Understanding Alternative Dispute Resolution & Why It Works

Understanding Alternative Dispute Resolution & Why It Works

Whether you are just entering law school or a new practice, understanding alternative dispute resolution will help you in your career immensely. Although it does not involve litigation or going to trial, methods like mediation and arbitration may sometimes be required by the court, used to push a case along further, or they may be all that is required for coming to an agreement. Arbitration or mediation may be less formal than the court atmosphere, but it is not often that the results are overturned—and once settlement agreements have been signed by all parties involved after a resolution is reached, they are obligated to fulfill their duties.

In comparing arbitration and mediation, the first is closest to a court setting, although still more flexible overall—and confidential too. Both parties have a say in choosing the arbitrator who will decide the case, or even a panel of several; because everyone must agree regarding who is chosen, this usually means there is more faith in the process overall. If the parties cannot agree on an arbitrator, one can be chosen by the court. The process is usually less expensive, and best of all—must faster. Arbitrators are often retired judges, attorneys, or professionals who may have experience in the background behind the current dispute.

Mediation is even more popular with the people and is often a chosen mode for dispute resolution. The mediator does not decide the case, but rather helps the parties involved find their way to a successful agreement. This method of ADR is usually more casual and could even take place in the evenings or on weekends to accommodate business owners and other individuals with hectic schedules. As an attorney, you may one day find yourself acting as a mediator, or in practice you may refer your clients to them as your network of professional colleagues grows.

Alternative dispute resolution may be required by the court in some cases, but in others it may be the chosen method over litigation as outlined in a dispute resolution clause that was part of a previous legal agreement. These are commonly integrated into business contracts and are helpful in many ways because the method of dispute resolution is decided on before there is a disagreement. Such clauses may be included in consumer contracts also, such as those between a phone company and a customer—and may not always be beneficial to the individual who has considerably less resources and legal help.

Are you interested in becoming a skilled lawyer and negotiator? Our mission at CDTA College of Law is to educate, train, and develop extraordinary legal advocates. Your legal education will be comprised of bar-tested academic subjects, skills training, and values reinforcement. Upon completion of your 4-year course of study you will be fully qualified to take and pass the California Bar examination. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here.