Small businesses—LLCs, limited partnerships, and sole proprietorships, to name a few—experience commercial disputes just like large corporations. But unlike large corporations, small businesses do not have comparable resources to pursue or defend against lengthy litigation that springs from these disputes. For these companies, mediation is an attractive option to solve the dispute early.
Mediation features a disinterested third party (mediator) that helps guide the disputing parties to an agreement. If you are looking for cost-efficient ways to settle a business dispute, mediation is one of the best routes to consider. Besides saving you money, mediation offers the additional benefits below:
- Mediation is voluntary. Mediation only occurs when both sides agree to pursue it. So when you and the other party agree to use mediation services, it signals a positive sign that everyone is committed to a good-faith effort to resolve the dispute. The voluntary aspect of mediation is also effective at preserving future business relationships.
- The disputing parties control the outcome. Due to the amount of cases on any court docket, the presiding judge is unlikely to have ample time to appreciate every nuance of the business dispute you are embroiled in should you pursue traditional court litigation. In traditional court litigation, you and the other party in dispute are at the mercy of a legally binding decision made by a jury or a single judge who may not take all relevant factors into account. But mediation, by its nature, empowers both sides to work together to come up with an acceptable solution to the dispute.
- Mediation is confidential. While traditional litigation is a matter of public record, the results of mediation are confidential. Businesses that involve sensitive information, such as trade secrets, could especially benefit from the confidential nature of mediation by ensuring confidential information does not become public.
- Mediation leaves you with options. There is no automatic obligation for the agreement reached in mediation to be considered enforceable in court. Even if the parties in mediation are not ready to issue an agreement at the end of the proceedings, both sides will leave with a greater understanding of the other side’s position that will aid them in solving the dispute. Additionally, the sides may still choose to go to court if they wish.
Capshaw & Associates believes any small business involved in a commercial dispute should consider using mediation as a cost-efficient method for coming up with a solution. Our attorneys have experience representing parties in mediation and as mediators. To learn more about our firm’s approach to mediation or speak with a member of our team, please reach out to us here or by calling at 214-761-6610.