Litigation & Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution Series: Early Neutral Evaluation

We continue our Alternative Dispute Resolution Series with a discussion of Early Neutral Evaluation. Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE), also known as “Neutral Case Evaluation” and “Case Evaluation,” is when one or both parties use a third-party neutral to evaluate the strength of their case, generally early in the life of the dispute. Just as with arbitration and mediation, there are different forms and styles of ENE, but the core structure is the same. In ENE, the third-party neutral reviews the evidence, listens to parties’ summaries of their cases, and gives the parties a written evaluation of the case.

The Benefits of Early Neutral Evaluation

Parties, including clients and their attorneys, often inaccurately assess the strength of a case. This can lead to...

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Litigation & Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution Series: 3 Secrets to Mediation Success

In our Alternative Dispute Resolution Series , we highlighted why mediation and arbitration are increasingly popular alternatives to litigation in business disputes. In this post, we’ll dive into three strategies you should employ when mediating a dispute.

Mediation is a commonly used alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method where parties can enlist the help of a third-party neutral (the mediator) to hopefully come to a resolution. As we discussed in our earlier post in the ADR Series, in mediation, the parties in dispute have much more control over the process than they would have in litigation. In this post, we’ll discuss how parties can take advantage of this process in order to increase their likelihood of success:

1. Separate the people from the problem

It is...

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Contracts

Alternative Dispute Resolution Series: Arbitration

In our last post in the Alternative Dispute Resolution Series, we discussed the growing ADR industry and the basics of mediation. In this post, we’ll discuss the other very popular ADR method, arbitration.

In arbitration, a third-party neutral (arbitrator) hears both sides of a dispute and decides on a specific issue or award. Often, an arbitration is very similar to a trial, because the parties will present opening statements, evidence, witnesses, and closing statements. Witnesses are also generally subject to direct and cross examination. However, the biggest difference is that the arbitrator takes the place of the decision maker in a trial. After the arbitrator reviews the evidence and hears the case from both sides, he or she will issue a...

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Litigation & Dispute Resolution

ADR Series: Beginner’s Guide to Mediation

Mediation is a process where a third-party neutral (the mediator) guides the parties through the negotiation process, and the parties decide on a mutually-beneficial agreement. Mediation is generally a non-binding alternative to litigation that allows parties to work with a neutral to air their grievances and receive neutral feedback on how best to reach a resolution.

Mediation dates back to ancient cultures. The traditions of Confucianism and Buddhism encourage finding agreement through moral persuasion rather than coercion. The Ancient Greeks and Romans employed intercessors in settling disputes. And as the world became more connected, mediation took on a significant role in international relations. The United Nations Charter names mediation as an important means for peaceful resolution of conflicts.

In the United States, influenced...

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Litigation & Dispute Resolution

Series: The Basics of Alternative Dispute Resolution

The phrase “Alternative Dispute Resolution” (ADR) refers to the different methods parties in conflict use to resolve disputes rather than filing a traditional lawsuit in court. The process can be as simple as meeting to discuss a possible settlement or as formal as an arbitration that can look a lot like a trial. ADR is growing industry, because many “consumers” are fed up with the high costs of lawyers and litigation and the uncertainty surrounding a drawn out court battle. ADR generally decreases costs and expedites the process of reaching an agreement between parties in dispute. It’s popularity and benefits are so valued that many courts now require parties to a suit to go through mandatory arbitration or mediation before...

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Contracts

Understanding Contract Terms (post 6): Arbitration

As is the case with all the terms we discuss in this series, you have likely run across the term arbitration in a number of contracts. You also probably have a vague idea of what arbitration is. Today’s post will give you a better understanding of why contracts include an arbitration clause, including some of the benefits and drawbacks to using arbitration instead of the traditional litigation process.

First things first, let’s explore the definition of arbitration. Webster’s Dictionary defines arbitration as the hearing and determination of a case in controversy by an arbiter. Essentially, when a dispute arises between two parties, the case is brought before a neutral third party (the arbitrator), and each side presents its side of the...

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