For a small business owner, there are few things as unsettling as being in a legal dispute. Whether it is with an employee, a vendor, a neighboring business or even a business partner, legal disputes can cause stress and disrupt business operations.
Luckily, though, not all legal disputes have to be fought inside of a courtroom through expensive litigation. Alternatively, mediation is a conflict resolution process that allows business owners to settle disputes outside of the court process with less stress and less expense.
Here are five ways in which small businesses can benefit from settling legal disputes through mediation as opposed to litigation, according to Findlaw.com.
1. Reach a resolution more quickly. A legal dispute can be resolved a lot faster using the mediation process instead of the litigation process, which sometimes months or even years to play out. Resolving the issue faster means that the business owner can get back to what he or she does best: business.
2. Preserve important relationships. Oftentimes, disputes arise between the business owner and parties that they will need to continue dealing with in the future, such as a neighboring business or vendors. For this reason, it's beneficial to go through a non-adversarial dispute resolution process like mediation.
3. Achieve a more sustainable result. Mediation involves the parties to the dispute working together to reach a settlement they can both agree to, which often results in a more sustainable resolution than if a judge had simply put an order in place.
4. Save money for the business owner. One of the most difficult things about facing a legal dispute as a small business owner is the amount of money it can take to fight over the issue in court. Mediation is often able to settle the dispute at a fraction of the cost.
5. Keep information pertaining to the dispute private. Another aspect of mediation that business owners tend to really like is that the mediation process and the settlement agreement reached are almost always kept confidential, unlike the court process, which is usually open to the public.
For more information on how the mediation process might help to settle your business dispute, talk to a business law attorney with mediation experience.