Every day, there are new headlines about different business suing each other over copyright, employment practices or other complex company issues. With the bombardment of headlines, it seems like duking it out in court is the only way a company can settle its disputes.
However, most business owners prefer to settle their conflicts away from the courtroom due to costly lawyer fees and lengthy court procedures. For most entrepreneurs, the disadvantages of going to court outweigh the possibility of winning the case.
Luckily, you don’t have to bring your business disputes to court. There are other options, especially mediation and arbitration. Both options allow you to work with an experienced attorney to find a compromise between you and the other person or company.
The most common resolution process is mediation, which allows parties to meet face-to-face and work together to reach a compromise. The mediator acts as a neutral third party and facilitates the conversation in the most productive way as possible. It’s an entirely different environment than litigating in court – it’s an environment meant for conversing peacefully.
Another option is arbitration, which is almost like an informal trial. You and the other party submit all information to an arbitrator, then present your arguments for the dispute. There is no judge or witnesses to back up your case. However, the arbitrator does make a final “ruling” and resolves the issue. It’s typically faster and more final than mediation.
The better option depends on your specific dispute and the relationship between the parties. If you choose either option, make sure to hire an attorney. You may not be settling an issue in court, but it does have legal ramifications on your business and future.