Lawyers in the Dispute Resolution department engage in or challenge disputes for clients; pre-empt and attempt to prevent conflicts arising; develop contingency plans; and undertake due diligence to ascertain whether a potential acquisition target has any outstanding litigation that may result in liabilities transferring to the buyer. Disputes lawyers may work on cases involving regulatory compliance, product or personal liability, the media (defamation claims for instance), insurance or commercial fraud. Cases occasionally reach trial, which may involve taking witness statements, bundling, appealing, negotiating a settlement, and at times advocacy.
However, litigation can be costly, time consuming, distracting and damaging for a company’s reputation (if negative press attention is garnered). Accordingly, clients may prefer to pursue alternate dispute resolution (ADR) methods such as arbitration and mediation as these are private and can be more flexible, quicker and cheaper to pursue than litigation (which involves the courts).
Arbitration: a process used by parties to settle disputes. An impartial arbitrator (or panel) is nominated who may, if the parties so choose, be an expert in the field and thus be better placed than a judge to make an informed decision.
Mediation: a process conducted confidentially that involves parties in dispute nominating a neutral third party (a facilitator) to actively assist them in working towards a mutually beneficial arrangement (with a view to avoiding a trial). The parties are in ultimate control of the decision to settle and the terms of the resolution. The facilitator is not a decision-maker; he/she merely helps the parties examine the problems.
. . .
By Jake Schogger - City Career Series