Ron’s services include mediation, arbitration, early case evaluation, negotiation consulting, complex case management, special master and ad litem work and, in selected cases, as trial counsel.
What is Mediation?
Mediation leaves control over the dispute, and the terms of any settlement, in the hands of the parties themselves. This is quite different from a trial in court or an arbitration hearing, where the parties turn over control of the case and the outcome to strangers – a judge, jury, arbitrator or panel of arbitrators who decide the case. The mediator doesn’t decide the case. Instead, he or she simply helps the parties come up with a solution that, while not “ideal” and not an absolute “win” for either side, is acceptable to everyone. The mediator’s primary role is to act as an “agent of reality,” someone who points out privately to each side what their risks are and how much it is likely to cost for that “day in court.”
Mediation typically lasts a day or two, whereas the discovery and pre-trial stage of litigation often lasts months or years, and a trial itself may drag on for weeks or months. That expenditure of time translates to money. There are intangible costs involved in trial as well, such as the stress involved and time spent thinking and worrying about the dispute, which always exacts a mental and emotional toll. Even if the parties choose an early mediation, they will still incur some legal expenses, of course, they will pay a mediation fee to the mediator (typically a flat fee per party for a day of mediation). Comparatively, mediation is significantly less expensive. But perhaps most importantly, mediation also reduces the “quality of life” costs.
What is Arbitration?
Arbitration is a process whereby the parties present their case to a third-party, private tribunal. It may be binding or non-binding and is generally a process entered into by agreement. In arbitration, the parties introduce their witnesses and evidence in a private trial setting to a third-party arbitrator or panel of arbitrators. In arbitration proceedings, the arbitrator’s primary role is to listen objectively to the evidence, ask questions of the witnesses, parties and their attorneys and then rule or make an award in accordance with the law and equity. The process is more informal than a trial at a courthouse and generally the rules of evidence and rules of procedure are relaxed in deference to a more expedited and efficient proceeding. Once the evidence is closed, the arbitrator has a designated period of time in which to make their award and findings on behalf of the parties. Also, unlike a verdict or judgment in court, an arbitration award is generally not subject to appeal.
Arbitration has the potential advantage of sometimes being more efficient both in the pre-arbitration stage as well as in the arbitration hearings than a courtroom trial and because of that efficiency, it may be less costly to the parties.