The old saying "time is money" is a cliché, but clichés exist because they are based on truth. Anyone who has run a business knows that any time spent on distractions - such as chasing down payments owed, dealing with employee complaints, or resolving disputes with customers, vendors, or other actors - reduces the profit margin and makes it much more difficult to concentrate on growing a business.
Litigation is the Ultimate Distraction
Avoiding a distraction which negatively impacts profits is the driving force behind the growing desire of many businesses to avoid litigation and instead resolve disputes through alternative means. Both mediation and arbitration are growing in popularity because they can be just as effective as litigation, but provide a much faster timeline for resolution. This saves money in both direct costs and indirect costs due to the distraction caused by the conflict. It tends to involve much less in terms of services - notably attorney billing hours.
Most litigation ends in a settlement anyway -thus, it often makes little sense to incur a lengthy, expensive court battle if an equivalent result has can be reached without it. Seeking an alternative route to a resolution is akin to skipping the expensive, slow-moving glacier of litigation and going straight to the settlement negotiation,all of which makes very good business sense.
Benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution
Together, Mediation and Arbitration are part of the wider field of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and offer up several distinct advantages over litigation:
• Speed: ADR proceedings tend to be much faster as they are streamlined, without all the formality and procedural waste of the courts.
• Cost: Mediation and Arbitration can be very cost-effective, even if attorneys are retained to advise and assist.
• Specificity: The neutrals hired to act as mediators and arbitrators can and should be experts in the market and industry, giving them insight that a judge may lack. This contributes to the speediness of the resolution since the mediator with specialized knowledge does not need to spend the time to become familiar with subject matter and specific law surrounding it that a judge would need to do.
The final decision involves which approach to choose. Arbitration is a more formal procedure that relies on a single arbitrator or panel of arbitrators to render a decision. Mediation is more of a guided negotiation, with the mediator there only to offer guidance and impose order on the discussion, not to render a decision. Which approach works best is up to the individual business.
If you're involved in a dispute, consult with Bert Binder of Affordable Dispute Resolution. Mr. Binder has handled different types of cases as a litigator and mediator and has helped people reach fair & affordable resolutions over matters involving business, employment, labor, real estate and probate disputes. Visit http://www.affordabledisputeresolution.com or call 201-790-3553.