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A Day in the Life of Mediators

You may have an image of what mediators do on a daily basis. Does it look like sitting at a table and talking over issues? Well, every case is unique and so is the preparation. While it could be a busy day or week of hearings and cases, mediators have so much more to do in their role in order to help the parties involved reach an agreement.

This article clarifies a few misconceptions about what mediators actually do in their role, how they do it, and how they work with clients specifically.

What Kind of Work Do Mediators Do?

Mediators work to resolve legal disputes between parties outside of the courtroom. The parties requesting mediation or following court-appointed orders can be individual people, groups of people, organizations, companies, or other sizable clients. While mediators can typically be requested in any kind of legal dispute, most mediators have a practice area or specialty they know well so they can serve their clients better.

If the parties are able to resolve their legal dispute with the assistance of the mediator, the mediator will typically draft a mediated settlement agreement (MSA) which is then taken by the parties and incorporated into a final document for a judge’s signature.

What Do Mediators Do on a Daily Basis?

On a non-mediation day, mediators typically spend the day fielding calls and emails from parties either seeking mediation or following up to resolve post-mediation issues. Mediators will also review questionnaire responses and important documents sent by parties for an upcoming scheduled mediation. This is helpful so mediators go into hearings with a clear picture of what the legal dispute is actually about and what each party is claiming. Although the initial meetings with the parties are similar, the issues and disputes in each case will always be unique.

Mediators also do legal research to learn where and how similar legal disputes were resolved—for example, what the settlement amount was or what the applicable legal standards are should the case not resolve in mediation and later require the assistance of a judge.

If there is a mediation scheduled for the day, the mediator will often arrive at the mediation location early to get set up and prepared with any necessary paperwork to facilitate the hearing. Once both parties arrive, the mediator will follow the standard procedure for the mediation. Click here for more information on the mediation process.

Note: Mediators do not advise parties on the law, but it is important for a mediator to know the legal standards so they are able to more effectively guide the parties towards a resolution that satisfies everyone involved.

How Fourth Party Make Your Day as a Mediator Easier

Meeting with parties can involve many different topics—from family law cases to contract negotiations to business cases, anything is possible. A mediator must be flexible and ready for anything. That’s where the Fourth Party app steps in.

Busy alternative dispute resolution professionals in mediation need to maximize their time, money, and client relationships with smart, useful features. Fourth Party is the best app for mediators and arbitrators to execute safe and secure conflict resolution on-the-move. ADR professionals can explore our dynamic note-taking tool for effective in-person or virtual hearing recaps. Also, close cases with confidence with our post-reporting feature that helps you navigate compliance at the state and federal level.

The Fourth Party app is intuitive, designed to help ADR professionals like mediators and arbitrators manage tasks, streamline negotiations, and track results – all in one place. Book a demo with us at Fourth Party to improve the dispute resolution process for yourself and your clients.


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A Day in the Life of Arbitrators

A day in the life of an arbitrator is not just long days spent listening to cases and trying to resolve disputes. Arbitrators, and their conflict resolution peers, have important responsibilities that happen before the actual hearings take place in order to make the best decision. From answering emails and scheduling hearings with clients or colleagues for case prep, reviewing pleadings, researching any relevant cases or statutes—this work is full and fulfilling.

This article discusses what arbitrators actually do in their role, how they do it, and how they work with clients and co-arbitrators on a case.

What Kind of Work Do Arbitrators Do?

Arbitrators are neutral third-parties that help opposing parties settle disputes outside of court. They hold private, confidential hearings which are often less formal than a public court proceeding. Arbitrators belong to a governing body that sets the rules for the arbitration proceedings and guides the parties through the process. Unlike mediation, the final outcome of a dispute hearing—after reviewing the documents filed by the parties and holding a hearing on the matter—is a binding decision from the arbitrator or panel of arbitrators.

What Do Arbitrators Do on a Daily Basis?

On any given day, arbitrators will hold status conferences with the disputing parties to decide what documents can be filed, deadlines for exchanging documents, and setting final hearing dates. If necessary, they do legal research related to the proceedings they are working on or review relevant legal documents filed by the parties. Contrary to the standard court case, parties in arbitration often need the arbitrator’s permission to file any additional documents or evidence referring to their case.

If there is an arbitration hearing that day, arbitrators will preside over the proceedings much like a judge would in court. The point of arbitration is to resolve disputes more simply without using judicial resources. In arbitration proceedings, the same rules from court don’t often apply and there simply aren’t as many hearings compared to a judge in a courtroom. Click here for more information on the arbitration process.

How Fourth Party Make Your Day as an Arbitrator Easier

A person becomes an arbitrator to send cases to arbitration; make a decision about cases for which a court is needed; and assess the merits of disputes. Arbitrators must be flexible and ready for anything. That’s where the Fourth Party app steps in.

Busy alternative dispute resolution professionals in mediation need to maximize their time, money, and client relationships with smart, useful features. Fourth Party is the best app for mediators and arbitrators to execute safe and secure conflict resolution on-the-move. ADR professionals can explore our dynamic note-taking tool for effective in-person or virtual hearing recaps. Also, close cases with confidence with our post-reporting feature that helps you navigate compliance at the state and federal level.

The Fourth Party app is intuitive, designed to help ADR professionals like mediators and arbitrators manage tasks, streamline negotiations, and track results – all in one place. Book a demo with us at Fourth Party to improve the dispute resolution process for yourself and your clients.


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Choosing a Mediation Practice Speciality

Choosing a practice area is an important aspect of your career as a mediator or conflict resolution professional; especially if you are planning on resolving disputes in court from time to time. Specialization in a specific mediation practice area is a good way to maximize career success as it typically aligns directly with your skills and passions. When you take time to choose from a range of practice areas, it allows you to tailor your services to fit the clients as they need you and improve your success as a mediator.

Choosing a specialty also helps you decide the kind of hearings and clients you want to accept — which is very beneficial when you’re just starting out. This article will help steer your interests and any misunderstandings you may have when it comes to choosing a mediation speciality or practice area.

Why Specialize as a Mediator?

You should specialize as a mediator so you develop expertise in the practice area(s) you care about or comprehend well. It is hard, if not impractical or impossible, to know everything about every practice area available. Choosing and developing a mediation speciality that’s important to you, allows you to focus your time and attention on specific cases where you have subject knowledge.

This could also help you understand the legal dispute between the parties but also the industry they operate in. For example, if you previously owned or worked at a construction company for several years, focusing your practice on construction-related disputes would empower you to combine your legal knowledge of construction disputes from professional experience and your practical understanding of construction industry standards to better serve your clients.

Referrals from other mediators and lawyers are a lucrative source of business. In developing your specialty, you could also become the trusted, go-to person in the local area for those types of disputes. Specializing in unique fields and different practice areas will enable you to submit yourself to the best employment opportunities available considering your skill set and credentials. You want to be the mediator they call whenever these kinds of disputes arise.

Types of Mediation Practice Specialities

Practically any legal practice area could become a mediation specialty except criminal cases. More on that in this blog post. Mediators can specialize in resolving disputes across divorce and child support or auto accident and sports injury. There are plenty of mediation specialities and it’s recommended you choose areas you are passionate about so you’re truly fulfilled by case outcomes. For example, if you specialize in child services where you're passionate about helping children who go through challenging situations, you can also be passionate about family mediation. Here are just a handful of popular mediation specialities you can choose from or combine in your practice:

  • Securities
  • Probate & Trusts
  • Estate Planning
  • Entertainment
  • Business/Commercial
  • Landlord and Tenant
  • Real Estate
  • Health Care
  • Employment
  • Companion Animals/Service Animals/Pets
  • Family/Child Custody
  • Homeowner Associations
  • Contracts and Negotiation

Using the Fourth Party App for Any Mediation Speciality

When it comes to choosing a speciality, you want to make sure you are passionate about the subject. And when it comes to choosing methods for alternative dispute resolution to conclude a case, the Fourth Party app is the safe and secure tool ADR professionals use to help parties resolve conflict faster.

If you’re a busy negotiator or ADR professional looking to maximize your time, money, and client relationships, Fourth Party is the answer. Our intuitive app is the solution for on-the-move arbitration, mediation, and conflict resolution professionals to manage tasks, streamline negotiations, and track results – all in one place.

Click here to book a demo with us at Fourth Party. We look forward to getting to know you and doing our part to improve the dispute resolution process.


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How to Become a Arbitrator with or without a Degree

Are you good at resolving disputes? Maybe your friends and family ask you for help in fixing their disputes because they trust your opinion? Arbitration is a way to solve disputes outside of court, privately. Becoming an arbitrator could be a good option if you’re interested in conflict resolution.

Alternative dispute resolution professionals like arbitrators are not a common, well-known career; however, this article will go over what an arbitrator is and steps you can take to become an arbitrator.

What is an Arbitrator?

An arbitrator is an alternative dispute resolution professional with formal arbitration training. Most arbitrators, though not all, are attorneys who have previously represented parties now subject to arbitration. Arbitrators are required to maintain neutrality and may serve as the sole arbitrator on the case or as one of a few on an arbitration panel.

The arbitrator is an impartial person chosen by the parties. The role of an arbitrator is similar to that of a judge but arbitrators typically encourage collaborative communication between the involved parties in the hopes that the dispute may be resolved. The arbitrator will read briefs and documentary evidence, hear testimony, examine evidence and render an opinion on liability and damages to conclude the hearing.

Lastly, an arbitrator (and the rules of the governing body they belong to) will set the procedures for the arbitration process, hold status conferences, and preside over the final arbitration hearing in order to reach a binding conclusion. Click here for more information on the arbitration process.

Where to Find Arbitration Education and Training

To become an arbitrator, you want to start with a licensed training program. You can find arbitration training through many different avenues, though mostly member organizations and university law schools.

The most noted arbitration institutions provide training options on their websites:

  • American Arbitration Association (AAA)
  • International Center for Dispute Resolution (CDR)
  • Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (JAMS)
  • The American Bar Association (a voluntary bar association for attorneys)

When in doubt, a good place to begin your search for arbitration training is through one of the arbitration institutions above. Many other continuing legal education providers provide arbitration training as well. In some cases, particular arbitration specialties and regulatory authorities provide training specific to their practice specialities. For example, if you want to become an arbitrator for the financial industry, it is probably a good idea to take training specific to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) requirements in addition to your arbitration training and licensing.

Another great option for beginning your search is to search the Bar Association website for the jurisdiction you want to operate in. These websites are often rich with sources of arbitration training options and information.

Note: When selecting a panel, AAA requires members to have experience with civil law, have advanced degrees in an accredited college, and maintain a minimum number of hours as an arbitrator per year.

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Choose Your Arbitration Speciality

Similar to mediation, almost any legal practice area can be an arbitration specialty. Keeping in mind that arbitrators do not get involved in criminal disputes, arbitration is not common (but in some jurisdictions possible) for family or domestic relations cases.

When it comes to choosing an arbitration specialty, be sure to select a practice area that you have deep legal and industry knowledge in. Remember, you don’t have to be a lawyer or attorney to transition into this field. For example, if you were previously an insurance broker, you may now want to choose to focus your arbitration practice on insurance disputes. If you were previously a software engineer at a tech company, you may want to focus your practice on resolving disputes between tech companies and their customers.

While legal experience isn’t necessarily a prerequisite for choosing an arbitration specialty, you will need additional training for any specialties you don’t have strong expertise in.

Fourth Party and Your Arbitration Career

If you become an arbitrator or already practicing alternative dispute resolution – you’ll need to maximize time, money, and client relationships with smart, useful features. That’s where we come in. Fourth Party is the best app for mediators and arbitrators to execute safe and secure conflict resolution. When alternative dispute resolution professionals are on-the-move, they can trust our dynamic note-taking tool during in-person and virtual hearings to recap next steps or action steps. Also, ADRs can close cases with confidence with our post-reporting feature that helps navigate compliance at the state and federal level.

The Fourth Party app is intuitive, designed to help ADR professionals like mediators and arbitrators manage tasks, streamline negotiations, and track results – all in one place.

Click here to book a demo with us at Fourth Party. We look forward to getting to know you and doing our part to improve the dispute resolution process.


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How to Become a Mediator with or without a Degree

Are you commonly seen as a peacemaker? Do your friends and family seek advice from you to work out disagreements? Would you enjoy a career where you can solve problems amongst loved ones, business partners, and others for the greater good? You may be a good fit for conflict resolution – a path almost anyone can venture on.

While it may not be one of the more talked about roles in law, being a mediator that helps individuals find resolutions to their disputes can truly be rewarding.

If you’ve been thinking about becoming a mediator or transitioning into mediation from another legal role, this article will help you understand what is a mediator, the steps you should take to start your mediation career, and choosing a mediation speciality.

What is a Mediator?

A mediator is an impartial, alternative dispute resolution professional that assists two conflicting parties in resolving their differences. You don’t need a law degree to become a mediator but you will need sufficient education and training to begin a dispute resolution career.

Mediators should be able to settle conflict unbiased and with emotional intelligence. They must sift through the facts of the dispute at hand and manage the emotions and individual interests of the parties involved while remaining neutral.

What Does a Mediator Do?

Throughout the mediation process, a mediator’s job is to clarify the dispute amongst the parties involved, help identify the strengths and weaknesses of both sides, and help both parties agree on a fair conclusion.

Some cases are straightforward and the mediator can help the parties reach a resolution quickly. Other cases could require a full day of mediation, possibly not reaching a resolution and pivoting to a lawsuit or continuation of mediation. A mediation may require creative or innovative solutions, so mediators should be flexible in their approach to how both parties can reach the potential outcome.

A mediator must be prepared to decline or withdraw if they cannot remain neutral in the case. A mediator must avoid conflict of interest in order to remain impartial and if a conflict of interest presents itself, withdraw immediately. Lastly, while outcomes of the dispute are public record, the mediator must maintain confidentiality of the mediation. Click here for more information on the mediation process.

Where to Find Mediation Education and Training

As you start your journey in dispute resolution, check the requirements for the local bar association in which you want to be a mediator. In most jurisdictions, you do not need to be an attorney to practice or transition into mediation. Also, verify if your jurisdiction of choice requires certain training to be appointed as a mediator by the courts. If you are not interested in the option for court appointed mediation, this won’t be a concern for you.

State bar associations often maintain a list online of training providers that can help you narrow down your search to become a mediator. Another good option is to check with continuing legal education providers like the American Bar Association or National Bar Association. These organizations will often have mediation conferences or courses on demand so you are able to complete the required dispute resolution training at your leisure.

Some law schools provide the training or certificate options as well, although these options are often more expensive than the others.

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Choose Your Mediation Speciality

Are you a powerful negotiator? Can you help resolve issues between business partners and life partners? Do you want to help resolve disputes between injured parties and the parties accused of injuring them? Whether you enjoy negotiation, handling business, or making families friendly again, it’s important to choose a mediation specialty that you are passionate about.

Mediators can specialize in one subject or multiple subjects as long as they gain the education and experience necessary to practice. You may need to take a greater variety of cases to get your mediation practice off the ground; however, in time you will eventually want to choose a practice specialty to start building a book of clients and business focused on that specialty. Here are just a few mediation areas you can specialize in:

  • Family Law
  • Intellectual Property
  • Healthcare
  • School Violence
  • Environmental
  • Intercultural Conflict
  • Peer to Peer

You truly have a variety of mediation subjects you can focus your practice on. Not only will a mediation speciality allow you to grow the referral part of your business, the expertise developed will allow you to charge higher fees for these cases.

Fourth Party and Your Mediation Career

When you become a mediator, you’ll need to maximize time, money, and client relationships with smart, useful features. That’s where we come in. Fourth Party is the best app for mediators and arbitrators to execute safe and secure conflict resolution. When alternative dispute resolution professionals are on-the-move, they can trust our dynamic note-taking tool during in-person and virtual hearings to recap next steps or action steps. Also, ADRs can close cases with confidence with our post-reporting feature that helps navigate compliance at the state and federal level.

The Fourth Party app is intuitive, designed to help ADR professionals like mediators and arbitrators manage tasks, streamline negotiations, and track results – all in one place.

Click here to book a demo with us at Fourth Party. We look forward to getting to know you and doing our part to improve the dispute resolution process.


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What is Mediation?

Amongst the various methods for alternative dispute resolution, mediation tends to be one of the more common processes for conflict resolution.

Mediation is a legal process wherein a mutually selected, alternative dispute resolution professional, called a mediator, assists two parties in resolving their minor or major dispute. Whether the issue at hand is simple or complex, mediation is a cost-effective and neutral means for conflict resolution without having to incur the costs of court litigation.

This article will explain what mediation is, the typical process of mediation, and when one might choose mediation instead of arbitration, litigation or any other legal processes to resolve cases.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a legal process led by any 3rd party (such as a therapist, counselor, lawyers, or trained formal mediators, etc.), wherein two parties meet to facilitate dialogue and resolve disputes in order to reach a mutual agreement. The procedure allows individuals to voluntarily work through their disagreements without engaging in further dispute or going to court.

In this form of alternative dispute resolution, no single party directs an outcome. The mediator helps each party look at the facts available, come up with their own viable solution to solve the problem at hand, and settle the dispute. In the United States, the mediation process is governed by Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) and mediated by the American Arbitration Association (AAA). The mediation process is non-binding, meaning the parties involved are not required to accept the proposed resolution during mediation. However, once a settlement is reached and executed, the terms of that agreement are legally binding.

Choosing Mediation for a Case

When choosing mediation, parties should be sure this is the best option for their case.There are less fees involved with mediation. Mediation can be done without lawyer representation because both parties agree to hire a mediator. And something most people don’t take into consideration is mediation is better suited for mental health. The process of mediation can ease the emotional strain and drain that comes with going to court for most issues.

Mediation is a viable option to non-criminal cases, and non-violent criminal cases, including the following:

  • Divorce
  • Family
  • Child Custody
  • Property
  • Verbal or Sexual Harassment
  • Business

Mediation is also useful in disputes that do not involve a legal issue. For example, conflict between neighbors or roommates about the use of space or minor encroachments.

For parties involved in family court, divorce or guardianship, or even business mediation, oftentimes mediation is a suitable alternative to help solve these issues. This can be done through each party agreeing to resolve their dispute with a mediator.

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Take a look at the differences between mediation, arbitration and other legal procedures to help determine the best method to resolve your dispute.

Mediation vs. Arbitration

In mediation, the resolution reached is not binding in a court of law unless finalized in an agreement by both parties. In arbitration, the resolution and settlement is binding in a court of law. Mediation can be completed by any 3rd party (such as a therapist, counselor, lawyers, formal mediators, etc) and is usually recommended for civil disputes. Arbitration is executed by a formal, licensed arbitrator or panel of arbitrators and often used for commercial or business disputes, sometimes mandatory as an obligation of a contract, as opposed to going into litigation. Agreements reached in mediation are available for public record. Agreements reached in arbitration are completely private.

Mediation vs. Conciliation

Mediation and conciliation are very similar alternative dispute resolution methods. Conciliation is basically a highly skilled negotiation where the ADR professional works to understand the requirements between the two parties involved to see which of the requirements can be met for an immediate resolution. Conciliation is often used in labor disputes, like between a company and unions, and can be executed by a mediator.

Mediation vs. Litigation

As mentioned before, mediation is recommended for civil disputes and the resolutions reached in mediation are not binding in a court of law. The litigation process requires a lawyer. Parties can choose to litigate civil or commercial disputes; however they are high-cost and strictly completed in the courts – taking longer to reach an agreement. The judgements are made by a judge, not an ADR professional, and binding in the court of law. Disputes in mediation can be executed by any 3rd party and are more cost-effective.

Mediation vs. Negotiation

Mediation is a very formal alternative dispute resolution method of negotiation. Negotiation can be used across all legal processes for very simple disputes, disagreements, or as a matter of compromise.

Mediation vs. Adjudication

Adjudication is when the courts refer a dispute to be resolved outside of the courts through mediation. These disputes don’t have to initially go through litigation before being referred to mediation, but if this is the judgment, it’s considered adjudication.

The Fourth Party App and Mediation Services

Busy alternative dispute resolution professionals in mediation need to maximize their time, money, and client relationships with smart, useful features. That’s where we come in. Fourth Party is the best app for mediators and arbitrators to execute safe and secure conflict resolution. When ADR professionals are on-the-move, they can find ease in our dynamic note-taking tool during in-person and virtual hearings. Also, close your cases with confidence when you try our post-reporting feature that helps you navigate compliance at the state and federal level.

The Fourth Party app is intuitive, designed to help ADR professionals like mediators and arbitrators manage tasks, streamline negotiations, and track results – all in one place.

Click here to book a demo with us at Fourth Party. We look forward to getting to know you and doing our part to improve the dispute resolution process.


courtroom seating

What is Arbitration?

There are several methods when it comes to alternative dispute resolution and negotiation. While mediation is a very common process for conflict resolution, arbitration could be considered to resolve issues between parties as well.

Arbitration is a binding, adjudicatory process that can be used to settle disputes and resolve issues amongst two parties in private.

This article will explain what arbitration is, the typical process of arbitration, and when you might choose arbitration instead of litigation, mediation or other legal processes to resolve cases.

What is Arbitration?

Arbitration is a private dispute resolution process in which two parties agree to submit their dispute to one or more arbitrators for a binding decision. The agreement to arbitrate is typically found in a written contract agreed to by both parties. Parties will agree to submit their dispute to arbitrators from member organizations in the American Arbitration Association (AAA). This process remains a voluntary legal procedure and separate from the court system. The Federal Arbitration Act, coupled with the case’s state arbitration law, generally governs this private dispute resolution process.

In this form of alternative dispute resolution, no single party directs an outcome. However, the complaining party will send the opposing party a notice of their intent to arbitrate a dispute, outlining the basis for the dispute per the rules of the contract. Arbitration mimics a courtroom trial minus the timeline and attorney involvement – evidence can be presented, arguments are made, witnesses can be called and questioned. The arbitrator or panel of arbitrators will then deliver a final ruling to both parties that is legally binding.

Choosing Arbitration for a Case

When choosing arbitration for your dispute, you want to be sure this is the best option for your dispute. ​​If possible, the involved parties often select arbitrators on the basis of substantive expertise. Arbitration can be done without lawyer representation but parties are welcome to have an attorney that specializes in the arbitration process.

Arbitration is a viable option to non-criminal cases, and non-violent criminal cases, including the following:

  • Divorce
  • Family
  • Child Custody
  • Property
  • Verbal or Sexual Harassment
  • Business

Arbitration is a popular way of resolving disputes and conflict between two parties to prevent litigating in a courthouse. The arbitration process is simply faster than going to court, it’s private, and the involved parties may be able to choose the arbitrators they want to hear their case rather than being randomly assigned a mediator.

Take a look at the differences between arbitration and other legal procedures to help determine the best method to resolve your dispute.

back of mans head in a courtroom

Arbitration vs. Mediation

In arbitration, the resolution and settlement is binding in a court of law. In mediation, the resolution reached is not binding in a court of law unless finalized in an agreement by both parties. Mediation can be completed by any 3rd party (such as a therapist, counselor, lawyers, formal mediators, etc) and is usually recommended for civil disputes. Arbitration is executed by a formal, licensed arbitrator or panel of arbitrators and often used for commercial or business disputes, sometimes mandatory as an obligation of a contract, as opposed to going into litigation. Agreements reached in arbitration are completely private while agreements reached in mediation are available for public record.

Arbitration vs. Conciliation

Arbitration is often used for commercial or business disputes, sometimes mandatory as an obligation of a contract, and binding in the court of law. Conciliation is basically a highly skilled negotiation where the ADR professional works to understand the requirements between the two parties involved to see which of the requirements can be met for an immediate resolution. Conciliation is often used in labor disputes, like between a company and unions, and can be executed by a mediator.

Arbitration vs. Litigation

Arbitration is a private alternative dispute resolution method completed by a formal arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators and is binding in the court of law, similar to litigation. The litigation process requires a lawyer where parties can choose to litigate civil or commercial disputes; however they are higher in cost than arbitration and strictly completed in the courts – taking longer to reach an agreement. The judgements are made by a judge, not an ADR professional, and binding in the court of law.

Arbitration vs. Negotiation

Arbitration is a very formal alternative dispute resolution method not particularly comparative to negotiation like mediation is. Arbitration is more similar to a court process than negotiation because a formal arbitrator or panel of arbitrators makes the final decision and it is binding in the court of law. Negotiation is mostly recommended for very simple disputes, disagreements, or as a matter of compromise.

Arbitration vs. Adjudication

Adjudication is when the courts refer a dispute to be resolved outside of the courts through arbitration. These disputes don’t have to initially go through litigation before being referred to arbitration, but if this is the judgment, it’s considered adjudication.

The Fourth Party App and Arbitration Services

Busy alternative dispute resolution professionals in mediation need to maximize their time, money, and client relationships with smart, useful features. That’s where we come in. Fourth Party is the best app for mediators and arbitrators to execute safe and secure conflict resolution. When ADR professionals are on-the-move, they can find ease in our dynamic note-taking tool during in-person and virtual hearings. Also, close your cases with confidence when you try our post-reporting feature that helps you navigate compliance at the state and federal level.

The Fourth Party app is intuitive, designed to help ADR professionals like mediators and arbitrators manage tasks, streamline negotiations, and track results – all in one place.

Click here to book a demo with us at Fourth Party. We look forward to getting to know you and doing our part to improve the dispute resolution process.


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2021 The Georgia Uniform Mediation Act for Mediators and Arbitrators

In Spring 2021, the State Bar of Georgia passed the Georgia Uniform Mediation Act(GUMA) providing new protections and uniform requirements for private mediation in Georgia. The law, which recently went into effect on July 1, 2021, is the beginning of elevating how parties experience private mediation and confidentiality. This article will explain more about the Georgia Mediation Act below.

Mediation and Arbitration in Georgia

Georgia has continued to be a national leader in the dispute resolution field for court-ordered cases. Since 1993, under the Supreme Court Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Rules, parties in public, court-connected mediation sessions are assured certain protections such as confidentiality, immunity, and mediator impartiality.

Currently, a number of these protections are inconsistent, weak, and confusing. The new Georgia Uniform Mediation Act helps align different requirements expected of parties and mediators in private mediation with the rules of public mediation.

Public Mediation vs. Private Mediation

The Georgia Uniform Mediation Act now includes protections for public and private mediations.
Public mediation can be court-referred or court-ordered. This is the dispute resolution process implemented after the conflict has entered litigation in the court system and is considered public. In public mediation, parties may or may not have legal representation and the settlements reached become legally binding.
While private mediation can be court-ordered as well, it is not always the case. This is a preferred option to help parties with or without legal representation find agreement through the use of a mediator before or in lieu of litigation. In private mediation, any settlement created during this process becomes legally binding with the parties’ signatures.

The Georgia Uniform Mediation Act

The enactment of GUMA establishes a number of protections for mediators and participants in dispute resolution.
Now, confidentiality privileges and protection for mediators and participants prohibits what is said during a private mediation from being used in later legal proceedings. Additionally, these same GUMA privileges and protections of confidentiality attach to mediators.

GUMA has also incorporated the 2018 United Nations Commission on International Trade’s Model Law on International Commercial Mediation and International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation. This incorporation modernizes how ADR professionals governing international mediations conducted in Georgia. Georgia is the first state to adopt this aspect of UMA, strengthening their position as a national leader in dispute resolution and meditation-friendly, cross-border dispute jurisdiction.

Lastly, uniformity regarding these protections is necessary in cross-jurisdictional mediation and arbitration. Across public mediation and private mediation, it can be unclear which state’s laws apply. Participating individuals and parties can trust their mediation process is privileged and protected to the reach of their home state’s dispute resolution confidentiality laws.

Fourth Party and The Georgia Uniform Mediation Act

The new Georgia Uniform Mediation Act will ensure all Georgia mediations are afforded these new protections. With GUMA front of mind for Georgia ADR professionals, the Fourth Party app provides disputing parties a safe and secure virtual option for conflict resolution. Resolving conflict faster. The Fourth Party app is your secure, intuitive solution for on the move arbitration and mediation professionals to manage tasks, streamline negotiations, and track results – all in one place.

Also, the Fourth Party app helps you stay on top of state filings and compliance before, during, and after your mediations. Are you looking to maximize your time, money, and client relationships with smart features for busy negotiators and ADR professionals? Click here to book a demo with us at Fourth Party. We look forward to getting to know you and doing our part to improve the dispute resolution process.


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Benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution vs. Litigation

Simply put, court cases are expensive and time-consuming. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes are more efficient and cost-effective methods for solving a legal problem out of court, instead of litigation. Litigating minor or major disputes in court is a very slow process that comes with high costs. This is where alternative dispute resolution can step in and make a difference to help all parties involved reach a settlement they can agree to.

This article will explain the numerous benefits of choosing ADR, how to pay for ADR and who pays for ADR once an agreement or settlement is reached.

Benefits of Choosing Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative dispute resolution refers to the following legal methods: mediation, conciliation, arbitration, or negotiation.

Choosing ADR could lead to lower legal fees, quicker resolution times, and the opportunity to save relationships amongst the involved parties. Here are the benefits for parties to choose any of the above methods in lieu of litigation:

  • Faster: Dispute resolution moves quicker than litigation.
  • Low-Cost: The fees associated are significantly cheaper than court costs and attorney fees.
  • Confidentiality: While the results and outcome is public record, the conflict resolution process, session, and overall experience is confidential.
  • Preserves Relationships: Alternative dispute resolution showcases that the parties involved want to solve the issue at hand. These methods allow for an exchange of ideas and communication that can maintain positive relationships while resolving the conflict.
  • Informal: A less formal legal process tends to increase engagement and willingness amongst involved parties in order to reach an agreement.

Paying for Alternative Dispute Resolution

Dispute resolution costs in most cases are a direct cost to the plaintiff, even if it was ordered by the court. These costs are not the same as the costs associated with the settlement amount, which are usually split between the plaintiff, the attorney, and any lien holders.

There are various ways to pay for mediation or arbitration to keep it affordable and low-cost compared to litigation:

  • Flat-fee/All-Inclusive: This is the most ideal way to pay. This option typically includes all work and services provided for parties involved, from beginning to end. The party expected to pay these costs is relieved of any additional billing statements and this option allows for time flexibility on reaching an agreement.
  • Billable/By-the-Hour: With this option, ADR professionals will charge by the hour. If involved parties are on a budget regarding dispute costs, they should be cautious of any hand-holding during the resolution process because it can get costly.
  • Pay As You Go/Payment Plan: This is another option that helps keep costs down when executing a dispute case. Depending on how many sessions, it could be a mix of paying a flat fee and billable hours. In the beginning you’ll pay for an initial consultation, then pay for each resolution session. After that, there may be other associated fees to complete the settlement like the memorandum of understanding, a divorce or employment agreement, or filing service charge.
  • Retainer: This payment option is a required set amount of money the initiating party or plaintiff pays up front to the ADR professional in order to start work on a case. Often used in conjunction with billable hours, costs will be drawn from the retainer. An additional payment may be required once a retainer is complete or deliverable is finished.

hand holding 100 dollar bills

Who Pays for Alternative Dispute Resolution

Before accepting dispute resolution as your method of choice, unless it was ordered by the court, parties should address the issue of costs and who will pay. Sometimes, the costs or potential settlement in some dispute cases may be so small that a plaintiff won’t agree to mediation or arbitration costs won’t reach what will need to be paid. However, there should never be any built-in expectation that the other party will pay the costs.

Fourth Party – The Mobile App for Busy ADR Professionals

When it comes to choosing alternative dispute resolution methods to conclude a case, the Fourth Party app is a safe and secure tool to make sure ADR professionals can help parties resolve conflict faster.

If you’re a busy negotiator or ADR professional looking to maximize your time, money, and client relationships, Fourth Party is the answer. Our intuitive app is the solution for on-the-move arbitration, mediation, and conflict resolution professionals to manage tasks, streamline negotiations, and track results – all in one place.

Click here to book a demo with us at Fourth Party. We look forward to getting to know you and doing our part to improve the dispute resolution process.


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Best Tech Tools for ADR Professionals 2022

With the acceleration of technology, it’s necessary to be flexible and mobile with your work as a negotiator or legal officer. There are several online platforms and mobile applications designed for professionals in the alternative dispute resolution field. Having the right systems and apps in place could enhance your personal and work life.

In this article we created a list of the most recommended digital tools that could improve workflow, social media and marketing, scheduling, client communication, and more for your ADR business.

Fourth Party: Negotiation Management

On-the-move ADR professionals need a safe, secure, and intuitive tech solution to improve their negotiations. The Fourth Party app has the smart features to take your conflict resolution and negotiation to the next level. Our dual-party note-taking tool takes the guesswork out of review and recaps after conversations. Confidently close your cases with our post-reporting feature – seamlessly navigating the last mile of compliance at the state and federal level. Lastly, Fourth Party helps you manage tasks, streamline negotiations, and track case results – all in one place. This is the tool every mediator and arbitrator needs to resolve issues and office matters.

CaseText: Legal Research

Made by attorneys, for attorneys – Casetext software helps legal professionals do their best legal research and writing in a fraction of the time. ADR professionals, law firms, and attorneys can use Casetext’s cutting edge features to review and experience legal research in the most user-friendly, efficient way. This tool is a solid replacement for Lexis and Westlaw at an affordable price.

HelloSign: Digital Signatures

E-signatures are a staple in business and negotiation. When it’s time to execute the agreed or binding resolution and settlement, you want to capture all necessary signatures and complete all paperwork in a timely manner. Upload the document that requires initials, signatures, etc. and add the signers’ email addresses to request their John Hancock. With HelloSign, you can effortlessly prepare, send, sign, and track eSignatures. Use this tool to reach the finish line on your cases.

LastPass: Account Security

Every part of digital life comes with a password. LastPass helps you put it on autopilot, encrypting your business and removing obstacles to remember the very thing that gets you going on your desktop and mobile. This browser extension steps in for you when you’re working on confidential client information in the company system to streaming Netflix or even when shopping online. With multi-factor authentication and strong security algorithms, this is your chance to make your last password ever.

Coggle: Mind-Mapping and Collaboration

Even mediators and arbitrators have a creative or brainstorming streak and need to get their ideas out on how to approach a unique dispute or execute an agreement. Introducing Coggle, a mind mapping software that helps you unleash systems and processes onto a flowchart with ease. With this tool you can start a diagram by uploading or creating. Then invite your ADR and legal colleagues to collaborate with you. They can visualize your planning, notes, design and more right in the browser. Coggle makes work, and life, easy to share with others and see their response at once.

Latergram: Social Media Organization

There’s more to social marketing than likes and comments. Your social media profile could use some organizing as well. Upgrade with Latergram, a tool that is sure to help you save time and grow your ADR business by making it easy to schedule social media posts to multiple platforms including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and TikTok.

Get creative when selling and have fun with your audience by sharing your lessons and wins. Turn your images about mediation and arbitration into clickable or shoppable content with a custom link in bio. Latergram simplifies how you schedule your social media content is as simple as dragging-and-dropping. Later will even tell you your unique Best Time to Post, so you can publish regularly without a hitch.

Tiny Scanner (iOS or Android): Document Scanner

Known as the scanner in your pocket – Tiny Scanner is an app that turns iPhone and android devices into the portable document scanner you’ve always needed. This tool scans just about anything – documents, photos, receipts, reports – as images or PDFs. Scan, name, and organize your new PDF into a folder or share it via email, to your computer, or any other folder integration (Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, OneDrive or Box). It scans lightning fast and you’re a moving ADR professional, so you want to have something like this on-hand.

ADR Professionals Use The Fourth Party App

Our list of the best tools for ADR professionals showcases amazing software, websites, and apps to add to your work repertoire so you can be more effective, efficient, and productive. Always review each tool’s pricing to determine your business needs.

The Fourth Party app is used by ADR firms, legal professionals, and community resolution organizations to execute safe and secure conflict resolution. We offer an end-to-end, encrypted digital environment for your legal documents, resources, and communications. Our dual-party note-taking system provides a framework for easy access to case facts and materials. Our system helps you stay on top of filings, facilitating that final stretch of activities to ensure compliance. And coming very soon, negotiators can maximize their digital resolution process with straightforward case billing, the option for e-signatures to finalize and bind settlements, calendar integration, and confidential video conferencing.

Click here to book a demo with us at Fourth Party. We look forward to getting to know you and doing our part to improve the dispute resolution process.