Notwithstanding the fact that many Courts around the country are closed indefinitely, there are still a steady stream of disputes that need resolution. In addition to the closure of courts, with current social distancing guidelines in place, it is difficult, to say the least, to effectively communicate and even attempt to resolve a dispute. Jury trials have been postponed indefinitely and judges are reluctant to conduct lengthy evidentiary hearings until the virus is under control or eliminated.
Mediation is an alternative
But there are effective methods of alternative dispute resolution that are available to the litigant under the current circumstances. One such method is known as mediation. Mediations, in contrast to arbitrations, are voluntary and the goal is to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution. This is a process where the parties in a dispute agree to allow a neutral third-party to assist them in arriving at a solution to the problem. The mediator is usually a lawyer with experience in the area of the dispute. This might be a familiarity with the applicable law and/or the industry at issue. The most important attribute of the mediator is that he or she be someone the parties and their attorneys respect.
How mediation works
Once selected, the mediator can arrange to hear the given matter in a fashion that protects the health and safety of the participants. Hearings can be held informally and virtually by computer. The process is much less costly than litigation, and eliminates appeals and issues with collection. The results are swift and must be arrived at with the agreement of the parties. This is a process that is well-suited for the unique environment that the pandemic has thrust us into currently.
Have a dispute that needs resolution?
Dan has been selected as an Illinois Super Lawyer in the areas of Commercial Litigation and Mediation for several years running.