What Are My Other Alternatives to Litigating a Lawsuit?

Litigation is the process by which a case makes its way through the courts. It can be a long, drawn-out process that is not only time consuming, but also very expensive. Because of all of the formalities associated with bringing your case to court, there is often a lack of control that you have over what can and can’t be done. This is because there are so many rules and regulations that must be followed and often you are at the mercy of the court to schedule hearings and set court dates.

Additionally, litigation can grow contentious, as it pits the two parties against one another in a “win or lose” situation. It’s for these reasons, among others, that many people decide to settle their cases outside of the courtroom in a process known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). ADR includes any process that settles a court action outside of the courtroom. There are several different kinds and below we discuss the main ones.

Mediation

Sometimes people prefer mediation to litigation because it is a non-adversarial process. Mitigation is overseen by neutral third-party, called “the mediator.” The goal of mediation is to find a common ground between the two parties, so that they may resolve their dispute quickly and fairly. Instead of a judge presiding over the case, eventually handing down a judgment that ends the dispute, the mediator helps the parties decide on a settlement that both agree is fair and equitable given the particular set of circumstances.

Mediation is also popular because it tends to be much less expensive and faster than litigation. Unlike litigation, you can set your own meeting times and aren’t required to follow the many court formalities that exist in litigation. The proceedings also remain private, so you don’t have to worry about your personal affairs being entered into the public record. Finally, mediation also does not prevent either party from eventually have their case heard before a court, which can either be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you view your individual situation.

Arbitration

Arbitration is another common ADR technique. Like mediation, this is a popular choice because it can avoid hostility and the parties maintain more control than going through the courts. The goal of arbitration is to get the two parties to work together, rather than against one another, so that they can reach a settlement that is as favorable as possible to both sides.

Of course, there are also disadvantages associated with arbitration. The process is done in private, which, like mediation, can be both a good and bad thing. It is also often utilized by large companies as the only recourse for their adversaries to settle disputes. Additionally, if an arbitrator hands down a decision that you don’t like, you may be barred from bringing that case to trial. But, like with mediation, the arbitration process is generally much faster and cheaper than litigation and so is often a preferable way for parties to settle disputes out of court.

Speak with an experienced business law attorney.

Regardless of the process that you are using for dispute resolution, it’s important to make sure that you speak with an experienced attorney who can help you decide the best route to settle your dispute as favorably as possible. If you are in the middle of a legal dispute in California and need help either in an ADR resolution or litigation, please don’t hesitate to contact IGC today!

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Written by Integrated General Counsel

Our focus includes handling a variety of corporate matters and also includes litigation in state and federal courts. Our current practice includes providing transactional services and representing a variety of small and medium-sized companies as their outsourced general counsel.