Although we have written the following practice area descriptions in terms of litigation, whether it be in State or Federal court, The Solis Law Firm, PC certainly can and presently does provide legal services for all of these practice areas in arbitration and mediation forums.
Originally, due to its specialized nature, construction disputes were commonly under an arbitration provision in the controlling contract. Increasingly, though, due to growing specialization in all areas of disputed issues and also from the congestion in the court systems, parties are including an arbitration provision in the contract between them (if no such provision exists, the parties may not proceed to court except under mutual agreement). Arbitration is under different rules (negotiable between the parties), is typically before a “neutral” with experience in the field, and is quicker, but more expensive as it is a private proceeding. It is also confidential as opposed to litigation that is of public record. The neutral or arbitrator has no compulsory powers, but the award may be confirmed by a court of record that does have such powers.
Whether by contractual provision or mutual agreement, parties often attempt mediation as a condition precedent to arbitration or litigation. The proceeding, like arbitration, is before a neutral and is much less formal than litigation or even arbitration. The key difference is that mediation is non-binding—you are under no obligation to accept anything. The parties each state their position, then break out into separate caucus rooms where the neutral will carry messages back and forth, attempting to bring about a resolution. The challenge is to know whether to terminate the proceeding, if the other party is simply wasting your time, or keep on negotiating if you think a resolution will be reached. We have often “forced” a resolution by demonstrating that we are willing to walk out the door and proceed to arbitration or court.
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