The Art of Communication News

Mediation and Arbitration: Resolving Disputes through Alternative Means

March 27, 2024

In the realm of dispute resolution, mediation and arbitration stand out as prominent alternatives to traditional litigation. Both processes offer parties involved in a conflict an opportunity to address their grievances outside the courtroom, often promoting quicker and more amicable resolutions. While mediation and arbitration share the overarching goal of resolving disputes, they differ significantly in their approaches, procedures, and outcomes.

Mediation is a voluntary and collaborative process where a neutral third party, known as the mediator, facilitates communication and negotiation between conflicting parties. Unlike arbitration, the mediator does not impose a decision but encourages the disputing parties to find a mutually agreeable solution. The emphasis in mediation lies on communication, understanding, and compromise. Participants maintain control over the final outcome, fostering a sense of ownership and satisfaction.

Mediation is particularly advantageous in preserving relationships, as it allows parties to express their concerns openly and work towards a resolution that accommodates their unique needs. The process is flexible, often quicker, and more cost-effective than litigation. Moreover, the informality of mediation encourages creative problem-solving, leading to solutions that may not be attainable in a more structured courtroom setting.

In contrast, arbitration is an adversarial process where disputing parties present their cases before a neutral third party, the arbitrator, who renders a binding decision. Arbitration resembles a simplified version of a courtroom trial, complete with evidentiary rules and formal procedures. While arbitration shares some characteristics with litigation, it remains a private and less formal process.

The key distinction in arbitration lies in the fact that the arbitrator, unlike the mediator, has the authority to make a final and binding decision. This characteristic grants a sense of finality to the process but also reduces the parties' control over the outcome. Arbitration is often preferred when the parties seek a resolution that is legally enforceable, akin to a court judgment.

LVK has extensive experience navigating both the mediation and arbitration processes with clients. Recently, Emma Singer achieved an excellent settlement outcome in a dispute between former business partners. Resolving the issue through mediation allowed her clients to avoid over $285,000 in potential litigation costs and settle all claims in a single day.

John Rake had a recent securities case that went to private arbitration and resulted in a dismissal of prejudice of all claims against LVK’s client.

Julie Vacura is an arbitrator with Arbitration Services of Portland. She has served on dozens of arbitration panels . As a result, she is uniquely positioned to guide LVK clients through the arbitration process and provide insight from the arbitrator and advocate perspective, whether the dispute is subject to Arbitration Services of Portland or another arbitration service.