If you own or run a business in Hawaii, you will likely be involved in a business dispute at some point. Disputes can develop with partners, vendors, clients or customers over a wide variety of legal issues.
A business dispute can be extremely harmful to your business the longer it continues. Even if you ultimately win the dispute, the costs, fees and time lost to litigation could make you still feel like you lost.
While litigation was the traditional way business disputes were resolved, many businesses today are using alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation to settle disputes.
What happens at mediation
Mediation involves a meeting, or series of meetings, between you, the other party and a mediator. Instead of being held in a courtroom, mediation is usually held in a private and confidential setting.
The mediator’s job is to learn about the dispute, listen to both sides present their positions and explain their desired outcome and offer advice and guidance to help reach a solution. The mediator does not take sides and has no power to decide the outcome of the dispute themselves.
Benefits of mediation
There are many reasons you should consider mediation as an option to resolve your business dispute. It is generally quicker and cheaper than litigation.
Litigation can sometimes take months or even years to conclude, while mediation can typically be set up and held in a couple of months.
Since the mediator cannot make decisions or orders the way a judge can, people are often happier with the outcome of mediations since they feel like they had some say in the decision.
Preserving your relationships and reputation
Strong, long-term relationships are a vital part of any business. A dispute that goes to court can result in a permanently damaged relationship between you and the party. Sometimes the relationship is beyond repair.
Your reputation can also suffer. Even if you prevail in court, you might now be known as a business owner who sues people or who was involved in a lawsuit.
There are some situations where mediation is not the right option, but you should carefully consider your options when facing a business dispute.