Florida Mediation & Arbitration Lawyer
Experienced Problem-Solvers Inside and Outside of South Florida Courtrooms
At Perkins Law, our Florida mediation & arbitration lawyers are experienced courtroom litigators who have taken a number of cases to trial and understand how to protect your rights in court. At the same time, we are creative and strategic problem-solvers who understand that litigation is not always the best solution to a legal problem. Our attorneys are experienced in mediation, arbitration and other forms of alternative dispute resolution to find the best path to a positive result. If you have a copyright, trademark, patent or trade secret dispute in South Florida, please contact our Florida law office immediately to protect your rights and resolve your legal matter in your best interests.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is an alternative to settling a dispute in the courtroom. Mediation is sometimes ordered by the court as an intermediate step in litigation. Other times, the parties to a dispute voluntarily opt for mediation as a way to resolve their dispute.
In a mediation, the parties and their attorneys meet to communicate their needs with one another and collaborate on a resolution that meets each party’s needs. This process is facilitated by a mediator, who is a neutral third-party trained in communication strategies and conflict resolution. The mediator can help keep the process on track and focused on the issues while keeping emotions in check and turning aside nonproductive behaviors. The mediator can further assist the parties in negotiating the terms of a settlement agreement.
There are many different styles of mediation, and a trained mediator will adapt to fit the situation, adopting a form of shuttle mediation, caucusing, taking a more dominant leadership role or encouraging the parties to engage in direct dialogue as appropriate. The willingness of the parties to commit to the process, along with the help of a trained and experienced mediator, are the keys to a successful mediation. Both of the firms founding partners are experienced mediators. L.A. Perkins is certified by the Florida Supreme Court as a Circuit Civil Mediator and a Family Mediator and holds a Foreclosure Mediation Certificate as well.
Why Mediation Instead of Litigation?
Mediation can be conducted and concluded much faster than litigation. The parties themselves control the timetable rather than relying on court dockets, and the parties share the cost of the mediator. With a less formal structure than litigation, the parties are free to explore creative solutions that meet their needs and interests, rather than sticking to opposite positions where only one party is likely to be satisfied with the outcome. Additionally, by taking an active role in the solution process, the parties are more invested in the resolution and more likely to voluntarily implement its terms without the need for further litigation. Mediation is also a private process, as opposed to litigation in which which there may be a public hearing is held and court documents become a matter of public record.
What is Arbitration?
In arbitration, each party presents their case to a trained, neutral third-party who decides the case based on the arguments and evidence presented. Arbitration differs from litigation in that the arbitrator is not bound by Florida or federal rules of evidence and has greater discretion on what evidence to admit. Also, the arbitrator typically has a professional background in the field of the dispute and/or years of experience handling those types of disputes as an arbitrator. A judge, on the other hand, may have little or no experience in the field, and a jury is less likely to have any technical knowledge of the subject either. Lawyers in litigation spend a great deal of time and resources preparing a case they can present to nonexperts in a compelling fashion. In arbitration, the attorneys have an easier time arguing complex and highly technical issues to an arbitrator who is familiar with the subject matter. Arbitration is therefore completed more quickly and with less expense than litigation. Like mediation, arbitration is also a private proceeding, so if confidentiality is important to the parties, arbitration may be especially attractive. This is often the case in intellectual property matters where patents or trade secrets are involved, and keeping sensitive material out of the public record is important. The attorneys at Perkins Law have experience representing clients in arbitration matters before JAMS and the American Arbitration Association.
Is Arbitration Binding?
The parties can choose to participate in binding arbitration or nonbinding arbitration. In binding arbitration, the parties agree in advance to be bound by the arbitrator’s decision. If the arbitration is nonbinding, the arbitrator’s decision is advisory only. A nonbinding opinion helps parties see the issues more clearly and understand how the case might be resolved should it go to court. This often helps move settlement talks forward if the parties were previously at an impasse.
Contact an Experienced Florida Mediator or Arbitrator for Your Dispute
If you find yourself in a legal dispute that can’t be resolved informally, consider whether mediation, arbitration or other forms of alternative dispute resolution may be preferable to litigation. In South Florida, contact Perkins Law to discuss your case with a team of experienced Florida dispute resolution attorneys.