Why should businesses look at mediation to resolve disputes? When a dispute arises, business leaders first turn to counsel to evaluate the risk, time, and resources a dispute may require to resolve. Litigation or arbitration may cost legal fees, expert fees, require hundreds or thousands of hours of employee time, and require time and attention of business decision makers. All of this results in lost business opportunities by devoting these resources in a reactive manner to a dispute instead of a proactive manner to ongoing and future business. More often than you think, early mediation can result in resolution cheaper, easier, and faster than any other dispute resolution process.
Mediation is an empowering process for both sides. First and foremost, it is confidential. Anything said or discovered at mediation cannot be used outside of this forum. This confidentiality gives everyone freedom to communicate which is necessary to get to the heart of the dispute.
For the side that feels aggrieved, mediation gives that side an opportunity to vent, to be heard, and to air grievances to someone that listens and is there to help bring resolution. This opportunity can be harnessed and utilized to then bring these issues to the other side’s attention. Often, there is a complete misunderstanding about what is really driving the dispute, and this forum gives the parties a private and confidential opportunity to openly communicate. Once the dispute is out in the open, both parties can work with the mediator to craft a solution that is very often far more beneficial to both sides than a money damages verdict given by a judge, jury, or arbiter.
For example, a dispute may arise between two businesses that own adjoining real property. Business A may be developing its property and construction may be underway. Business B discovers that there has been a loss of lateral support and erosion to the boundary between its property and Business A’s property. The two, through mediation, could craft a solution to this issue that would involve stabilization of the boundary and remediation of the eroded property. If the case were tried, the only relief a judge, jury, or arbiter can give is money. Business B may spend thousands of dollars in legal fees, experts, and time/resources and may not make those investments back in the judgment it receives. By mediating, the two parties could work to craft a solution that results in prompt stabilization of the boundary, remediation of the erosion, and gets both sides back to business.
Back to business is the desire of everyone in business. Business leaders want to know “what’s next,” not “what now?” Get your business back to business, and consider business mediation as an early response to your disputes.