It has long been a reality that most civil lawsuits, both in state and federal courts, are resolved without ever going to trial. Many courts, both in the state and federal systems, require litigants to participate in early “alternative dispute resolution” to explore the possibility of fully settling cases, narrowing issues in dispute, or participating in a neutral evaluation of the case. These processes, whether it is mediation or early neutral evaluation, have become an essential component of pre-trial procedures, and it is important for the parties to be fully engaged and prepared for this aspect of litigation.
The choice of a neutral mediator, arbitrator or evaluator with the skills, knowledge and experience relevant to and required for your cases is an important decision. The alternative dispute resolution stage of litigation presents an opportunity for all parties, whether plaintiffs or defendants, to explore the relative strengths and weaknesses of both their and their opponents’ cases, and to consider alternatives to what is usually a long, expensive, and emotionally draining litigation path