Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of ways of resolving dispute that usually operate outside or in tandem with the traditional path of litigation through the courts. The major forms of alternative dispute resolution include mediation and arbitration. In addition, we can provide assistance to attorneys and their clients by performing a privileged but neutral case evaluations or presiding over mock trials and arguments to test themes, theories, or the credibility of witnesses and evidence.

Mediation

A mediation is a voluntary, informal settlement meeting between a neutral and the parties. To assist the parties to negotiate a resolution to their conflict, the mediator:

  • Works with each side of the dispute to help identify important factual and legal issues,
  • Evaluates evidence and legal arguments, and
  • Facilitates communication, whether directly between the parties or through the neutral

If the mediation results in a settlement, the mediator can either draft a settlement agreement or assist the parties to do so. If the mediation session does not result in a settlement, the mediator may — if the parties request — continue to play a role in helping the parties to come to agreement.

Arbitration

An arbitration is a hearing by which parties who previously have agreed to submit their dispute to one or more neutral for a binding decision. The form an arbitration takes can vary widely based on the agreement between the parties:

  • Some arbitrations involve an extensive pretrial discovery process, motions, multiple hearings, and the transcription of the proceedings by a stenographer
  • Others may consist of a single hearing, with no lawyers, and no transcript

Each party presents its evidence and makes argument to the neutral based on the claims they submitted for arbitration. The process is less formal and often quicker than litigation. The rules of evidence are relaxed. There is no jury. And the process typically is confidential. After the arbitration hearing closes, the arbitrator renders a written decision, which is binding on both parties. If necessary, a party can enforce that decision in a court.

Neutral Case Evaluation

Sometimes the party to a dispute wants a neutral to help evaluate it. Leh Law Group is available to assist with this, by

  • Reviewing pleadings, briefs or transcripts
  • Evaluating hearing testimony from live witnesses
  • Hearing oral argument concerning disputed issues in dispute
  • Providing written or verbal comments about the strengths and weakness of the case
  • Critiquing the evidence or presentation of that evidence

Our Expertise as Neutrals

Jim served as a litigator for almost 20 years, focusing on automobile insurance defense work and commercial litigation, and then served a Colorado state trial judge for 27 years, most of which he served as Chief District Judge. During that time, he

  • Presided over thousands of bench trials
  • Presided over hundreds of jury trials
  • Conducted mediations

He has a wide-ranging knowledge of Colorado law and the ability to quickly understand and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the parties’ legal claims, defenses, and damages, and their competing interests. He knows how evidence, witnesses, and arguments are likely to fare in hearing or a jury or bench trial, and he won’t shrink from asking hard questions. Above all, he brings to every alternative dispute resolution proceeding a reputation of and commitment to utmost fairness to the parties and the willingness to listen. He has especially strong expertise in resolving commercial disputes of all kinds.

Chris’s ADR practice focuses on disputes involving employment law and commercial matters. What he brings to mediation and arbitration is two decades of wide litigation experience. In October 2013, he attended and earned a certificate in mediation from Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation. Chris has represented and tried cases on behalf of and against private businesses of all sizes, non-profits, government entities, and individuals in a variety of industries, including:

  • Health care
  • Software and other technology
  • Engineering
  • Mining
  • Security
  • Corrections
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Manufacturing
  • Insurance
  • Real estate
  • Construction
  • Banking
  • Hospitality
  • Staffing
  • Outdoor recreation and apparel

Having provided advice and counsel to employers and litigated on their behalf for so many years, he brings to mediation and arbitration the ability to evaluate an employee’s claims, an employer’s defenses, and damages. He has a deep understanding of how employers consider employment litigation and how employer practices liability insurance carriers view them.

Although his primary area of expertise is in employment law, Chris also has strong expertise in commercial litigation, especially trade secrets and non-compete disputes.