Mediation and Arbitration
Over the last couple of decades, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedures have become a more common mechanism for resolving disputes between parties, without the need for litigation. The recent prevalence of ADR procedures, such as mediation and arbitration, has made a significant impact on parties who wish to avoid the emotional and financial costs of going to court, as well as the long delays associated with litigation. KDDK’s registered mediators handle civil (i.e., business and commercial), as well as domestic disputes and are experienced in providing mediation services on a wide-array of issues, both before and after a lawsuit has been filed.
Mediation is a voluntary dispute resolution process designed to guide participants through several steps that promote mutual understanding and agreement between parties. This process is facilitated through a neutral, impartial mediator. Mediation is conducted through a four-step process:
- Assessment/Information Gathering: The mediator works with the parties to identify specific issues and set an agenda. Participants discuss case information, facts and legal theories as well as any obstacles or limitations to resolving the dispute.
- Brainstorming: The parties and mediator identify possible settlement options and ways to resolve the dispute.
- Negotiation: Based on the information gathered and available settlement options, the mediator works with each side to reach a mutually acceptable compromise or settlement.
- Final Settlement or Impasse: If the parties are able to agree on a settlement, the mediator drafts the parties written Final Settlement Agreement and the parties sign the Agreement at the conclusion of mediation. At this point, the signed Agreement becomes the binding agreement between the parties with regard to the dispute. If no agreement can be reached between the parties, an Impasse is declared and the parties may proceed with litigation to resolve the dispute.
Mediation provides participants the opportunity to explore a variety of settlement options without concern that the negotiations will become court evidence and potentially reach a mutual, cost-effective and binding agreement early on in the life of a dispute.