Business disputes in OR: Is there an alternative to a courtroom battle?

There are many options for resolution of business conflicts in Oregon.

Legal issues abound in the business world. A contract for employment or provision within a rental agreement may come into dispute, a fiduciary duty or restrictive covenant may be breached. Regardless of the issue that results in the dispute, it is important for those looking for a resolution to consider all available avenues. One such avenue is alternative dispute resolution.

What is alternative dispute resolution?

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a legal term used to encompass a variety of processes that are available as an substitute to traditional litigation within a courtroom. The ADR process is gaining popularity throughout the country and is often a very successful option. The Department of Justice reports that 75 percent of all voluntary ADR proceedings in 2016 were resolved.

What are some types of ADR?

Two common examples include mediation and arbitration. Each option has its benefits and risks. Having a basic understanding of the two can help those who are attempting to navigate a legal dispute determine if alternative dispute resolution is an option.

Mediation: What is it and what are the risks and benefits?

The Oregon Judicial Department defines mediation as "an informal, voluntary, and confidential way to resolve disagreements." The process generally involves the use of a trained mediator who guides meetings between the parties. The meetings are designed to take on the form of negotiations, with the mediator encouraging the parties to discuss concerns and work towards developing a resolution.

The process is not intended to determine who "wins" the legal issue. Instead it is geared at developing a resolution that both parties can agree to uphold.

Arbitration: What is it and what are the risks and benefits?

In contrast with mediation, the arbitration process generally does result in a determination of which party "wins" the legal issue. This form of alternative dispute resolution has more in common with a traditional court case than mediation.

The arbitration process involves an arbitrator who reviews all submitted evidence. The arbitrator will schedule hearings and generally provides a decision within 20 days after the hearings are finished. The process is generally less time consuming and less expensive than traditional litigation.

In some cases, the resolution developed through arbitration is mandatory. It may be challenged, but not as easily as the resolution developed through mediation.

Alternative dispute resolution: Is it right for my legal issue?

Although the above information can help those with legal issues take ADR options into consideration, it is important to seek legal counsel before determining which path is right for your legal issue. An attorney can review the details of your dispute and provide guidance tailored to your unique situation, better ensuring your business interests are protected.