Small businesses are almost like marriages. They are close partnerships between individuals where conflicts, disagreements, and misunderstandings frequently occur. When there’s a breakdown in the partnership – whether between founding members, between employer and employee, or between co-workers – mediation is a great way to bring parties together to talk through differences, reset objectives and goals, and work out a satisfactory solution to the conflict. In many cases, the mere process of negotiating can help everyone move forward and resume their former professional relationship.
More and more judges are referring business disputes – construction claims, medical disputes, architectural disputes, business partnership claims – to mediation first before they proceed through the litigation process. Courts are convinced that many cases can be settled more efficiently and cost effectively if the parties are able to air their grievances with a mediator.
As an approved member of the New York County Supreme Court Commercial Division panel of mediators who has successfully settled disputes between contractors, architects, developers, major corporations, real estate and development firms, non-profits and arts organizations, I believe that mediation is an appropriate forum to settle disputes if both parties are willing to come to the table to negotiate.