The process of taking a case to trial can be time consuming and expensive. The attorneys at Mullavey, Prout, Grenley, & Foe, LLP are experienced in using alternative dispute resolution to bring cases to expedient and cost-effective resolutions. The primary methods of alternative dispute resolution are direct negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.
Direct Negotiation. Sometimes a case can be resolved as simply as by making a phone call directly to the opposing party or their attorney. Running to the courthouse is not always the best thing for the client. We work with our clients to determine if there is a chance for an early, directly negotiated resolution.
Mediation. Mediation is an optional process wherein the parties stipulate to present their cases to a neutral mediator. The mediator listens to the parties' positions and attempts to bring them to a mutually agreeable resolution. Mediation is generally confidential. The parties have the option to frankly discuss settlement in a confidential forum. Mediation is generally non-binding, meaning that the parties are under no obligation to accept the conclusions or suggestions of the mediator, and can proceed to trial should mediation fail to lead to resolution.
Arbitration. Another option is to arbitrate. Arbitration is a streamlined version of litigation before a professional, neutral, third party as opposed to the court. Our attorneys have many years of experience arbitrating matters. There are a variety of situations wherein arbitration is available. Most commonly, arbitration occurs where the parties' contract requires it. For instance, many construction contracts call for arbitration with the American Arbitration Association ("AAA"). Arbitration can also be conducted by the agreement of the parties. In addition, many courts require that parties to smaller cases engage in arbitration. One benefit of arbitration is that it tends to be a confidential process. The files in civil litigation are typically a matter of public record.