Insurance. Claims. Litigation.

Using Mediation to Resolve Business Disputes Often Makes Good Business Sense

September 15, 2014 - Categories: Articles

Disputes and disagreements are an everyday part of life.  Unfortunately, when parties enter into a business relationship, conflicts and arguments can seriously jeopardize the relationship. 

Regardless of whether the conflict stems from a contractual dispute, a difference among business partners, or another matter, serious problems can arise when parties are unable to resolve their disagreements.  Far too often, when parties fail to settle a conflict on their own, they mistakenly believe that the only option is to take the matter to court.  Litigation is a costly and time-consuming endeavor. It is a highly adversarial process designed to create winners and losers, destroying important business and professional relationships.

Mediation is a Viable Alternative to Business Litigation

Mediation presents a viable and superior alternative to litigation.  Mediation is a voluntary process where disputing parties seek the services of a trained mediator to help resolve their conflict.  The mediator serves as a neutral third party who works with the parties to identify and understand the issues in dispute and the needs of all parties involved.  Mediators do not make judgments about who is right or wrong.  They do not render decisions or force parties to accept a settlement.  The role of the mediator is to help the parties work together so that they can develop their own resolution, to the satisfaction of everyone participating in the mediation. 

Mediation works best when the parties are voluntarily participants committed to working with one another to resolve their conflict. Most mediation sessions begin with the mediator explaining how the mediation process will work. Each party to the mediation will then have the opportunity to present their case and set forth their position.  The mediator may ask questions of the parties to gain a better understanding of the dispute and the needs of each of the participants. 

Once the mediator has a basic understanding of the problem, he or she will work with the parties to explore the issues and identify common goals and objectives.  The parties may then brainstorm with the mediator to develop creative solutions to resolve their conflict.  Once the parties reach a resolution that is agreeable to everyone, the Massachusetts mediator will prepare a brief settlement document setting forth the terms of the agreement that will be signed by all parties involved in the mediation. The attorneys representing the parties will then consumate the settlement in a more formal manner.

Benefits of Mediation

When a business dispute arises, mediation can be a powerful tool to help the parties resolve their differences.  Mediation can be highly effective and offers significant benefits, including allowing the parties to:

  • Save time and money by avoiding expensive and lengthy litigation
  • Identify creative solutions that satisfy the needs of all of the parties
  • Remain in control of the outcome, which in turn often results in a higher rate of compliance with the terms of the agreement
  • Repair and preserve important business relationships
  • Protect their privacy– mediation sessions are private and confidential
  • Reach agreements tailored to their individual needs and situations

According to the American Arbitration Association, more than 85 percent of all mediations result in a mutually acceptable resolution.  While mediation can be used at any point in time, it is often most successful when it is used early in the dispute, well before the parties have resorted to litigation and have dug in their heels.  If you are involved in an ongoing business or legal dispute, contact a skilled Massachusetts mediator to determine how mediation can help resolve your dispute and work to preserve critical business relationships. 

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