Mediation & Arbitration
About Alternative Dispute Resolution
The United States is one of the most litigious societies in the world,
investing approximately 2.2 percent of the nation's gross domestic
product - approximately $310 billion or $1,000 per capita - in tort litigation
alone, according to an
economics professor at Emory University. The state and federal courts in many areas of the country are notoriously
crowded. Getting a court date can often take several weeks or months,
a fact which imposes insufferable delays on legal action.
Increasingly, many courts are imposing mandatory alternative dispute resolution
on parties seeking a hearing of a civil action. This requirement is part
of an effort to lighten dockets and to make it easier for cases to move
through the court system with a minimum of stress and delay. While it
is true that some cases can only be effectively resolved through adversarial
litigation, many can be resolved through mediation or arbitration.
Alternative dispute resolution methods involve having the disputing parties
meet in an informal setting out of court in an attempt to negotiate an
acceptable settlement without judicial interference. A trained mediator
or arbitrator serves as a neutral third party, and his or her role is
to facilitate discussions, clarify legal questions, keep the negotiation
process on track, and assist in crafting a legally sound settlement agreement.
Approaches to Mediation & Arbitration
Also generally referred to as mediation, this process is conducted as
described above, with the additional condition that the mediator does
not impose any type of decision on the parties. The final agreement is
at the disputing parties' discretion. In the event that the parties
cannot reach an agreement, the matter may still proceed to court for a trial.
In this approach, both parties agree to the selection of an arbitrator
who generally assists in the manner described above, but at the conclusion
of the process, he or she is called upon to issue a ruling on the matter.
The parties have agreed at the outset to abide by this ruling and will
nearly always have agreed to waive their right to take the matter to trial.
Proven Mediation Services in New Orleans
The team at Montgomery Barnett, L.L.P. includes attorneys in New Orleans
who are neutrals of the American Arbitrators Association; FINRA, formerly
known as the National Association of Securities Dealers and New York Stock
Exchange; and the National Arbitration Forum. The lawyers have a history
of providing alternative dispute resolution services for clients ranging
from small businesses to companies listed on the Fortune 500.