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Arbitration and Meditation

When business disputes and lawsuits arise, reaching a fair resolution as quickly and judiciously as possible is often the best path to take. Frequently business disputes are subject to contracts that require some form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) rather than Court. The parties’ contract may require arbitration pursuant to American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) Commercial Arbitration Rules, AAA Consumer Arbitration Rules, AAA Employment Arbitration Rules, ICC Rules, HKIAC Rules, or JAMS Comprehensive Arbitration Rules and Procedures. Contracts sometimes require mediation before initiating the arbitration as well.

Arbitration

Arbitration is a recognized dispute resolution practice by which an unbiased, independent, highly-trained individual determines the absolute outcome in resolving the conflict. This can be thought of as a similar process to using the court system, but instead of appearing before a judge or jury, the parties appear before an arbitrator, who serves as a judge, or a panel of arbitrators, more similar to a jury. Arbitrators are generally retired judges or attorneys with ample experience in the subject matter of the dispute. Like a trial, evidence and testimony is often required either by the arbitrator directly or in order to build the case. After reviewing the case, the arbitrator then makes a final, binding decision.

Arbitration may be the right course of action if speed and cost is a main issue in resolving the conflict. Many business conflicts could have an effect on current and future earnings for one or both sides of a business dispute and if that is the case, prompt resolution could be the best path. Another benefit of settling a business dispute through arbitration is that since arbitration does not leverage the court system, settlements can remain confidential.

Most arbitration cases in the United States are either heard by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) or JAMS, formerly known as Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services, Inc. Arbitration is considerably different from court litigation and it is essential to hire a legal team familiar with the unique commercial arbitration rules in each forum.

Our arbitration lawyers at Loftus and Eisenberg have arbitrated hundreds of disputes and are very familiar with JAMS, AAA, and other alternative dispute resolution providers.

Unlike court proceedings, in arbitration, parties have the right to select the arbitrator who hears the case. It is imperative to choose the right arbitrator, as they have substantial discretion and no appreciable risk of being reversed on appeal. Through our extensive experience and considerable network, the experienced Chicago arbitration attorneys of Loftus and Eisenberg will determine which arbitrator is most optimal to hear your case based on their style, knowledge, and specifics of the dispute.

Mediation

Though it is less common for complex business disputes, some construction and employment agreements require the parties to mediate before initiating any binding legal action. Parties can also voluntarily submit their dispute to a mediator.

Mediation is another form of ADR facilitated by an unbiased, neutral third-party mediator. This process tends to be more informal in which the mediator speaks in private with each party or together with both parties, managing the conversation. In this process, both parties will generally receive uninterrupted time to state their case. Once the mediator has heard and understood the positions of the parties and evaluated both the positives and drawbacks of each side, the mediator will then impartially assist the parties in coming to a willing resolution to their conflict.

Mediation is the least expensive and fastest of the ADR processes. Like the arbitration process, mediation is confidential and therefore the results are not part of the public record. Mediation is also a potentially good option if preserving a business or employment relationship between parties. A set back with mediation is that it is more open-ended and less regulated and one or both parties can cause considerable delays in determining a resolution.

Our approach to handling disputes with ADR or arbitration provided for in the contract is determined based on the specific facts of the dispute and our clients’ goal. If you are facing a dispute that requires or allows for ADR, contact the attorneys at Loftus and Eisenberg to help determine if one of these alternative dispute resolution options make the most sense before filing a lawsuit.

Arbitration Experience

Partner, David Eisenberg is a certified AAA Arbitrator, with considerable experience across all facets of AAA Commercial Arbitration in addition to JAMS Consumer Arbitration, Consumer Rules, Consumer Arbitration, Employment Arbitration, and International Arbitration.

Head of our Employment Practice Gail Eisenberg has represented countless employees in private and EEOC mediation proceedings. She was recently interviewed by WBEZ’s Reset about the passage of the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act. congress passes a #metoo milestone with bipartisan support | wbez chicago, which prohibits employers from enforcing some arbitration provisions.

Founding Partner, Alexander Loftus has had numerous successes with arbitration. One most notable was a recent successful arbitration with the Hong Kong International Arbitration Center (HKIAC) as well as numerous recent AAA and JAMS arbitrations.

The attorneys of Loftus and Eisenberg have considerable experience with International Arbitration and as disputes reach beyond the United States, we can help resolve them. Beyond this significant case, the business litigation lawyers of Loftus and Eisenberg have collectively appeared in nearly one thousand arbitrations across AAA Commercial Arbitration, JAMS Consumer Arbitration, AAA Consumer Rules, Employment Arbitration, and International Arbitration.

Contact us to discuss how the Chicago Arbitration Attorneys of Loftus and Eisenberg can defend your business interests in a customized flat-fee or contingent-fee basis, resting assured that we win, when you win.

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