Litigator & Trial Practitioner – Denver, Telluride & the Western Slope of Colorado

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In light of the enormous costs of civil litigation and crowded court dockets around the country many jurisdictions encourage or require parties in litigation to participate in alternative dispute resolution.   There are many good reasons to participate in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).  Some of the best are:

  1. Alternative Dispute Resolution may actually settle the case and end the litigation.  The statistics on how many civil cases actually go to trial are well known.  In short, most cases eventually settle prior to trial.  A well-run settlement conference often leads to settlement, or at a minimum the beginnings of a path to settlement, thus saving the parties expense, stress, and time.
  1. Alternative Dispute Resolution gives the parties control over the outcome of a case.  One aspect of litigation that parties tend to discover once it begins is that they have little or no control over how the case is handled and determined.  Instead, they are dependent on lawyers to prepare their case (and therefore frame the issues to be determined and what facts are important to portray to a fact-finder) and on judges or juries to determine their fate.  In a well-run ADR, the parties can regain control of the matter and have a significant role in the outcome.   It is a time for counsel to take a back seat to the parties and empower them to develop their own solutions to their conflicts.
  1. Alternative Dispute Resolution gives the parties a chance to be heard.  Most litigation involves parties who are logical and who hold valid points of view.  People generally want to do the “right thing” even if they are at odds with each other. Above all else, parties want to be heard and have their views respected.   A well-run ADR should be empowering to parties in that it is one of the few times during the life of a case that they may speak candidly and confidentially to a neutral about their experiences, their views of the case, and their views of the opposition’s case.
  1. Alternative Dispute Resolution allows the parties and counsel to prepare their case for trial and learn something about the other side’s case.   Lawyers should use mediation as an opportunity not just to settle their case on terms advantageous to their client, but to discuss case issues confidentially with a neutral and to learn something about the other side’s case.  Even mediations that do not result in settlement can be very beneficial to a party and counsel as they prepare for trial.  Parties can agree to share information when it is in their mutual interests.  Parties can utilize ADR to set the stage for future settlement discussions.
  1. Alternative Dispute Resolution gives the parties a chance to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of their own case.     One of the best benefits of ADR is the opportunity for lawyers and parties to receive feedback from a neutral about their own case, for better or worse.  A mediation that does not settle a matter can nevertheless be productive because parties and counsel receive a neutral’s view of their arguments, even (and sometimes especially) when the feedback is critical.   While there are different views on whether a neutral should offer his or her own thoughts on the merits of a dispute, a well-run mediation usually gives the parties insight on their case they otherwise would not have received.

Roger Sagal is available to conduct ADR and mediation throughout Colorado.  If you are interested in hiring Roger as an ADR neutral, please contact our offices for more information about our Alternative Dispute Resolution services.