I serve in several different roles in providing alternative dispute resolution services:
Mediation is a voluntary process which gives the parties control over the process by which to resolve their dispute, as well as the power to fashion their own remedy or resolution.
As Special Master:
Disputants in complex matters often seek the assistance of one person who can provide the services of a Discovery Referee to help the parties prepare for resolution, and then act as Mediator to assist the disputants' efforts to resolve the claims without resorting to lengthy---and therefore costly---trials.
As Discovery Referee:
Disputants in litigation or arbitration may require a quasi-judicial officer to guide the sharing of information necessary to educate each other as to the claims and responses. When the disputants cannot agree among themselves as to what information should be shared, they submit the issue to the Discovery Referee, who makes the decision for them.
Arbitration can be voluntary, or can be required by the Courts. The parties tend to have less control over the process, which is usually conducted according to prescribed rules, such as the applicable provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure or from an industry association like the American Arbitration Association.
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