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Defining Arbitration & Mediation

At May, Potenza, Baran & Gillespie, we advocate for the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) whenever possible. For those who are unfamiliar with ADR, it is more commonly known as the umbrella term to describe arbitration and mediation.

Arbitration and mediation share some similarities in that they are both alternatives to traditional court litigation. As well, they both involve a neutral third party to oversee the process. But beyond the similarities, arbitration and mediation need to be defined to better understand if either of them are the right avenue to take instead of heading to court.

In simple terms, arbitration is a binding process that is generally conducted by a person known as an arbitrator. The role of an arbitrator is much like that of a judge. The arbitrator makes decisions based on evidence and gives written opinions, which can be binding or non-binding.

Mediation, on the other hand, typically involves a mediator who helps to facilitate discussion between the two opposing parties. The mediator does not hand down a decision. Instead, he or she guides the process toward an eventual dispute resolution.

Mediation has become increasingly popular as a part of the litigation process. It can foster an environment where both parties can confidentially present their side to a neutral mediator. The more relaxed tone of mediation, over arbitration, often helps to eliminate the desire to continue litigation once both parties have heard both sides in a fair light. Of course, mediation is not always successful. In that instance, the next step usually entails going to trial.

At May Potenza, we encourage ADR when appropriate to resolve conflicts outside of court. Both arbitration and mediation are common-sense alternatives that can save you time and money. Our extensive experience in arbitration and mediation allows us to advance our clients’ interests, negotiate from a position of strength, and successfully resolve disputes.

For more information about Alternative Dispute Resolution, contact us at May Potenza. Based on your particular case, we can walk you through your options and help you determine if either arbitration or mediation is right for you.

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