Understanding Legal Dispute Resolutions
All across the United States, thousands upon thousands of civil lawsuits are filed every day. In many cases, civil disputes can be resolved to satisfy everyone involved without time-consuming and costly litigation through legal dispute resolution (also referred to as "alternative dispute resolution").
What is Legal Dispute Resolution?
Legal dispute resolution is a way to avoid escalation to a lawsuit. There are four common methods of dispute resolution:
Arbitration In arbitration, a neutral third party is called in to hear both sides and recommend a mutually acceptable solution. Non-binding arbitration means that both sides retain the right to pursue other forms of dispute resolution, including litigation if they disagree with the arbitrator's recommendation. Binding arbitration means that both sides must adhere to an arbitrator's decision.
Mediation Mediation is similar to arbitration in that a neutral 3rd party attempts to help both sides peacefully resolve their dispute. However, unlike arbitration, the mediator has no vested power to resolve the conflict on their own. The contending parties remain in control of the outcome.
Neutral evaluation In this method, instead of communicating with each other, both sides submit their argument to a neutral evaluator. The neutral evaluator considers the evidence on both sides, weighs all factors involved, and then makes a recommendation as to how best to resolve the conflict. This recommendation is not binding but can serve as a useful springboard for further discussion.
Settlement conference A settlement conference can be an appropriate option in cases that could be settled without litigation. Both parties and their attorneys meet with a judge to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of each side of the case. While the judge does not decide the case, the judge may be able to guide both sides to a mutually acceptable solution.
What Does a Dispute Resolution Attorney Do?
A dispute resolution attorney is a legal professional with the required experience and knowledge to help a client navigate the dispute resolution process. A dispute resolution attorney must have the skills needed to plead their client's cause in a courtroom. However, their value often lies in their in-depth understanding of resolution alternatives that could benefit their client, and avoid a costly lawsuit.
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