ALTERNATIVE LAW’S ADR Dispute Resolution Systems are designed to work in conjunction with legal departments and law firms to settle disputes at any stage of the legal process. We design multiple options for effective strategic assistance for dispute resolution, inside or outside of a courtroom.
Our company is about satisfaction and results: results for you, results for your client, and results for your firm.
We are an exclusive ADR, Alternative Dispute Resolution firm. We do not compete for your client. We are neutral. We will not do litigation. The other distinguishing characteristic about our firm is our satisfaction guarantee. We eliminate all uncertainty for you. It is our goal to insure that you and your clients will be completely satisfied with our firm’s services. If you are not completely satisfied, we offer the industry’s leading safety net — a money back guarantee.
- MULTIPLE MEDIATION PROCESSES
- BEST IDEAS WIN MEDIATION
- FACILITATIVE MEDIATION
- TRANSFORMATIVE MEDIATION
- EVALUATIVE MEDIATION
- NEUTRAL EVALUATION
- SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE
- DIRECT AND INDIRECT NEGOTIATION
- WINNER-TAKE-ALL NEGOTIATION
- SUMMARY JURY TRIAL
- NEUTRAL EXPERT FACT-FINDING
- COURT APPOINTED SPECIAL MASTERS/DISCOVERY MASTERS
- PRIVATE JUDGING PROCESSES
- HIGH-LOW ARBITRATION
- FINAL OFFER ARBITRATION
- MEDIATION-ARBITRATION (MED-ARB)
- ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION SYTEMS DESIGN
- PREVENTION PLANNING
At ALTERNATIVE LAW, clients are assisted by expert and professional neutrals (mediators, arbitrators, professors, and attorneys) who utilize a full range of the latest, most advanced, and most tested dispute resolution processes between direct negotiation and litigation to achieve resolution.
THE ALTERNATIVE LAW ADR SYSTEMS
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 — 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 the 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 MEDIATION
BEST IDEAS WIN is a mediation process developed by our Alternative Law Mediation Results program. It is a very interactive and participatory process designed to promote a fair and just result for both sides. It requires active participation by the mediator to help the parties to formulate a resolution – if they are unable to do so amongst themselves. It is the most successful process in difficult cases and has been used with Fortune 500 companies, the United States Government, non-profits, divorce cases, and plaintiff and defendants’ counsel all across America.
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
Providing parties the ability to vent
Coaching negotiators on next moves
Helping parties invent settlement options
Transmitting offers and demands
Working to overcome potential impasses
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 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
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:
Reviews the factual and legal positions of the parties either through briefs/ oral arguments
Evaluates what the likely jury outcome might be
Provides his or her view of the likely/fair results
Is not retained to facilitate the parties negotiations
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, agree upon issues and solutions that need not relate directly to the subject matter of the dispute
The acceptance of an outcome mutually agreed upon
All offers are passed through to the neutral so that the parties do not have to engage in meetings or direct contact.
The parties have minimal control over process or outcome. The court retains ultimate authority, interpreting and applying the rules of civil litigation. 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.
Settlement conference is a simple, evaluative mediation frequently used in uncomplicated cases, where the parties are often not 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 range.
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:
Works closely with the parties before the hearing to facilitate agreement on procedure and resolve disputes
Oversees the panel of senior business officers
Moderates the mini-trial hearing and then provides an evaluation if necessary
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. The advisor oversees a mediation/negotiation period following the procedure to get agreement on settlement terms.
Non-binding arbitration is a hearing process that looks and feels like arbitration, but is advisory, not binding. The neutral advisor(s):
Coordinates, sets up and presides over the process
Reviews the factual and legal positions of the parties through briefs or oral arguments
Evaluates 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
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 to render 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 an 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(s). The arbitrator(s):
Rules on discovery requests and disputes
Determines whether to apply rules of evidence and to what degree
Hears expert witnesses and cross examinations
Reviews briefs, documents and other exhibits
Entertains argument by counsel before rendering a decision
Administers arbitration according to the JAMS 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 chooses an appropriate settlement between the offer or the demand presented based upon the settlement heard.
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
Med-Arb offers parties the ability to participate in a mediation having agreed in advance that if unable to reach a settlement, the process will shift to an arbitration. The neutral:
Can 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
Will attempt to achieve a mediated settlement before changing roles” to decide any unresolved issues in a “separate” process
Acts as either the mediator or the arbitrator but not both in a Med-Arb Opt-Out
Makes a binding settlement decision between the final offer or final demand given in a Final
Occurs when each party makes an offer and the arbitrator decided which one to take.