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ADR Methods and Fees

      --MEDIATION is a voluntary, non-binding method of resolving disputes. It is a proceeding in which a neutral third party, the mediator, assists disputing parties in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement regarding their dispute. The mediator does not render a decision but rather facilitates discussion among the parties to assist them in resolving the dispute themselves. Mediation is often useful in any civil or domestic dispute. "Pre-divorce" mediation benefits spouses who are contemplating a divorce by resolving as many of their issues as possible before filing papers and hiring lawyers.

      --ARBITRATION is based on a contract between the parties to submit the dispute to an arbitrator, rather than pursuing the expensive and time-consuming litigation process. Unlike a mediator, who assists the parties in reaching a mutually agreeable result, an arbitrator decides the outcome of the dispute, and that decision is final, binding, and generally non-appealable. The decision can be enforced by the courts.

Arbitration is frequently used in business, commercial, and employment situations where the parties have some type of contract. Even without a pre-existing contract to arbitrate, parties already in litigation can agree to use arbitration, and can stipulate whether the decision will be binding or advisory.

      --Aside from standard mediations and arbitrations, VARIATIONS exist, which may suit a particular dispute better:
      ----MED/ARB parties begin with mediation and go straight to binding arbitration if they have nor been able to come to agreement during the mediation session;
      ----LAST OFFER ARBITRATION-During the arbitration process when a dispute involves a monetary claim or question of value, parties may prefer to submit their last demand and last offer to the arbitrator, authorizing that person to select one or the other, and agreeing to be bound by the selection;
      ----EARLY NEUTRAL EVALUATION is a non-binding process in which a neutral person reviews the case with the litigants and candidly assesses the strengths and weaknesses of their positions. The evaluation will often educate the unrealistic client or attorney, and promote settlement discussions, or perhaps narrow the scope of discovery;(or perhaps to the court).

      ---FEES: Mediations, $150 per hour. Domestic or family mediations, $75 per hour. Arbitrations, $150 per hour. There is no charge for arbitration of small cases ($5,000 or less).