In the mid-1970’s, a show called “The Six Million Dollar Man” aired. In it, a super human was created who could do everything faster, stronger and better. In thinking about Alternative Dispute Resolution, the same three themes arise. Below is are concise reasons why it is in every litigator’s best interest to seriously consider mediations and/or arbitrations, instead of going to court, to help resolve their client’s cases.
Faster. ADR has always been a more expedited approach to dispute resolution. Even as Covid has apparently begun to wane, the courts are slow to fully open and absorb an oversized load of litigation. It’s simply impossible to move the breadth of cases that currently exist in an expeditious manner. In a normal setting, cases generally take multiple years before they are resolved; however with the added layer of Covid, courts will be bogged down for a long time. This provides trial attorneys with the opportunity to fast track their cases by getting them before an experienced former jurist, who has the know-how to move their cases along, and at a fraction of the cost. While cases can cost tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars, mediations and arbitrations generally cost a fraction of those amounts. In the end ADR is almost always cheaper and faster.
Stronger. Both arbitrations and mediations have the theme of finality attached to their brand. Arbitrations generally always have a binding effect on the parties. In my experience handling arbitrations, both within my company or through a prestigious organization such as the American Arbitration Association, creates an air-tight decision. Both motions and final arbitration decisions are hard to appeal, which gives both sides the feeling of completion within a case. In court, a motion or bench/jury decision may be appealed, leading to lengthier and more expensive cases dragging on without the feeling of completion. Arbitrations take away that concern. Mediations can also have the same effect. Mediations have the ability to be more collaborative, and when a case settles, the mediator creates a binding term sheet that all the parties sign, binding them to the resolution that came out of mediation. In the end, both of these methods of ADR are much more stronger and binding and create finality to a case.
Better. ADR began to get noticed in the mid-1980’s; however, it didn’t really take hold until toward the end of the 20th century. Now, it is much more common to see arbitration clauses built into agreements, thereby recognizing the cost/time saving structure built into ADR. Litigation, however, has become longer and more protracted than ever before. Cases may have multiple appeals, and verdicts and bench decisions get challenged. Cases can take years to resolve in the courts and if a trial attorney gets an inexperienced judge handling a case, it can become a nightmare. Using an experienced, former judge to assist attorneys and their clients with ADR saves time, money, aggravation, and gives everyone peace of mind.
During my 15 years on the bench, I did my level best to help attorneys and their clients get their cases resolved. Even then, it was a challenge. With Covid, everything stopped for a time and that only created a huge backlog of cases. During the past year, Rosenbaum Mediations has helped resolve dozens of cases. Well over 90% of my cases were resolved and given attorneys and clients finality to their cases and allowed them to move on with their lives. The cost savings were noticeable and mediations were generally resolved in a day or two, and all my arbitrations were decided within three weeks of the hearing. ADR truly is a faster, stronger and better way to resolving cases.
~ Hon. Matthew Rosenbaum (ret.), is a retired NYS Supreme Court Justice, founder of Rosenbaum Mediations, PLLC, and a panelist for the American Arbitration Association . He has resolved thousands of cases, both small and highly complex. For more information, go to www.RosenbaumMediations.com.