ADR is not only for businesses. As a consumer, you probably have already signed agreements that call for mediation and or arbitration, whether you know it or not. If you are employed or do business with a company, a vendor, a credit card company, a bank, a retail store and most other businesses in America today, you already are involved in an ADR process to handle any number of issues that may arise.
If a serious dispute of any nature emerges, you should first consider all of your options. Before agreeing to just any mediator or arbitrator of the company choice, you should investigate all of your alternatives for neutrals.
Why Alternative Law?
Alternative Law is accepted as neutrals by most companies and the U.S. government and is one of the leading providers of ADR services in the country. The initials ADR stand for Alternative Dispute Resolution, resolving disputes outside of the traditional courtroom, through the use of mediation, facilitation or arbitration.
Alternative Law strives to provide the most cost effective alternatives to going to court. As one of the industry leaders in this field, we resolve disputes of a legal, personal, or professional nature with our group of trained mediators and other professionals, outside of the time and expense of the litigation process.
Alternative Law is a government approved and recommended company that provides the clearest alternatives to ligation. If your primary goal is to sue the other side or to engage in a long court case, you do not want us, you want a firm that specializes in litigation.
If your last option is to sue or go to court, then we can help you. It must be clearly understood, that we do not want to help you spend the time and money to litigate, unless absolutely necessary. We are not completely against litigation, sometimes we even agree that is your last best strategic alternative or negotiating position, but our experience indicated that it is usually not the best idea in the vast majority of cases.
If you are already in court, our job is to find a way to get the best results for your case, in the fairest and quickest way possible. Most importantly, we do not want you to give up any strategic advantages. It has to be in both sides interest to settle and both sides have to want to retain a mediator. We help develop practical plans to benefit the strategic interests of the parties in a dispute. Our settlements allow you to achieve tangible results, finality and closure.
For over 20 years our mediators have been practicing Alternative Law mediation and ADR, Alternative Dispute Resolution services. Our mediators have been trained by approved mediation institutions such as U.S. Government Agencies such as The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Cornell University, Harvard Law School, University of Massachusetts, Dispute Resolution Masters Program, the ABA, the Council of Family Mediators or other local and national approved entities for mediation and ADR training. We get results and your satisfaction is guaranteed.
BEST IDEAS WIN MEDIATION
WINNER TAKE-ALL NEGOTIATION
DIRECT AND INDIRECT NEGOTIATION
SUMMARY JURY TRIALS
PRIVATE JUDGING PROCESSES
STRATEGIC AND PREVENTATIVE PLANNING
ADR SYSTEM PROGRAM DESIGN
HIGH LOW ARBITRATION
FINAL OFFER ARBITRATION
PRIVATE JUDGING MEDIATION-
ALTERNATIVE LAW ADR SYSTEMS At ALTERNATIVE LAW, our clients are assisted by expert, professional neutrals mediators,arbitrators, professors, and attorneys) who use a full range of the latest, most advanced, rigorously tested dispute resolution processes and techniques that range from direct and indirect negotiation, to facilitation and mediation, including where absolutely necessary litigation to achieve satisfactory resolution.
MEDIATION PROCESSES In Mediation Processes, a third party neutral works to facilitate a negotiated settlement between the parties. The mediator facilitates the negotiations and evaluates the relative merits of the claims and defenses. The neutral does not have power to impose a solution or decision, but the parties retain ultimate control over the outcome. The terms of the agreement are limited only by the interests and creativity of the parties and the neutral. By agreement and permission of the parties, the neutral sets the ground rules and may seriously affect the order of the proceedings, the parties’ collective and individual analyses and the general dynamic of the settlement discussion.
BEST IDEAS WIN This is by far our most successful and the option of choice for many of our clients because of its quick turnaround and high satisfaction and settlement rate.The “Best Ideas Win” is the most practical approach to resolving conflicts. It involves exploratory, interactive and participatory discussions with the parties. We will work with counsel if you, or the other side has representation, but it is not required. We combine an historical perspective with a detailed analysis of the facts, personal, business and legal issues surrounding the case at hand to help determine a fair and just resolution of the issues at hand.
FACILITATIVE MEDIATION is a process in which outcome control remains almost entirely in the hands of the parties and counsel. The mediator restores communication and helps to create options for resolution by: Ensuring that all relevant information is exchanged and heard by the parties or confirms that there is a good reason why it isn’t being exchanged. The mediator also providing parties the ability to vent, coaching negotiators on next moves, helps the parties invent settlement options, transmit offers, and works to overcome potential impasses .
EVALUATIVE MEDIATIONS Evaluative mediation occurs when the mediator creates more structure and injects his or her own view or prediction of the trial outcome. It is often used for more difficult cases, where the gap between the parties is large, the issues somewhat complex and the stakes high. The mediator allows the parties to test the reality of their predicted outcomes by: Working to thoroughly understand the parties’ factual and legal arguments Providing feedback on the relative merits of claims and defenses Offering his or her prediction of the outcome in court In some circumstances, recommending settlement ranges.
TRANSFORMATIVE MEDIATION At the outset as agreed by the parties, the agreed goal of this type of mediation and educational process it is to transform the method and ways of thinking for the participants, so that their future interactions will be accomplished in a different, less confrontational manner.
NEUTRAL EVALUATIONS Neutral evaluation is a non-binding process in which the parties retain a neutral to provide an evaluation based solely on the merits of the case. The neutral first reviews the factual and legal positions of the parties either through briefs and oral arguments. Next they evaluates what the likely jury outcome might be. The provides their views of the likely or fair results . They have the option to be retained to facilitate the parties negotiations.
DIRECT NEGOTIATION is where the parties collectively retain complete
formal and informal control over the process and its outcome including:
The ground rules and the agenda The selection of the neutral The place
and timing of the negotiation Use of their own negotiation styles and
strategies When and how they communicate, listen and convey reactions
Whether to obtain outside information, comment,or feedback and if
so,whether to introduce it the decision to end the process at any time
The ability to discuss and agree upon issues and solutions that need not
relate directly to The subject matter of the dispute The acceptance of
an outcome unless mutually agreed upon.
INDIRECT NEGOTIATION also
sometimes referred to as as private caucusing, occurs when all offers
are passed through to the neutral so that the parties do not have to
engage in meetings or direct contact. This can occur throughout various
stages of our processes.
STRATEGIC AND PREVENTATIVE PLANNING This is our program to design preventative ADR systems that will reduce the
incidences and recurrence of conflict and more easily channel all future
participants into your alternative system of your choice to reduce time
and legal costs for you and your organization.
ARBITRATION When mediation is not appropriate, arbitration is an excellent method to keep your case out of the clogged court system. Arbitration is a process whereby a neutral party, sometimes referred to as a private judge, is responsible for deciding the outcome of a legal case, outside the costs and confines of a courtroom. Because arbitration is a much quicker and less expensive process that normal litigation, it is one of the fastest growing areas of dispute resolution. It can be utilized in all types of legal cases such as commercial, employment, housing, discrimination, and family disputes.
SETTLEMENT CONFERENCES Settlement conference are simple, evaluative mediations frequently used in uncomplicated cases, where the parties may or may not be present and the neutral is an expert mediator, arbitrator, professor, who: Reviews the cases with the parties and after a discussion of the facts and issues, suggests a settlement number or ranges.
MINI-TRIAL Mini trial is a highly structured, formalized and evaluative mediation process in which the parties cede a great deal of procedural control in order to reframe the dispute from the context of litigation to the context of a business problem. It requires the participation of non-legal party representatives with settlement authority who sit as a panel with the neutral. The neutral advisor may work closely with the parties before the hearing to facilitate agreement on procedure and resolve disputes. They may oversees the panel of senior business officers moderates the mini-trial hearing and then provides an evaluation if necessary. Finally they can facilitates settlement between the parties after rendering his or her evaluation.
SUMMARY JURY TRIAL Summary Jury Trial is also a highly structured, formalized and evaluative meditation process in which a private “jury pool” is assembled to hear the case. The neutral advisor sets up and presides over the process and oversees a mediation/negotiation period following the procedure to get agreement on settlement terms
NON-BINDING ARBITRATION Non-binding arbitration is a hearing process that looks and feels like arbitration, but is advisory, not binding. The neutral advisor coordinates, sets up and presides over the process. They review the factual and legal positions of the parties through briefs or oral arguments and evaluate what the likely arbitration outcome might be.
NEUTRAL EXPERT FACT-FINDING Neutral expert fact-finding can be a stand-alone, non-binding process, or it can be part of a larger non-binding process. It is used to help resolve a disputed technical issue. The neutral: Finds facts and provides analysis after hearing presentations by the parties, and their experts Acts as a substitute for partisan experts Can conduct an independent investigation into the technical facts and issues.
COURT APPOINTED SPECIAL MASTERS/DISCOVERY MASTERS Court Appointed Special Masters/Discovery Masters are appointed by sitting judges to assist with disputes that are legally or administratively complex. Discovery Masters are selected by the parties rather than appointed. The Special Master or Discovery Master: Assists in designing case settlement options May mediate the cases or groups of cases for mass torts Mediates discovery disputes Makes rulings on discovery issues that can’t be resolved.
ADJUDICATIVE OR JUDGING PROCESSES In Adjudicative Processes, a third party neutral is brought in to hear and consider facts and/or arguments presented by the plaintiff and defendant, and renders a reasoned binding decision or solution based upon an agreed upon standard of legality or fairness. The neutral’s role is to issue a solution for the parties, not to help them reach a mutually agreed-upon solution to their dispute.
ARBITRATION long used as an alternative to litigation in commercial disputes and labor disputes, offers less formal procedures, abbreviated presentations and the undivided attention of the neutral. The arbitrator rules on discovery requests and disputes They determines whether to apply rules of evidence and to what degree hears expert witnesses and cross examinations, reviews briefs, documents and other exhibits. They entertains argument by counsel before rendering a decision Administers arbitration according to the Rules and Procedures for Arbitrations
HIGH LOW ARBITRATION High-Low arbitration also known as bracketed arbitration occurs when the parties structure an agreement to “bracket” or limit the possible range of outcomes. The parties may agree that the arbitrator: Will decide only the issue of liability with predetermined sums to be paid by the defendant or plaintiff accordingly Delivers a verdict on liability and damages while agreeing in advance on minimum and maximum payment sums Is not told the high low range, in effect creating “blind high low” arbitration.
FINAL OFFER ARBITRATION Final offer arbitration, used in the sport of “baseball” occurs when the plaintiff and the defendant each separately submit a “final offer” to the arbitrator. The arbitrator then chooses an appropriate settlement between the offer or the demand presented based upon the arguements heard.
PRIVATE JUDGING : Private judging a private trial conducted by an expert is most similar to a conventional trial in that judgment may be appealed for errors of law, or as against the weight of the evidence. The neutral: Is selected by the parties, often because he or she has the necessary expertise for highly complex or technical issues Is asked to try the issues in a case and to make findings of law or fact Enters a decision as a judgment which will become a matter of public record Offers parties the flexibility to exert some control over the timing of the resolution of their dispute
MEDIATION AND ARBITRATION: Med-Arb combines aspects of both mediation and arbitration. It offers both parties the ability to participate in a mediation, having agreed in advance that if they unable to reach a settlement, the process will then shift to an arbitration. The neutral can then serve as both mediator and arbitrator in an “integrated” process, acting to facilitate negotiations and also making binding decisions on stalemated issues along the way in a “separate” process will attempt to achieve a mediated settlement before changing roles” to decide any unresolved issues or enforce previously agreed contract points. If for some reason, mediation does not produce a complete settlement, then arbitration is the next step in this dispute resolution process. The same mediator who by now is very familiar with both parties interests and positions, will decide the case on its merits. Some clients feel that this process effectively serves a two fold purpose and provides them with two bites of the apple. It also educates the arbitrator thoroughly on all of the issues which provides for a clearer solution in the event that a complete agreement is not reached.
OFFER MED/ARB Occurs when each party makes an offer and the arbitrator decides which one to take.
LITIGATION This is our least utilized option as the parties have minimal control over the process or its ultimate outcome, but sometimes in very rare cases it is a necessity or the most desirable option: The court retains ultimate authority, interpreting and applying the rules of civil litigation and the parties have very limited options. The court sets discovery deadlines, conference dates and trial dates The neutral decision-maker is determined by the court The rules of trial practice and evidence in the presentation of the case must be followed Parties are bound to the facts found and decisions made by judge and jury, subject to limited right of appeal only narrow forms of remedies are available–an award of money damages or limited injunctive relief Arbitration When mediation is not appropriate, arbitration is an excellent method to keep your case out of the clogged court system. Arbitration is a process whereby a neutral party, sometimes referred to as a private judge, is responsible for deciding the outcome of a legal case, outside the costs and confines of a courtroom. Because arbitration is a much quicker and less expensive process that normal litigation, it is one of the fastest growing areas of dispute resolution. It can be utilized in all types of legal cases such as commercial, employment, housing, discrimination, and family disputes.
ALTERNATIVE LAW provides the options, but the choice is yours. You can selected standard mediation, standard arbitration, or med-arb. Negotiation Sometimes, some people just want to plain-out win. We all know that feeling and we have all felt it. Our negotiation training and skills can help you do just that,-but, just maybe in a slightly different manner than you might expect. Mutual communication is very important for us to understand our clients needs and for our clients to understand the strategic implications of implementation of a particular plan of action. Are relationships important for the long term, for the short term, or not at all? Is it win at all costs deal or should it be a win-win situation for all parties. Does reputation or repeat or future business matter? What is this cost benefit approach and risk analysis and exposure? These are just some of the questions that have to be answered, understood and analyzed.
Training is a critical component for every organization and every person. It is part of our educational process that we value highly and that provides long lasting and effective resolution to disputes. Alternative Law is a strategic asset which can unify your organization, agency, department, vendors, and staff. We provide expert on site personnel and diversity training, conflict systems design, dispute prevention plans, negotiations and mediation trainings to enhance your organizational development, satisfaction and retention. Alternative Law’s services can be included as a preventative measure in contracts, as a workplace and cultural training tool, or as a stage in the problem solving and identification process. It can also be used during litigation as part of your settlement proceedings or at any phase, prior to a judge making the decision for you. Even lawyers and government officials can agree on some facts of life. In an adversarial process, certain legal cases can just waste time, money, and every other valuable resource. There are alternatives.
ALTERNATIVE LAW provides creative options, systematic solutions, and well developed strategies for agencies, officials, and employees to settle issues when they are stuck in a dispute. Processes such as mediation, facilitation, and negotiation provide cost effective alternatives to your legal systems. They increase control over conflicts, self determination, information-based decision making, and effectively reduce recurrent controversies.