Resolving contract disputes in the courtroom has many disadvantages. When scheduling a trial, court dockets may not have any openings available for many months or even a couple of years. After a trial has been scheduled, it may be delayed for multiple reasons, such as scheduling conflicts, attorney illness, or witness unavailability. A judge is only able to offer certain solutions to the parties, often leaving them frustrated after trial. In addition, courtroom litigation is very expensive for all involved.
Therefore, many attorneys and their clients are turning to alternative dispute resolution to resolve their contract disputes. Mediation has been an especially successful method of alternative dispute resolution because it allows the parties to create their own settlement with the assistance of a neutral mediator. This is especially important when the parties need to preserve their relationship, which will likely be destroyed by the adversarial nature of the courtroom.
A significant benefit of mediation is that all of the potential issues in the case are brought to the attention of the parties. Trials can often take unexpected spins, resulting in surprise endings. This can cause the client to become angry with the attorney if the client felt unprepared for such a result. In mediation, the parties and their attorneys are aware of the issues that need to be resolved, and only those issues will be discussed at mediation—meaning any settlement will exclusively focus on these issues.
In addition to preserving the relationship of the parties, the parties are also more likely to follow the settlement agreement since they will be familiar with its terms. This leads to greater satisfaction with the settlement because it solves not only the current dispute, but prevents future disputes as well. Clients are much happier with their attorneys when they resolve their cases amicably.