Home / Insights / Should You Agree to Mediate or Arbitrate a Dispute Voluntarily?

Should You Agree to Mediate or Arbitrate a Dispute Voluntarily?

January 4, 2023

Litigation can be time-consuming and expensive which is why courts encourage parties to try alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods such as mediation and arbitration. In mediation, the parties work with a neutral third-party mediator who does not determine who wins the case but does help facilitate discussion and settlement between the parties. In arbitration, the neutral third-party arbitrator does render a decision that is typically binding on the parties. Both processes offer significant advantages over litigation in many cases as discussed below. However, an experienced attorney can assist you in evaluating whether you should voluntarily agree to mediate or arbitrate based on your particular circumstances.

Is Mediation or Arbitration Faster Than Litigating in Court?

Mediation and arbitration matters tend to be resolved quicker and more efficiently than traditional court cases. Unlike in a court proceeding, you will be selecting a mediator or arbitrator who has a much lighter caseload than most judges and has time to hear your case. As a result, the whole process moves faster than litigation in most situations.

How Much Control Do You Have Over the Mediation or Arbitration?

A significant advantage of mediation and arbitration is that you have much more control over the process from start to finish than you would have in litigation. While many organizations that handle mediation and arbitration like AAA, FINRA, JAMS, and ICC have well-defined rules and procedures, there are fewer restrictions and rigid timelines compared to litigation. You also can choose the mediator or arbitrator and determine the scope of their duties.

What Issues Should Go to Mediation or Arbitration?

You have the ability to specify the issues that you want to be handled in mediation or arbitration. Further, within the same case, you may designate certain claims to be heard in a court and others to be heard by a mediator/arbitrator. 

Can You Choose Who Will Hear the Mediation or Arbitration?

Typically, when you litigate a matter, you have virtually no control over which judge will hear your case. This could mean that a judge with little to no experience in the areas relevant to your case could be assigned to your matter. 

However, in mediation/arbitration, you have much more power to determine who will hear your case. You and your opponent can come up with a list of potential mediators/arbitrators who are well-versed in your industry, type of dispute, or specific area of law applicable to your claims. You can even agree on the specific person who will hear the matter. This would never happen in court.

How Do You Choose Whether to Litigate, Mediate or Arbitrate?

Mediation and arbitration have many benefits, so before commencing an action in court, speak with an attorney to determine which option is right for your case.

Our attorneys are skilled in representing clients in court and ADR proceedings. Contact us for a consultation.


Smith Legacy Law:
Your Lawyers For Life

Recent Posts

Should You and Can You Terminate an Irrevocable Trust?

Irrevocable trusts are created with the intent that they cannot be altered, amended, or revoked. The benefit is that such trusts can be used to minimize estate taxes or protect assets for numerous purposes such as Medicaid planning or to provide creditor protection....

S Corporations and Estate Planning

Owning shares in an S Corporation can present some unique issues when it comes to your estate planning. An S-Corp is a corporation that elects special tax status under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Subchapter S. Often a business owner chooses S-Corp status because...

How Can You Get Information About a Trust If You Are a Beneficiary?

If you are the beneficiary of a trust but lack critical details about the trust, most states have streamlined procedures in place that allow you to obtain information without the need for a full court proceeding. As a trust beneficiary, you are entitled by law to...

Mediation in Litigation

Litigation is usually thought of in very adversarial terms. The parties fight in court arguing for their position and there is an identifiable winner and loser. The traditional court setting does not necessarily lend itself to compromise or creative resolutions....