Should I Litigate or Arbitrate my Legal Dispute?

April 1, 2016 - Categories: Legal Articles

Everyone knows that litigation can be very expensive and time-consuming. Many advocates strongly believe that using alternative dispute resolution (ADR) tools is a quicker and more affordable way to resolve disputes. However, it is important to understand that this is not always true. Thus, you should confer with legal counsel to discuss whether ADR or litigation is the best strategy for resolving your legal dispute.

Depending on the type of dispute you are trying to settle, arbitration can be as expensive as litigation. The arbitrator may charge significant fees to conduct the arbitration. You will still be required to pay your own attorney’s fees (at least until you are awarded a judgment requiring the opposing party to pay your attorney’s fees). If you use a panel of arbitrators, you could be required to pay half of their hourly rates as well. Even paying for only your half of the arbitration expenses can be costly.

One of the most expensive phases of litigation is the discovery phase, which is the process where each side exchanges all of their evidence related to the case. This includes exchanging documents and records, taking witness depositions, and sharing other forms of information. Arbitration typically has a discovery phase that is more streamlined, but it can still be quite expensive. If you are dealing with a party that is implementing delay tactics, the costs of discovery can sky-rocket. If this type of conduct occurs in litigation, you at least have the ability to go to the judge for assistance or the imposition of penalties against the party dragging their feet.

Most importantly, the losing party in arbitration typically has a difficult time appealing the arbitrator’s decision. In other words, if the arbitrator rules against you, you may be stuck with the decision. In a lawsuit, you generally have the right to appeal the judge or jury’s decision to be reviewed by a higher court.

Arbitration can be an effective means for resolving disputes, but it is important to confer with an experienced attorney to verify it is the right way to resolve your specific dispute. Call us today at 855.583.6521 or visit us online to schedule your initial consultation.