Conflict Management & Litigation

Conflict Management & Litigation

Conflict Management and Resolution, and Litigation

A legal dispute is a disagreement between parties that occurs when one person’s allegation of fact is denied by another person. Dispute resolution is the process of settling the disagreements between parties. Regardless of the definition, if a business, entity or individual is involved in a legal dispute, the goal is to resolve it as fairly, expediently and cost-effectively as possible.  There are several ways to resolve legal conflict:
      • Negotiation
    • Mediation
    • Arbitration
    • Litigation
Litigation is often the first solution that comes to mind. Litigation, however, should really be considered a last resort. While in some circumstances it can be useful, the pragmatic reality is that it can also be costly, slow, contentious and unpredictable. A good first step is to investigate the pros and cons of negotiation vs. mediation vs. arbitration.  


Negotiation is back-and-forth communication between the parties and the most basic means of settling differences. In some cases, the parties work directly with each other, in other, an attorney may be enlisted to negotiate on your behalf.  Negotiation allows the disagreeing parties to directly participate in the decisions affecting them; after all, a successful negotiation indicates the needs of both sides were considered. A negotiated agreement can become a contract and be enforceable.  

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Another effective way to resolve a dispute outside of the courtroom is Alternative Dispute Resolution, or ADR. ADR provides a viable alternative to costly or contentious litigation.  


Mediation is the first option of ADR. In mediation, an impartial person (the mediator) manages the process and helps facilitate negotiation between the parties. They help with communication and promote reconciliation between the parties, enabling them to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. The mediator does not make a decision nor force an agreement; The parties directly participate and are responsible for negotiating their own settlement or agreement. Colligan Law’s Of Counsel is also a certified mediator who works to resolve disputes between businesses, partners, employees, and parties to litigation.  


Another option for ADR is arbitration. Arbitration is typically an out-of-court method for resolving a dispute by submitting the disputed matter to an impartial person (the arbitrator) for decision. The arbitrator controls the process, listens to both sides and makes a decision. The result can be binding if all parties have previously agreed to be bound by the decision. In that case, the right to appeal the arbitrator’s decision is very limited. In nonbinding arbitration, a decision may become final if all parties agree to accept it, or, it may help in the evaluation of the case and be a starting point for settlement talks. Our attorneys are well versed in cost-effective conflict management and have proven success in alternative dispute resolution (ADR,) including both mediation and arbitration. We advise individuals, businesses and executives of their rights related to business relationships, conflicts that arise and potential strategies for moving forward.  


Litigation is the use of the courts and civil justice system to resolve legal controversies and is often the dispute resolution strategy of last resort. .  Litigation can be used to compel opposing parties to participate in the solution. During litigation, a judge makes the final decisions for the parties unless they settle before trial. Settlement can happen at any point during the litigation process. The first step to litigation is filing a lawsuit in a court. There are specific rules of procedure, discovery and presentation of evidence which need to be followed. There can be a number of court appearances by you and/or your lawyer. If the parties cannot agree how to settle the case, either the judge or a jury will decide the dispute for you through a trial. A trial is a formal judicial proceeding allowing full examination and determination of all the issues between the parties with each side presenting its case to either a jury or a judge. The judge/jury then applies the facts of the case to the applicable law and renders a decision. That verdict or decision can conclude the litigation process and be enforceable; however, if appropriate, the loser can appeal the decision to a higher court. In some cases, the losing party may have to pay the costs of the lawsuit and may have to pay the other party’s attorney fees.