101 South Washington Street, Rockville, Maryland 20850

Mediation & Arbitration

As experienced litigators who frequently strategize with clients about the costs and benefits of litigation compared to alternative forms of dispute resolution, the attorneys at Brault Graham in Rockville often encourage the use of mediation or arbitration to resolve a dispute. Below is a look at how mediation and arbitration typically operate, and the benefits each type of dispute resolution has to offer the parties who participate.

How Mediation Works

In a mediation, a trained facilitator acts as a neutral third party to help the parties understand the issues and each other’s respective interests and positions, with the goal of bringing them together toward a satisfactory resolution. There are many different ways to conduct a mediation, but they frequently last several hours to a day or more, and the parties commit to participating as long as necessary to reach agreement. If agreement cannot be reached, the parties are free to pursue litigation of their dispute, hopefully with the issues narrowed and a better understanding of the differences that remain.

The Benefits of Mediation

Mediation is typically faster and less expensive than litigating a matter all the way to trial. More importantly, in mediation the parties themselves have a hand in crafting the resolution, rather than having a decision imposed upon them by a judge or jury. A mediated resolution is therefore more likely to be satisfactory to both parties, and since the parties themselves are invested in the resolution, they are more likely to implement it voluntarily, without the need to return to court for enforcement actions. Another benefit is that a mediation is private, and the resolution can remain confidential, unlike a court proceeding which is a matter of public record.

How Arbitration Works

An arbitration is similar to a trial in the courtroom, in that each party presents its side of the case to a trained, neutral third party, who considers the evidence and renders a decision that is typically binding on the parties. The rules of evidence are generally less restrictive than what one would find in court, however, and the arbitrator has more leeway to consider each party’s arguments. Besides binding arbitration, the parties may opt for nonbinding arbitration, where they are not bound to follow the decision of the arbitrator. This form of arbitration can help the parties see how a trial may be resolved, which can be helpful in spurring settlement talks when earlier discussions have stalled or reached an impasse.

The Benefits of Arbitration

The person chosen to arbitrate a dispute is typically someone with years of experience and particular expertise in the subject under dispute, as opposed to a judge or jury who may not understand the technical aspects of the issues. This makes the preparation and presentation of evidence easier and less costly for the parties, and decreases the overall time of an arbitration as compared to trial. As with mediation, an arbitration is private, so the proceeding and any resulting decision can be kept confidential if desired.

Swift, Effective Dispute Resolution in Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

Brault Graham represents parties in mediation or arbitration in a variety of settings. Additionally, attorneys from our firm serve as mediators in cases in which we do not represent either party. A key to the success of a mediation or arbitration is the parties’ voluntary willingness to actively participate in the process. When combined with the high level of skill and experience brought to the table by the attorneys in our firm, a successful and satisfactory resolution of your dispute is a practical, achievable goal. For assistance in alternative dispute resolution in Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and surrounding areas, call Brault Graham at 301-424-1060.