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What does a Dispute Resolution Lawyer do?

Nicole Madison
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A dispute resolution lawyer helps individuals resolve disputes outside of a courtroom. He typically negotiates terms of agreements and settlements on behalf of his clients. This is usually done to avoid the adversarial process that is typical when cases are handled in a courtroom. In the event that a cases is not settled outside court, however, a dispute resolution lawyer may continue on to represent his client in front of a judge.

Many people are most familiar with the process of going before a judge to resolve disputes. While a judge can render a binding decision in favor of the plaintiff or defendant in such a case, this usually leaves either one or both parties unhappy. Since a person is unlikely to accurately predict which decision a judge will make in a dispute, entering a courtroom for resolution always involves the risk of losing. Some people choose to enter a dispute resolution process to minimize this risk. Often, they do this with the help of a dispute resolution lawyer.

A dispute resolution lawyer helps a client negotiate satisfactory agreements and settlements. Instead of arguing a case in court and waiting for a judge's decision, a dispute resolution lawyer negotiates on his client’s behalf and works to facilitate an agreement between his client and the other party. This doesn’t always mean that a dispute resolution lawyer's client will get exactly what he desires out of the dispute resolution process. In fact, out-of-court dispute resolution processes often end with both parties in a dispute compromising. Instead, using a dispute resolution lawyer often means that a party to a case will have more say so in the end result and an opportunity to come to a compromise with which he feels comfortable.

A dispute resolution lawyer may act on behalf of a client, but some act as mediators instead. In such a case, a dispute resolution lawyer works to help both parties toward a resolution rather than taking the side of one party over the other. He usually learns which matters are most important to each party involved in a dispute and helps them to reach a compromise. Once the parties have come to an agreement, this type of lawyer will usually put it in legal form in order to make it official. In some cases, he may even take the signed agreement to a judge to have it recorded as a court order.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a Practical Adult Insights writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By Melonlity — On Feb 09, 2015

@Terrificli -- I see your point, but there is a very good reason to go through non-binding dispute resolution. Simply put, the whole idea behind alternative dispute resolution is to have a system where there is not necessarily a winner and a loser. The goal is to get all parties involved to agree with the outcome. If everyone agrees, who will still go to court?

By Terrificli — On Feb 08, 2015

A real problem with all of that so called alternative dispute resolution is that it is usually not binding. Yes, there is such a thing as binding arbitration but it is somewhat rare.

When people do go through alternative dispute resolution, they are usually sent there by a contract provision or some other agreement. Those arbitration clauses usually send people to arbitration or mediation, but usually leave the door open for people to go to court if they don't like the results of the process. The process, then, is non-binding.

What is the point of requiring people to go through arbitration or mediation when they can simply take their ball and go home if they don't like how the arbitration turns out?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a Practical Adult Insights writer, where she focuses on topics...
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