Are you a general counsel, litigator, or alternative dispute resolution attorney in a medium to large law firm looking to expand the variety of work your firm performs. If so, you are not alone. Thousands of attorneys are looking for new and innovative ways to represent their clients. One of the ways to do this is to understand when to offer mediation and arbitration services for large and complex commercial cases. Even as a medium sized firm, you can partner with companies that specialize in these areas to ensure your client gets every option possible for the success of their case. Below are just three of the areas that mediation and arbitration services are most popular:
1. Mergers and Acquisitions – The use of mediation and/or arbitration in mergers and acquisitions is common especially when the parties involved reside in separate countries. One reason for this is the ability to avoid the vast differences in judicial systems and rules in each of the countries represented. Mediation and arbitration provides a neutral place for the negotiations to take place in such a way where all parties feel they are equally represented. Mergers and acquisitions that take place in the same countries can also benefit from using mediation and arbitration.
2. Environmental Corporate Compliance – Studies show that 5,000 lives per year could be saved if we were able to reduce the amount of toxic air pollution from industrial plants. These studies are public and communities that live around these plants are highly aware of the issues that pollution causes. In fact, more than 40 percent of Americans say they are worried about things like air quality, carbon emissions, tropospheric ozone, particulate matter, sulfur oxides, volatile organic compounds, and methane emissions. These cases are incredibly complex and can be handled in a quicker and more confidential manner when done with mediation or arbitration.
3. Chapter 11 Bankruptcies – Unlike the common types of personal bankruptcies which are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, a Chapter 11 bankruptcy is used for when businesses need to file. Nearly all of the businesses that file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy $10 million or less in in assets or liabilities, less than $10 million in annual revenues, and 50 or fewer employees. What this tells us is that although they may not be massive corporations, they can still have millions of dollars in assets and revenues that need to be sorted out properly throughout the bankruptcy proceedings. Mediation and arbitration can play a role in the negotiations of how this can actually happen.
Whether your firm has a small mediation and arbitration department of its own or you are looking to hire outside for this service, it is good that you are thinking about it now. The last thing you want in the middle of a complex mergers and acquisitions conversation with a client is to find out that they really would like to solve this through arbitration, which is not a service you offer yet. Build from the inside or contract with a company that specializes in mediation and arbitration. Either way, make sure you have the service on hand if you consistently handle complex commercial cases.