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The Howard Law Firm llc has extensive experience resolving disputes on behalf of people and businesses in a wide range of personal and commercial disputes, including claims for breach of contract, business torts, fraud, consumer fraud and claims involving condominiums. When most people hear the term “dispute resolution,” images of a court room with a judge or a jury who decides which party wins and which party loses come to mind. While The Howard Law Firm llc possesses extensive experience litigating disputes in court, there are other important ways that dispute are resolved, and The Howard Law Firm llc has deep experience in these areas. Forms of dispute resolution outside of litigation are often more efficient and economical. In fact, the concept of dispute resolution encompasses at least four distinct branches:
  • Settlement negotiations
  • Mediation
  • Arbitration
  • Litigation
Quite often, parties in dispute successfully resolve disputes on their own or through guided negotiations utilizing counsel. The Howard Law Firm llc is committed to resolving disputes peacefully and without engaging in other dispute resolution procedures if possible. Doing so often presents the most efficient and economic way to resolve a dispute and further may result in improved relationships between the previously disputing parties. We have an outstanding track record of assisting clients to resolve disputes through aided negotiations.
However, there are times when the disputing parties cannot reach a settlement through unaided negotiations. When this happens, mediation may be a viable alternative. Mediation generally involves selecting a competent, neutral third-party mediator whom each of the disputing parties trusts and respects. The mediator does not have to be a lawyer or a judge, but can be a person who is simply knowledgable in the subject matter. After the mediator is selected, the disputing parties each have an opportunity to tell their story and to explain to the mediator, in as much or as little detail as they chose, why their position is right. Importantly, nothing that is said in the mediation can be used in any subsequent proceeding for any reason. This enables the disputing parties to discuss the disputed subject matter freely and without fear of adverse consequences. Thereafter, the mediator will privately meet with the disputing parties individually, will address his view of the case and will attempt to facilitate a settlement. However, the mediator has no power over the disputing parties. The mediator cannot enter any judgment, cannot order the disputing parties to do or not to do anything and cannot even discuss what was said or occurred in the mediation with any person who was not involved in the mediation. Rather, the mediator’s sole goal is to facilitate an amicable settlement. The mediator does not care if an agreed-upon settlement favors one party over another. Rather, so long as the disputing parties agree to settle on specified terms, the mediator has accomplished his goal. The Howard Law Firm llc has successfully represented parties in numerous mediated disputes, including large, complex matters.
Unfortunately, there are also times when an amicable resolution is simply not possible. In some of these cases, the disputing parties will have a contract that requires disputes to be resolved in arbitration. Arbitration is different from mediation in many respects, perhaps the most important of which is that the arbitrator functions as a judge, does have the power to rule on the parties’ claims and defenses and, in some cases, can order the parties to do or not to do certain acts. In these respects, arbitration is very similar to litigation before a court. However, arbitration is also different from litigation in important ways. First, arbitration does not involve the government resolving a dispute and, for this and the other reasons discussed below, is frequently viewed as a less expensive alternative to litigation that, in theory, provides the parties with more control over the dispute resolution process. For instance, in arbitration, the parties are typically free to chose the arbitrator, and the arbitrator does not have to be a lawyer or a judge, but may be a person whose knowledge of the subject matter qualifies them to resolve the dispute. In addition, many of the rules common to litigation do not exist in arbitration. For instance, arbitration often involves little or no discovery (the court process by which lawyers investigate claims), it often does not involve application of the rules of evidence (the court rules through which the judge or jury is allowed to receive information about the case) and one’s ability to appeal an arbitrator’s judgment is seriously limited. The Howard Law Firm llc has more than a decade of extensive experience successfully arbitrating numerous claims, including large, complex and highly technical claims.
Finally, litigation is the process through which the government resolves parties’ disputes. Litigation involves filing a complaint in federal or state court which sets forth the theories of recovery and the damages claimed. Thereafter, the parties are typically free to take discovery, including such things as requests for the production of documents, interrogatories (written questions to parties), depositions (oral questions to parties and witnesses) and other devices. Once discovery and motion practice is completed, a trial before a judge or jury occurs, after which judgment is rendered and appeals, if any, are taken. Litigation is often viewed as the lengthiest and most expensive form of dispute resolution. However, depending upon the circumstances, litigation may nevertheless present the best forum for dispute resolution. For instance, disputes cannot be arbitrated unless the parties have an agreement to do so. Similarly, in some circumstances, a party may desire the full panoply of discovery and appeals rights that litigation affords. The Howard Law Firm llc has more than a decade of experience successfully litigating some of the largest cases at the highest levels in federal and state court. We have obtained substantial judgments and summary judgments for clients on large, bet the company cases, and we have obtained zero liability decisions for clients whom we have defended.
Regardless of the dispute resolution mechanism involved, The Howard Law Firm llc provides superior legal services economically and efficiently. If you are involved in a business or personal dispute, The Howard Law Firm llc can help you. Please contact us for a free consultation.