5 Key Benefits to Using Mediation to Resolve Your Business Dispute

Business disputes can arise for a seemingly infinite number of reasons. Even if a business relationship has been working well in the past, circumstances can change. Before incurring the significant, cost, time, and headache of litigation, consider mediation by a qualified third party to settle your dispute. Here are five key benefits for doing so.
1) It’s personal.
Mediation is where an independent, trained third party listens to both sides of a dispute and helps the parties work towards a mutually agreeable solution. Many good business mediators are corporate lawyers that can see both sides and understand how business relationships work. The mediation process is more personal than litigation as the mediator can talk directly with the parties during a mediated settlement conference outside the formal setting of a courtroom, and can help steer the parties toward a personalized solution that is acceptable to both sides.  It is often said that if both parties leave a mediation feeling like they got screwed, the settlement was probably fair. This may be how the parties feel at the time, but experienced business people eventually realize that the benefits of settling a dispute through mediation far outweigh the risk and unpredictability of litigation.
2) It’s faster.
Cases in the court system can drag on for years. Even the fastest cases take several months to resolve. Mediation, on the other hand, is much faster. The process itself doesn’t take nearly as long, scheduling a mediated settlement conference is usually simple, and the preparation required to go into mediation is not nearly as onerous. In business, time is money and mediation is much better about valuing time than the courts.
3) It’s less expensive.
As referred to above, litigation is expensive. The copious amounts of money required to fund a complex commercial litigation case could bankrupt many businesses. That money could be much better spent executing on a business’s vision for success. Mediation frankly is a bargain compared to litigation. Smart companies see mediation as a form of investment because more often than not, it can help preserve relationships and make them stronger while also figuring out a solution to the problem.
4) It can save relationships.
Businesses work hard to maintain relationships with customers, partners, vendors, and employees. Relationship building is a smart business practice and pays dividends each year. When a problem arises, however, there is a threat that the relationship will end – or worse, become a drain on or distraction to the business. Mediation is uniquely suited to prevent this outcome in that it works to get the parties talking through a neutral third party. Instead of having to write off a relationship due to a disagreement, mediation can help save that relationship and possibly make it stronger in the long run.
5) It is usually confidential.
Another key way mediation diverges from litigation is confidentiality. Unlike in the court system, there is no public record of the dispute, and more importantly, no public airing of the dirty laundry. There are no official records or transcripts. Mediation can be discrete and private, which allows the parties to be open and willing to provide information. This makes the mediation that much more likely to be successful. In some circumstances (such as some non-court ordered settlement conferences) additional steps must be taken to ensure confidentiality is protected.  Consult with your mediator if you have concerns about the confidentiality of your settlement conference.
Mediation has numerous benefits over litigation, which is why so many people use it. If you have a business dispute, you should consider mediation. Chris Clark is a North Carolina Superior Court Certified Mediator.  He has the experience and understanding of business concepts that improve your chances of reaching a successful resolution. Contact us today to find out more.  

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