Our Arbitration and Mediation Practices

The terms “arbitration,” “mediation” and “alternative dispute resolution” (ADR) are often used in the same sentence but each has varied meaning and connotations. Arbitration is a formal dispute resolution which is one of the ADR’s and is equivalent to a non-jury trial, and is binding to the extent of the parties’ agreement.

Arbitration

The legal concept of arbitration is a consensual dispute resolution procedure which is alternative to court trials, hence it is one of the ADR’s. In civil matters, arbitration is often preferred in personal injury cases and contract disputes so that these categories of disputes can be “tried” quickly and without rigorous compliance with court rules of evidence and rules of procedure. In a typical arbitration setting, rules of evidence and rules of procedure are relaxed and the arbitration has broad authority to consider any relevant fact, regardless of admissibility in the courts.Many arbitration cases are presented to a single arbitrator. There are established arbitration associations, of which the largest and best known may be the American Arbitration Association which has offices throughout the United States. In international disputes, the International Chamber of Commerce, International Arbitration Court of Arbitration, Financial Industry Regulatory Association, and others, provide similar services around the world.When an arbitration award is obtained,

the parties must generally file it with a court of competent jurisdiction within a specified period. In the United States, most jurisdictions including the federal courts require a petition for confirmation to be filed within a certain number of days of an arbitration decision. In the federal courts this period is generally thought to be within one year from the award, but there is a split of circuit authority on this issue. An arbitration decision becomes final judgment when it is confirmed. During the post-arbitration proceedings, however, rather than simply confirmation a party might present an application for modification or vacatur of the award and those proceedings will play out in the courts. Some courts permit such attacks; other courts severely restrict the scope of post-arbitration attacks and so it is important to consider the procedural considerations at all stages, including before commencement.

Mediation

Mediation is generally a non-binding effort undertaken to discuss a possible resolution of a dispute without further progressing through the formal mechanism. For example, parties to a divorce action or auto negligence action or contract dispute might be required by the court in which their case is pending to mediate the dispute before a neutral lawyer, law clerk, court staff, or retired judge, so that they can explore possible settlement without further burdening the court system and without waiting longer.

Our ADR Practice

We have been representing local and international clients in arbitration and mediation proceedings for two decades and more. We prepare an arbitration matter as thoroughly as we prepare for trial and present the best light possible for our clients’ cause so as to maximize their recovery and minimize their exposure, depending upon the circumstances of their case. We can travel anywhere within the United States or abroad and assist in the representation of your arbitration or mediation needs.