Image of two people shaking hands after a mediationWhen it comes to running your business, it's common that you are going to run into disputes. They lurk in the shadows of contracts, partnerships, and virtually every corner of the entrepreneurial world. What's worse? The traditional lawsuit route can suck your time, and money, and even scar professional relationships. Enter pre-litigation mediation, your secret weapon.

Imagine a conflict resolution technique that's not only cost-effective but also preserves your valuable relationships. That's the power of pre-litigation mediation and if you work with trained professionals, they can often head off many of the disputes you are facing before a lawsuit is necessary.

Next time a dispute knocks at your door, remember there's an alternative. You DON'T have to go down the litigation road. Pre-litigation mediation can save your day and I've found that there are often five main benefits to pre-lawsuit mediation that many business owners can benefit from.

What is Pre-Litigation Mediation

When you see the word "litigation" it is a synonym for "lawsuit" that you may be more familiar with. In this case, pre-litigation mediation is a process where parties involved in a dispute come together before any formal court proceedings are initiated, to try and resolve their issues with the help of a neutral third party - the mediator. This approach offers numerous advantages over heading straight to court.

One of the most important steps to this process is making sure that you find a professional mediator, one who has experience in disputes like the one you may be involved in and who has the ability to lend their experience and professional guidance to the matter at hand.

Some of the benefits of pre-lawsuit mediation that I've encountered:

  • Cost-Effectiveness: One of the most significant advantages of mediation is the potential for cost savings. Litigation can be costly, not just in terms of legal fees but also the time and resources spent away from the business. Mediation, by contrast, is usually much quicker and less resource-intensive.

  • Confidentiality: Unlike public court proceedings, mediation sessions are private. This privacy can be crucial for businesses that wish to protect their reputation or safeguard sensitive information.

  • Flexibility and Control: In mediation, parties have more control over the outcome. Instead of a judge or jury making decisions, the parties involved work collaboratively to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution. This flexibility can lead to more creative solutions that better meet the needs of all involved.

  • Preservation of Relationships: Business disputes often arise between parties that have ongoing relationships, such as suppliers, clients, or partners. Mediation focuses on problem-solving in a way that is less adversarial than litigation, helping to preserve valuable business relationships.

  • Focus on Business: Litigation can distract from the day-to-day operations of a business. Mediation allows parties to quickly address and resolve disputes, enabling them to refocus on their core business activities.

Will It Work for Your Business?

While pre-litigation mediation offers many benefits, its success largely depends on the willingness of both parties to participate and negotiate in good faith. It's a voluntary process that requires both sides to be open to compromise. Before opting for mediation, consider whether your dispute suits this approach and whether the other party is likely to cooperate.

Pre-litigation mediation represents a powerful tool for businesses to resolve disputes efficiently and amicably. By choosing to mediate before resorting to litigation, businesses can save time and money, protect their relationships, and maintain their focus on what they do best. If you're facing a business dispute, consider mediation as your first step toward a resolution.

Do I Need a Business Attorney?

If you are considering mediation, before or after your lawsuit has been filed, now is a good time to speak to an attorney. Let's schedule a Legal Strategy Session online or by calling my Edina, Minnesota office at (612) 294-6982 or my New York City office at (646) 847-3560. My office will be happy to find a convenient time for us to have a phone call to review the best options and next steps for you and your business.

Andrew Ayers
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I work with business and estate planning clients to craft legal solutions to protect their legacies.
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