For many people, the way they did business and carried out work on a daily basis changed overnight due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For those in the legal profession more specifically, many had to learn how to carry on remotely and virtually.
With the courts having been shut down for a number of weeks (although they are now slowly allowing certain matters to be addressed), many lawyers turned to virtual mediations, and some to virtual arbitrations, in order to move their files along. Let’s face it, we don’t know how long this pandemic will last (especially if there ends up being a second wave), and how long it will take for civil matters to be heard in court.
While mediations and arbitrations are excellent alternatives to the court process, the med-arb process is another option the parties should consider in deciding how to move their matters forward.
The med-arb process is essentially where the parties retain a mediator-arbitrator (med-arbiter). They first try to negotiate a resolution for their disputes through the mediation process. If the parties are not able to reach a resolution through the mediation process, the parties can then move to the arbitration process (typically, but not always, with the same person who was conducting the mediation).
Here are some advantages and disadvantages to choosing the med-arb process: