As every litigant and trial attorney knows, litigation can be time consuming and very expensive. Various programs, procedures and techniques have been developed in an effort to reduce those almost inevitable consequences of litigation. Known collectively as alternative dispute resolution “ADR”, those alternatives to litigation encompass various approaches to resolving disputes including arbitration and mediation. Arbitration, although usually quicker than litigation, has many of the shortcomings associated with litigation. Mediation, therefore, often provides a better option because it is quick, less expensive, flexible and, most important, non-binding.
Unlike litigation, mediation involves procedures for resolving a controversy in a less adversarial forum. Mediation provides the parties with an opportunity to work collectively toward a joint resolution of a dispute. During the mediation process a trained and experienced mediator engages each party and their attorneys in a dialogue, usually in a confidential setting, regarding their objectives and aspirations. As part of that dialogue the mediator and the parties, together with their attorneys, discuss various alternative means of reaching a resolution of the dispute.
by William J. Wolf
Bathgate, Wegener & Wolf