

In some cases, a judge may even send two parties into mediation during a case, requiring them to work it out. While that puts some added pressure on everyone in a mediation, it also takes them out of the stiff courtroom and out of what may be a more adversarial atmosphere. The mediation offers a setting where the mediator can help if the disputing parties have reached an impasse, encouraging them to think outside the box, and perhaps even learn to empathize with the other party’s situation. The mediator usually has prior, extensive knowledge of the case due to meeting with the parties involved before mediation begins, getting to know them both separately, and understand what brought them into the legal arena to settle their differences.

If a stalemate is so serious that the parties involved cannot or will not budge, the mediator may suggest they take an extended break. This could be a few days, a few weeks, or an indefinite period. If the parties are involved in a court case and they still cannot reach an agreement in mediation, this may not be pleasing to the judge, and their case could be delayed, there may be more mediation suggested (or required), or a trial may be scheduled. Such an ordeal is never easy on anyone, but negotiations simply may not be possible if neither side can give at all.

As in any negotiation, it may be up to the mediator or an attorney to keep the conversation going until someone thinks of something that they can give. Perhaps they have a concession they can make that would not paying them too terribly but could mean a lot to the other side. Most mediations are successful, and the exceptions can be frustrating for everyone involved.

Do you have questions about a mediation or a business issue, or do you need legal assistance regarding a business dispute? If so, contact the Bolender Law Firm.  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 struggles

Mediation Struggles: Could We End up in Court Anyway?

Mediation offers a way for disputing parties a way to avoid what is often thought of as the horrors of the courtroom; and while litigation is sometimes the best route to settle a legal issue, there can be easier and more comfortable ways to do so today—as with alternative dispute resolution. Mediators are often practicing or retired attorneys, but they do not have to have a law degree or even be licensed. What they do need is experience in working with parties that may be having trouble coming to an agreement, even if they are motivated to find a resolution.

Mediations are usually successful, and it is easy to see why when you explore the model. The mediator is usually much more flexible and can meet with everyone involved separately, to get an in-depth understanding of what the dispute is about, the background of the parties involved, and an idea of what their end goal is for a settlement. The mediator can often work around the schedules of the parties, even setting meetings for after hours or on weekends. The atmosphere is usually much less hectic than the courtroom, relaxed, and casual.

The mediator is there to assist the disputing parties in coming to a settlement, not to decide the case for them. Their position is much less authoritative than that of a judge, which is often helpful as those involved can decide the direction of their case—and usually much more quickly, affordably, and in many cases, amicably. For business owners, mediation also allows the chance to preserve a relationship that may have already been long-term and profitable. Sometimes though, mediation is not successful, and a stalemate simply cannot be broken. If the judge has mandated the process, then they may be sent back to try again multiple times—and if that does not, the case could be held up for a very long time.

If mediation was voluntary and a decision cannot be reached through that route, a more aggressive approach with litigation may be the only option. In the end, however, the parties involved may wish they had been able to take a simpler approach and lay their grievances to rest more amenably.

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!

good mediator

A Good Mediator May Be Able to Transform a Court Case

There’s little to enjoy about a court case, unless you happen to be on the receiving end of a large settlement–or working with a good mediator, ultimately. For many civilians though, enduring litigation can be long, stressful, and expensive. There may be emotional ties between the disputing parties in some cases, and the experience can be intense. Because there are numerous disadvantages to being in the courtroom, you and the party you are in a dispute with may have been able to decide on one thing—and that’s mediation. Other times it may not be optional, and the judge may have referred you to alternative dispute resolution, and with good reason.

In mediation, you can look forward to a different atmosphere from the courtroom. This is usually obvious from the beginning as scheduling is much more flexible; in fact, mediators are used to dealing with clients who have busy schedules, especially business owners, and they may even be able to mediate on weeknights or weekends. A good mediator takes time to research the case, and this often differentiates from the court case also as the mediator can take more time and speak with everyone before the process starts. In being fully apprised of the case details, the mediator will be better equipped to guide everyone in reaching an agreement. And ‘guide’ is the key word, as that is what they are there to do, rather than decide.

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR), and especially mediation, is usually successful, but much of it depends on the motivation of the disputing parties to resolve the issue and bring the process to a conclusion, as well as the skill of the mediator. While a law degree is not required for mediator, they are often retired legal professionals or may have extensive experience in the field of the business owners in dispute. If a stalemate or an impasse is reached, the mediator must rally everyone to think outside the box for different ways to find a resolution, even though they may seem (or feel) close to giving up.

This may be the time for the mediator to begin asking more questions, along with digging deep for what other concessions each party might be willing to make. Taking a brief time out, and then seeking more information along with further understanding what is motivating each party can be extremely enlightening. Offers and counteroffers are often brought to the table more quickly when disputing parties can understand each other better and loosen up enough to compromise further.

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!

leave mediation

When is it Better to Leave Mediation and Pursue a Court Case?

Mediation is one of the most popular forms of dispute resolution and has been on an upward trend for decades, and although you may be interested in heading there–you may have no idea when it would be best to leave mediation. Unless you have been in a legal dispute previously, you may not even have been aware that it was an option over litigation. Sometimes mediation is not optional either but may be required by the judge as one part of an exercise during a trial. And while parties may balk at ADR at first, mediation especially is usually successful.

The mediator plays an interesting role in the process, as they are not there to decide the case for the involved parties. Their role is to facilitate resolution of the case through helping the disputing parties, but not too much! The mediator must remain neutral and is expected to bring forth their expertise when the parties involved have reached an impasse. This is normally where a mediator will shine. In most cases they will have interviewed both sides to gain and understanding of what is going on. This means that they have an easier time encouraging everyone to think outside the box when they seem to have hit a stumbling block or unfortunately, when tempers may be flaring.

Is it possible to leave mediation and go straight to litigation? The answer could go either way, depending on whether your mediation is court-ordered. If the judge sends you to mediation, they expect a resolution to be reached there, and if the news given to them is that you just could not reach a decision, they may send you right back; however, in an optional mediation, of course you have the choice to tell your attorneys that you wish to seek litigation instead.

Usually, mediation is a much better route for everyone involved as it is a relaxed and casual atmosphere much more conducive to reaching a settlement. Even though there may still be some lawyer’s fees, mediation is usually exponentially more affordable, and fast—not only in reaching a decision, but scheduling is much easier and more flexible as it only revolves around the mediator and the disputing parties, rather than the entire court docket.

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

Why Is Mediation So Popular in Settling Business Disputes Today?

Mediation is the key to success for many disputes today. Most cases which end up in mediation are resolved successfully, and that is saying a lot when you consider how bumpy the road can be in some litigation—although that is the necessary route all too often. And while business owners may choose to resolve legal issues through ADR once a disagreement has erupted, this type of dispute resolution is often outlined in business and partnership contracts initially. There’s no better time to decide how an argument will be handled than when everyone is getting along. A dispute clause may even cover specifics like where mediation (or arbitration or litigation) would be handled regarding county, and who would pay any legal fees should they arise.

While the courtroom often brings forth a more adversarial attitude, mediation allows for a casual and relaxed setting that can be conducive to settling. Although there are costs involved with hiring a mediator, the process is usually exponentially less, making it more affordable. Resolution is usually reached much faster too; in fact, many issues are resolved in as little as hours or just a few days. The mediator does not decide the case for the parties at odds, but helps guide them in finding a compromise, as well as pushing them along should an impasse occur. At that point, the mediator kicks into action with ideas for ‘thinking outside the box.’

Businesses with equal resources usually do best settling in mediation. A cell phone company forcing a consumer into mediation may lead to a difficult and expensive ordeal for the average individual (and this happens all too often, unfortunately), while for two businesses it can be extremely advantageous as they may have relationships they want to preserve over the long run—especially when the bottom line is involved.

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 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!

 

neutrality

Neutrality in Mediation: How Does That Really Work?

Mediation is one of the most popular forms of alternative dispute resolution today, yielding great success rates over classic litigation. Many parties—especially business owners—who would have ended up in the courtroom otherwise are relieved to find that they can resolve their differences in a more affordable and casual atmosphere, sometimes even able to meet with the mediator during weeknights or on weekends to work around busy schedules.

The success of mediation centers around the willingness of the disputing parties to compromise and reach an agreement, but the mediator plays a starring role in helping the process move along, from meeting with everyone beforehand to understand their issues, helping to prod the discussion along when there may be a stalemate, as well as drafting all the necessary documents for the court in the end. This is not a venue, however, where the mediator performs any of the decision-making.

Styles may vary when it comes to mediators, but neutrality is key. As the third party in the room, the mediator also has a responsibility to create an air of safety for opinionated discourse about the topic that has landed the individuals present in dispute. It is also vital that the primary individuals involved in the dispute (and authorized to sign off on the agreement) are present and engaged in the mediation, with the understanding that the mediator does not have a stake in either side. For them to take a side would severely disrupt the mediation, along with the credibility of the mediator—and the process itself.

Relying on the neutral mediator to keep the process flowing smoothly means that much of the adversarial quality is removed from the case, as well as the constant focus on blame. Instead, both parties face each other instead of a constant focus on ‘telling it to the judge.’ While some cases may be better resolved through litigation, those who agree to or seek out mediation often do so because they are interested in protecting a long-term relationship, which may not only be an investment in friendship and partnership, but also financial as well. You may be involved in a mediation which involves a vendor or a contractor who you may hope to continue working with later despite current conflict.

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!

 

alternative dispute resolution

Mediation Topics: Alternative Dispute Resolution or Court?

In some cases (many of which can be resolved with alternative dispute resolution), a legal dispute may erupt in a flash, whether due to an act of negligence, accident, or other incident that pits two or more parties against each other. Other times, legal action may be the culmination of a relationship that has been going south for quite some time; for example, if you are a business owner, you may have issues with a vendor who has been supplying building sites with materials for years if you are a contractor—or perhaps food inventory if you own a restaurant. A business partner whom you founded your company with decades ago may have become resentful over certain issues, or desire complete dissolution of their part in the company. There could be disputes with employees, breach of contract issues with those working full-time or as independent contractors, or issues that arise with other businesses—and perhaps those that are owned by industry peers.

Led by a neutral mediator (often trained in an area relevant to your dispute) who guides the disputing parties in reaching an agreement and/or settlement, the mediation process allows the disputing parties to have an open discussion without the adversarial atmosphere so common to the courtroom. Mediation is also much more conducive to saving relationships that one party or the other may not want to see disappear. That could be due to personal relationships or an ongoing profitable relationship. This type of alternative dispute resolution should work well if you seek a more voluntary and relaxed atmosphere that is also conducted behind closed doors and kept confidential. Although mediation requires time and patience, and commitment to the process of reaching resolution, it is usually exponentially faster than litigation.

If you think a jury trial would be better for the type of legal dispute you are engaged in, however, mediation is not the way to go as juries are not allowed. Discovery and presenting of any evidence are limited, and no court transcription is performed during the process. If you want someone else to decide the case, mediation is not the best option either as this type of alternative dispute resolution means that you and the other parties are put together to reach a resolution with the guidance of the mediator, who is also not there to represent either party or give anyone involved legal advice.

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!