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Mediation vs. Litigation – Which Is Right for You?

When legal disputes arise in business, they can damage your company’s image, professional relationships, and bottom line if not carefully handled. While litigating the matter can be effective, especially if there’s a lot at stake, many business owners today opt to resolve disputes in ways that don’t involve the courts. One such way is mediation.

Mediation Explained

Unlike litigation, mediation is a straightforward process. Each side presents its position in front of a neutral third party with the intention of creating a settlement. The mediator’s role is to facilitate negotiations between you and the other party. They are not judges and cannot impose legally binding decisions. They work to help each side understand the other’s point of view and reach a mutually-beneficial resolution.

When you participate in mediation, you can choose to be represented by an attorney, although it isn’t necessary. Some of the biggest benefits to mediating your dispute include:

  • Lower cost because there are no pretrial expenses and costly delays
  • Takes less time than litigation. Mediation can be completed in a single day or even a few hours
  • The business relationship is easier to preserve afterwards because you are not pitted against each other in a courtroom trying to win at one another’s expense
  • The process is confidential, unlike litigation, which becomes public record
  • You have a measure of control over the outcome
  • You and the other side can reach an agreement that benefits you both

It’s been said that everyone deserves their day in court. Perhaps that old mantra should be modified with “only when necessary.”

Litigation Explained

Sometimes you are left with no alternative but to litigate a business dispute. Although going to court is both stressful and expensive, it may be your best option, especially if the other party refuses to negotiate or you don’t trust them to be completely honest during mediation.

Litigation commences when one side files documents (usually a summons and complaint) at the appropriate courthouse, serves them on the other party, and gives that party the opportunity to respond. Each side is usually represented by an attorney, and if pretrial negotiations fail, the matter goes before a judge and possibly a jury.

Advantages of litigation include:

  • Full discovery takes place. You have the opportunity to review relevant documents and learn more about the other party’s situation than you would in mediation.
  • Unlike mediation, court decisions are legally binding, which is important if the other side has a history of disregarding mediated solutions.
  • You have the right to appeal an unfavorable decision from the judge or jury and try for a better result the second time around.

At Portuondo Law Firm, our goal is to work with you to resolve business disputes in a timely and effective manner while avoiding disruption to your business. We also do not believe in taking a “one size fits all” approach. The circumstances surrounding your disagreement are as unique as the parties themselves, so our team will explore the whole range of legal options available to you and then advise you on which one is best suited to your situation. To schedule a consultation, please contact Portuondo Law Firm today.

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Portuondo Law Firm

Portuondo Law Firm provides custom services to South Florida businesses and residents. The Firm provides the personalized experience only a boutique firm can, without sacrificing quality.

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