Unpacking Alternative Approaches to Conflict Resolution


Disputes are like ripples in a pond, disconcerting and disruptive. They are as intrinsic to human interaction as laughter or sighs, and they are as varied as the individuals themselves.

Be it a disagreement between corporations over a patent or a tussle between an employer and an employee over contractual terms, resolving disputes can resemble a precarious ballet, performed on a high wire. The resolution approaches, too, can be as diverse as the disputes. The critical question is: which dance do you pick?


It’s the grand opera of dispute resolution. A conflict set in the legal amphitheater, where each party dons the role of a gladiator, represented by their legal counsel. The allure of litigation lies in the promise of a binding and enforceable resolution. But, like all grand operas, it demands its price. The process can be expensive, lengthy, and public β€” a feature that may not always be to your advantage. It’s a win-lose proposition, often leaving relationships in the wake of its aftermath.


This is a semi-private affair. Instead of a judge, a neutral third-party arbitrator adjudicates a binding decision. It’s generally quicker and less expensive than litigation, and confidentiality is an added boon. However, arbitration has its thorns too. The arbitral decision is hard to appeal, and the formal nature of the process can often strain relationships, echoing an adversarial sentiment.


Here, parties engage in a dialogue, striving to reach an agreement on their own terms. It offers flexibility, informality, and the potential for relationship preservation and even enhancement. But is it foolproof? Not quite. Absence of a neutral third party can cause power dynamics to skew the process and there’s no guarantee of resolution.

DIY Dispute Resolution

Many individuals, brimming with confidence or wanting to avoid the costs and complexities of formal dispute resolution mechanisms, opt to handle things on their own. While this approach might feel empowering, it’s fraught with danger. Miscommunication, emotional escalation, and lack of legal expertise can aggravate the situation, often compounding the problem rather than solving it.

My Favorite- Private Mediation!

Now, let’s turn the spotlight onto the clandestine superhero of dispute resolution: private mediation. It’s a dance that assimilates the best moves from all the other styles.

It’s akin to negotiation, but with the significant addition of a neutral third party mediator who orchestrates the conversation, keeping power dynamics balanced. It’s expedient, cost-effective, and confidential like arbitration, but without the stiffness of a binding decision.

Indeed, private mediation is not a path devoid of hurdles. It requires the active involvement of all parties involved and the mediator, while a guide, holds no enforcement power. The resolution isn’t binding unless there’s a shared agreement.

But isn’t that where the real beauty lies? A resolution is most potent when all parties stand on the same ground, moving ahead together. So why wait? Embark on this journey of mutual understanding and consensus. Embrace private mediation today and propel your dispute resolution into a future of harmonious resolution.

Author: Mitch Jackson

I'm a California trial lawyer trying to fix the world one client, cause, and digital interaction at a time.

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