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Keep your dispute 'off the books' with arbitration

In some disputes, sitting across the table and hammering out a solution just isn't feasible. If you tried this approach it didn't work, you may now be considering litigation, but you don't necessarily want the potential "bad press" that airing your dispute in a public forum may bring.

Since your efforts to work out your issues amicably didn't produce a satisfactory settlement, you may not want to attempt mediation. Because of this, you may think that litigation is your next step. Of course, you have every right to file a lawsuit, but there could be another way to keep your dispute private -- arbitration.

Types of arbitration

This alternative dispute resolution method comes in two types. The arbitration process can be either judicial or private. Judicial arbitration is often court-ordered and non-binding. True, it means that you may have the chance to appeal the arbitrator's decision, but it also means that you probably already filed a lawsuit, which is public knowledge. To a certain extent, you lose the ability to keep the proceedings private.

This is one reason why many prefer private arbitration. Other benefits include the ability to choose the arbitrator. In addition, you can enter into agreements regarding the resolution of future potential disputes before they arise. You and the other party may enter into an arbitration agreement outlining what issues the arbitrator has the authority to hear and decide. In many cases, these agreements are part of the original contractual agreement between the parties.

How arbitration resembles litigation

In some ways, arbitration follows the same path as litigation. A neutral third party, the arbitrator, hears testimony, reviews evidence from both sides and then renders a decision. Because the arbitrator's decision is binding on the parties, it may also provide an incentive to revisit negotiations before it's too late. Many people involved in lawsuits also find new motivation to negotiate when faced with a binding court verdict.

How arbitration differs from litigation

Arbitration generally takes less time and money. You could go through the entire process in just a few months instead of potentially waiting years and spending many thousands of dollars for litigation to go to trial. You choose your arbitrator, which does not have to be a judge. You can hand pick someone with the right knowledge and experience to hear your case. Most often, you and the other party need to agree on who will serve as arbitrator.

How to find the right support and assistance

If you choose to use arbitration to resolve your dispute, you would still benefit from having an attorney. Since you will still need to make a case, provide the appropriate evidence and make legal arguments, having a legal advocate could prove invaluable to achieving the outcome you desire.

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