Harvey & Binnall is an experienced commercial litigation law firm. An important aspect of being a strong litigator is knowing when to recommend an alternative to litigation to our clients. Our commercial litigation attorneys often employ alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods to reach the best possible outcome to business disputes. We are experienced in representing clients in arbitration of disputes to reach more timely and cost-effective binding final judgments that are in our clients’ best interests.
Benefits of Arbitration
Virginia and federal court dockets in Alexandria and elsewhere are overwhelmed, making scheduling cumbersome and slow. Cases may languish for months or years before the court is able to hear the matter. Even the famous “rocket docket” of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia has experienced delays in recent years. A lingering dispute costs money and time, and can disrupt the operations of a business and damage its brand reputation, customer good will and employee morale. Arbitration offers several benefits, including:
- Timing. The parties can complete arbitration much more quickly than waiting for a trial date.
- Costs. The costs of arbitrating are substantially less than taking a case to trial.
- Discovery. Parties have the opportunity to exchange important evidence in the discovery process, as they would at trial.
- Confidentiality. Arbitration proceedings are not open to the public as a trial would be, and parties can agree to confidentiality of the proceedings.
- Finality. An arbitrator’s judgment is binding on the parties and, except under rare circumstances, the parties waive the right to appeal the decision.
- Relationship preservation. Arbitration is less contentious than litigation and can help to preserve business relationships that might otherwise be put in jeopardy during a drawn-out, confrontational trial.
Understanding Arbitration Proceedings
The parties must agree to arbitrate the dispute. The agreement may be embedded in a contract provision or the parties may elect to arbitrate any time during the course of litigation. The parties have the opportunity to present evidence to a certified arbitrator who has discretion to admit or exclude evidence. The arbitrator is familiar with the rules of evidence, but may allow evidence that would be excluded in court, such as hearsay. Our lawyers protect our clients’ rights during arbitration, including keeping damaging evidence out of the proceedings and introducing a strong argument for defense or relief. Upon conclusion of the arguments, the arbitrator enters a binding judgment.
Adopting or Challenging an Arbitration Clause
Arbitration clauses are becoming standard in many business contracts. Our litigation lawyers evaluate whether an arbitration clause would be in our clients’ best interests and draft favorable language, choice of law and venue provisions. If our client comes to us with an unfair arbitration clause, we challenge the provisions based upon contracts and due process laws.
Learn More About Commercial Arbitration and its Potential Advantages
Harvey & Binnall may recommend arbitration as an alternative to litigation to resolve a commercial dispute. Schedule an appointment with our experienced Alexandria commercial litigation lawyer to learn more about arbitration proceedings and dispute resolution.