Creatively Solving Business Disputes May Save the Costs of Litigation

If you want to save money settling a business dispute, think creatively. Try alternative dispute resolution procedures.

These days, not everyone wants to get into potentially expensive litigation to settle a business disagreement. Many companies and organizations would prefer to do some thinking outside the box and try to get to the bottom of the disagreement, finding a way to deal with it first before hitting a courtroom. Alternative dispute resolution is becoming a very popular solution in today’s economy.

Depending on the environment and the people involved in the dispute in the first place, an arbitrator or mediator may do the trick. Mediators are neutral third parties whose aim is to reconcile the differences between two parties before they head to arbitration or litigation. On the other hand, arbitrators actually hear evidence and then decide the case. Their decision may be non-binding or binding, depending on what the parties to the dispute want to accomplish.

Either route taken does stand the chance, if not successful, of winding up in court. To this end, some parties like to hire a facilitator before starting anything. The reason for this is that the facilitator’s skills lie in making communications between the two groups better. Often, if the dispute is the result of a misunderstanding or miscommunication, the facilitator can get the train back on the tracks and re-establish respectful mutual communication.

For any of these processes, you will want someone who is objective and unbiased, without a hidden agenda and one that does not come to the table with statements already prepared. That’s never a good sign. The person chosen to hopefully settle the dispute also needs to have an abundance of tact, the ability to listen in neutral mode and be sensitive to the nuances of the group they are assisting. If that person also happens to be a lawyer, so much the better. Many business lawyers these days have this kind of training in addition to being a seasoned Atlanta business lawyer.

Most noncriminal disputes have a good chance at being resolved in mediation, more so if they involve leases, small business ownership issues, employment and contracts. Harassment claims are generally successfully resolved in this kind of venue as well.

Arbitration usually involves the arbitrator being judge and jury rolled into one, with the end result that they render a decision when the process is concluded. In other words, arbitration is much like going to court. Many arbitrators are lawyers, have legal experience or a legal education.

All in all, there are many alternative processes that may be used today to settle business disputes. When in doubt, speak to an Atlanta business lawyer.

Robert Webb is an Atlanta personal injury lawyer with Webb & D’Orazio, a law firm specializing in Atlanta personal injury, malpractice, criminal defense, and business law. Learn more at

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