At Saiber, we understand the cost associated with litigation, the bureaucracy and delay associated with the court system and the adversarial nature of litigation make it a daunting process for a growing number of individuals and businesses. With this in mind, we created our Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) practice group to resolve matters more efficiently, while continuing to advocate strongly on our clients’ behalf to achieve the desired results.
Our lawyers are highly experienced in functioning as independent neutrals, i.e., mediators or arbitrators, to resolve disputes among companies or individuals who are not our clients. Both federal and state courts regularly appoint our attorneys as mediators and arbitrators in business, employment and other matters. Saiber’s team includes a former New Jersey federal court judge and a former Superior court judge who together possess more than five decades of courtroom experience and are highly skilled and sought after mediators and arbitrators. Overall, our ADR attorneys represent more than a century of combined experience in resolving disputes.
In its simplest form, mediation is a flexible, non-binding, confidential process in which a neutral person facilitates settlement negotiations. The mediator improves communications across party lines, helps parties articulate their interests and understand those of the other party, probes the strengths and weaknesses of each party's legal positions, identifies areas of agreement and helps generate options for a mutually agreeable resolution to the dispute. The mediator generally does not give an overall evaluation of the case. A hallmark of mediation is its capacity to expand traditional settlement discussion and broaden resolution options, often by exploring litigant needs and interests that may be formally independent of the legal issues in controversy.
Arbitration is an adjudicative process in which an arbitrator or a panel of three arbitrators issues a binding award on a case’s merits after an expedited, adversarial hearing. The ability of either party to appeal the award is very limited. Arbitration occurs earlier in the life of a case than a trial and is less formal and less expensive. Because testimony is taken under oath and is subject to cross-examination, arbitration can be especially useful in cases that turn on credibility of witnesses. Unlike mediators, arbitrators generally do not facilitate settlement discussions.
A Special Master is appointed by the court (with the consent of counsel) to assist the court and counsel with their case management responsibilities, including discovery and privilege disputes, in order to keep the case moving towards a fair and reasonable conclusion. Because of the complexity of litigation and the numerous issues that arise as a result, a Special Master is able to remove the day-to-day roadblocks that frequently burden the trial judge and delay ultimate resolution of the matter.
Former United States District Judge Alfred M. Wolin is frequently appointed by federal courts to act as the Special Master in complex litigation. Additionally, in class action litigation, he is often selected to allocate damages between different classes of plaintiffs and to apportion legal fees between different law firms.
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