Resolving Disputes Outside of Court

Litigation is probably the most well-known method of resolving legal disputes, but it is far from the only method. Putting a dispute in front of a judge or jury and asking them to decide is effective in some cases. In other cases, a quicker, less costly, more private, or less combative means of finding an equitable outcome is better. More and more businesses are turning to alternative dispute resolution (ADR), particularly arbitration and mediation, rather than the uncertain, expensive, and often overburdened and inefficient court system. Parties to a business dispute who wish to explore these alternatives should seek the guidance of a knowledgeable Chicago mediation lawyer.

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

ADR encompasses a range of practices designed to resolve disputes, or to guide parties to the resolution of a dispute, without resort to the court system. Some methods of ADR bear superficial resemblance to court trials, while others consist primarily of facilitated negotiations. Many contracts specify that disputes between the parties must go through one or more ADR procedures in the event of a disagreement. The outcome of such a procedure, according to the terms of the contract, may be binding on the parties, meaning that they cannot seek a different outcome in court. In other cases, the outcome may merely amount to a recommendation from a professional that the parties can take or leave. Based in the Chicago area, our mediation attorneys can help identify the method that will best meet your needs.


Arbitration resembles a civil trial, but it takes place privately and is not subject to the scheduling needs of the courthouse. Parties present their dispute to a neutral arbitrator or panel of arbitrators, who conduct a trial-like proceeding. The arbitrator(s) will make a decision that, in the case of “binding arbitration,” legally binds all parties and is enforceable in a court of law. One or more parties to a non-binding arbitration may reject the arbitrator’s decision and proceed to litigation or a different form of ADR.

Lubin Austermuehle, P.C. is proud to have Kenneth A. Abraham on our team of dispute resolution professionals. A retired Illinois state court judge, he has extensive dispute resolution training, multiple certifications as an arbitrator, and forty years of experience as a practicing Illinois lawyer. Judge Abraham believes that all parties benefit by attempting to resolve their disputes through ADR prior to formal litigation.


Mediation is less formal than arbitration, but just as private. A mediator works with all parties to a dispute to facilitate a settlement. This could involve seating all of the parties in a room and helping them to find common ground, or evaluating and explaining each side’s likelihood of success in court in order to encourage a settlement. The mediator remains neutral as to the specific outcome, with the goal being to find an outcome all parties can accept.

The Chicago mediation attorneys of Lubin Austermuehle, P.C. represent clients in the Chicago area and DuPage County, as well as the rest of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. We have offices in Chicago and Elmhurst, Illinois. To schedule a consultation with a mediation lawyer in the Chicago area, contact us via email, at 630-333-0333.

Chicago Business Litigation Lawyer Blog - Arbitration
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