Alternative Dispute Resolution
Our lawyers regularly engage in methods of alternative dispute resolution such as mediation and settlement negotiations. Whether the mediation or negotiation is during the litigation process or before filing, an experienced negotiator is among the most valuable weapons you can have to maximize the value of your claim.Mediation
Mediation is an important process through which a neutral party facilitates a discussion and the parties attempt to find common ground on which the case can be settled.
One of the first things to understand about mediation is that it does not involve giving up your right to a trial by jury or your right to otherwise adjudicate your claim. Mediation is not binding and you can always leave the negotiating table. That fact alone is one of the primary reasons why mediation is so valuable. The parties are only there if they want to be there. They are only there if they are interested in finding resolution.
Mediations can be held in any number of contexts. Formal mediations can be held at agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or federal mediations with a United States Magistrate Judge serving as the mediator.
The parties can also agree to a mediation that is unrelated to any filing or judicial process by hiring a private mediator. This allows the parties to try to reach a resolution without the formalities, or costs, of formal litigation.
In addition to the cost savings, mediation has several other advantages. It is a faster, less formal process than litigation. The mediation and, by consent of the parties, the resolution are confidential. The mediation process also allows you to evaluate your case and the opposing party’s case prior to formal litigation.
The confidentiality of mediation also allows certain advantages. Parties generally feel more comfortable speaking their minds in mediation, not only about the facts and merits of the case, but also about the emotional issues that surround the case. When this conversation is productive, it tends to builds towards resolution, as the parties are able to understand the genesis of the dispute, not just the legal factors. This is particularly important if you are rehired or still employed by the opposing party, or if you have to continue to do business with them in a small industry.
Mediation has its disadvantages at well. Primary amongst them is the loss of the formal discovery process. If you believe that your case will be bolstered by documents or information that you do not currently have in your possession, mediation will substantially limit your ability to investigate those issues through discovery.Settlement Negotiations
Almost every case involves some level of settlement negotiations. It is to the advantage of all parties to consider the merits of the claims, the costs of litigation, and other factors when deciding whether settlement is an appropriate option.
Our attorneys are proud of a strong history of favorable settlements for our clients, with remedies including back pay, letters of recommendation, and confidentiality agreements to protect our clients’ future job searches from the problems of their past employment.