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Alternative Dispute Resolution? It Depends

I am forever asking people in business how their work has changed since their career began. Let me offer my opinion on the sea change in personal injury law. The prevalence of alternative dispute resolution- arbitration and mediation has quickened the resolution of cases and has made their processing cheaper. Those are significant advantages. When I started practicing personal injury law almost thirty years ago, alternative dispute resolution was a mere concept. Not surprisingly, cases often lingered for years as it was not unusual to wait many years for a trial.

Of course, quicker and cheaper are not preferable if the result is not good. Empirical data is not easy to come by. Actually, how can it be? Who can say for sure that a jury would have awarded more, less, or the same as a particular arbitrator? What matters is what your lawyer knows about the players, the arbitrators and mediators. It is up to your lawyer to guide you the client, to say yes or no to arbitration or mediation, and to say yes or no to a particular mediator or arbitrator. After all, a quick resolution may not be a better resolution. Then again, it may be better if your attorney has selected the right individual.

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