Mediation and Arbitration

Because civil litigation can be an expensive way to resolve conflicts, courts have long urged parties to divert civil cases into various modes of alternative dispute resolution ("ADR"). Increasingly businesses resort to ADR because it is efficient, cost-effective and also allows parties more control and more ability to craft outcomes to everyone's overall benefit. Sproul Law Offices offers two forms of ADR: arbitration and mediation.

Arbitration is a form of private judging wherein the arbitrator takes evidence and testimony, then renders a decision in the form of an arbitration award. Arbitration procedure is streamlined and somewhat less formal than the civil procedure in the public court system, so normally parties obtain a decision sooner and with less expenditure on discovery and on preparation for a trial. The Alameda Superior Court notes that: "Arbitration is effective when the parties want someone other than themselves to decide the outcome." Parties may agree in advance, or their contracts will specify, whether the award will be binding and final, or whether one or both parties can reject the award and proceed to trial. Martin Sproul has appreciated the trust shown him by disputants coming to Sproul Law Offices to resolve their differences.

The Alameda Superior Court defines mediation as follows: "A neutral person (mediator) helps the parties communicate, clarify facts, identify legal issues, explore settlement options, and agree on a solution that is acceptable to all sides." Mediation is basically negotiation among disputing parties that is assisted by a skilled "neutral", the mediator. Unlike an arbitrator, a judge or a jury, a mediator does not decide for or against any participant in mediation, and does not impose a result by award, verdict or judgment. Instead, using "shuttle diplomacy" and other techniques, a mediator assists parties in overcoming their differences, if possible, and in coming to their own resolution. In a mediation leading to successful resolution, the mediator works with the parties to craft a solution to conflict that respects and advances the interests of all parties and heals rifts or breakdowns in human relationships, in a variety of contexts: business, professional, personal, or among neighbors. Occasionally parties cannot compromise or agree on some or all points in dispute, but in such situations mediation may be of value in clarifying what it at stake and focusing goals to be pursued by other legal means. Mediation is an approach to dispute resolution that is of particular value when the parties to the dispute must, or may choose to, continue to relate or do business with one another.

Martin Sproul has received extensive training in mediation skills and techniques. In addition, Martin is trained in techniques of active listening, open-ended inquiry, and in understanding both individual psychology of conflict and group dynamics. He also brings to mediation his many years of practice representing parties in arbitration and mediation. Participants in Martin's mediations feel that their legitimate concerns are understood and their aspirations for resolution supported. Participants emerge from the crisis or stasis of conflict with a path forward that will take into account economic realities and goals, fairness and justice, and the dignity of all concerned.

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The above information does not constitute legal advice, nor does it create an attorney/client relationship. Please see the disclaimer under the "Contact" tab.