How does Just Resolve save productivity, money, time and stress compared with adversarial forums?
The innovative neutral-driven Just Resolve process eliminates the following major sources of cost and delay typical of advocate-driven legal process:
Formal discovery (e.g., depositions and interrogatories)
Formal pleading and procedural disputes
Extensive research, briefing and hearing cycles
Layered schedule coordination and accommodation
Consequently, our neutral-driven/non-adversarial dispute resolution (NDR) method eliminates two-thirds of the work (and billable time) typically expended by each party’s attorney, staff and paid industry experts. Just Resolve coordinates the necessary remaining professional time and resources into a single effort aimed at reaching a fair decision:
Neutral team selection (and dispute definition)
Investigation (and analysis)
Decision (both tentative with feedback, and final)
With no time spent on legal maneuvering, this fast, fair process also relieves a lot of the stress that can accompany contract and other business disputes.
How is Just Resolve a best business practice that enhances reputations and potentially salvages valued relationships?
Adopting Just Resolve’s method is a powerful how-we-do-business statement by all involved that says: “We do business and favor resolution of misunderstandings based on fairness and honesty, instead of who has the better lawyer or bigger war chest.” This enhances the parties’ reputations and confidence in each other as good business partners from the outset of their relationship. In the event of a misunderstanding, no matter how intense, it defuses raging emotions and egos as it enables both the party who has been wronged and the party who has erred to act with dignity and minimize loss of profits, time and stress. This may create the opportunity to continue a valued relationship afterward.
What does Just Resolve cost?
Just Resolve’s services will usually cost each disputing party less than one-fourth (25%) of the dispute value, or “stakes,” and in all events only a fraction of (usually 3-6X less than) adversarial alternatives, whether the parties agree to a fixed, not-to-exceed, or hourly-based fee. The fixed fee, in particular, is an important innovation that does what many businesses have long wished for instead of the highly unpredictable costs of legal services by the billable hour. It also aligns the interests of the neutral professional(s) with the parties to invest time and cost proportionate with what is at stake. Finally, you can have justice that is affordable. For more information on what Just Resolve costs, see our pricing and total costs of litigation calculator
What do you mean by “As Quoted” in your pricing?
The exact amount of any quoted price depends primarily on the projected scope and hours of work estimated for neutral arbiter(s) and/or Just Resolve staff professional(s), as appropriate. All prices are per customer/party.
How does Just Resolve guarantee the neutrality and integrity of its process?
We do this in four ways: 1. Both parties examine the qualifications and background of highly reputable candidate neutrals and then participate equally in their final selection. 2. We perform a “conflicts check” on candidate neutrals that adheres to the strict standards of the judicial system. 3. Strict rules govern both parties’ use of advocates and advocacy, leveling the playing field for parties who choose not to hire an advocate. 4. Our neutrals are empowered to hold false disclosures, missing data or lack of cooperation against the offending party just as a court would.
Can Just Resolve be written into business contracts?
Yes, business contracts may specify an agreed or preferred resolution method and service in advance of any dispute. Contact us or become a member of the Just Resolve Network to get examples of potential Just Resolve contract language.
Is a Just Resolve decision binding, and if so, how is it enforced?
Whether a Just Resolve decision is binding or advisory is up to the parties. The disputing parties decide in advance whether the process in any given case is binding. Just Resolve strongly recommends that the parties opt for a binding resolution in order that they realize the full benefits and savings of the process. The parties’ agreement, including any binding decision and financial deterrents to court challenge, is enforceable in court like any other contract. See Three-Step Process
How is Just Resolve different from traditional arbitration and mediation?
Private Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) methods like arbitration and mediation have become more popular as court delays and high costs have made litigation impractical for many people. Traditional arbitration, while streamlined compared to the courts, still preserves and relies on two adversarial teams (i.e., litigation counsel) doing redundant investigation and research, and using formal processes (e.g. discovery, briefing and hearings) of the adversarial justice system, with corresponding costs and consequences, except that there usually is no right to appeal. Traditional mediation is a facilitated negotiation where success depends on the parties reaching a settlement agreement, usually by compromising. It can be very useful and less costly than the court system or arbitration, but it is still an adversarial process insofar as the parties retain separate attorneys to investigate, brief, present, argue and negotiate for their respective clients. Moreover, when adversarial mediation fails, the parties are left having incurred substantial additional costs in time and money over what they would have incurred without it. In Just Resolve’s non-adversarial dispute resolution (NDR) method, a single team of neutral experts drives the investigation and analysis for both sides, without duplication of effort, so it all takes a fraction of the time – and cost. Nevertheless, some parties want or are obligated to mediate disputes that arise. In those instances, they may elect to include an optional mediation step in the Just Resolve process. A Just Resolve mediation, however, is conducted without need for separate legal representation, and if it fails to resolve the dispute, the parties simply continue the Just Resolve process to decision.
Is Just Resolve right for all business disputes?
No. Just Resolve is not “one size fits all.” Some business disputes are so large, important or complex that separate counsel, a jury verdict, and other rights afforded by our judicial system are warranted in the best interests of obtaining justice. Just Resolve may not be the best dispute resolution method in those cases. And we don’t expect the following kinds of business people to choose our method: those who must “win at all costs,” who are determined to “work” the legal system to frustrate the other side, or who are economic bullies intent on exploiting superior wealth. Just Resolve is also not suitable in situations where a critical third party refuses to cooperate. Just Resolve is right for the vast majority of common commercial disputes (e.g., breach of contract) among business people who:
1. Believe that they are right and are not interested in gaming the system.
2. Are familiar with the usual costs and experience of adversarial forums and seek a timely, cost-efficient solution.
3. Realize that real justice is impossible when costs consume the stakes.
4. Value truth, relationships and reputation over winning at all costs.
Why doesn’t Just Resolve promote its method for use in non-business disputes?
Just Resolve’s method can work in non-business disputes, too. However, in most other kinds of disputes, it usually is much harder to get opposing parties to agree to use Just Resolve’s method, and in some kinds of disputes there are important public policy considerations that restrict parties from so contracting. Nevertheless, if you face a legal dispute of any kind in which you and the other side believe Just Resolve’s method would make sense, it probably will. Just contact us.
If I don’t use a litigation attorney, how will I know how to organize all the material needed for a resolution?
If I don’t use a litigation attorney, how will I have confidence that the other side will produce all relevant evidence?
Because the neutral experts drive the investigation – informed by whatever additional information you and others provide or ask about – it’s highly likely that the right questions and the most relevant evidence will be considered. While no one, including the court system, can guarantee that someone won’t lie or hide important evidence, the chances of successfully doing so are low, and the consequences of being caught are comparable to the issue sanction remedies available to address cheating in the court system. In addition, the parties have an opportunity to give feedback once the neutral arbiter issues a tentative decision.
Will I get as good a net result using Just Resolve as I would have gotten relying on a litigation attorney either in court or traditional arbitration?
Almost certainly. First, the outcome of common disputes tends to turn on what happened, on the applicable law, and on assorted uncontrollable factors. Because of this reality, it is a well-kept secret that competent dueling counsel tend to cancel each other out, even if their skills are not equal. Nevertheless, an underpinning of our court system is that having skilled attorneys advocate opposing points of view maximizes the chances of achieving overall justice. Unfortunately, this theory breaks down in disputes where per-party legal costs alone are likely to approach or exceed the financial stakes. In such disputes, even superior attorney skills have little chance of offsetting (i.e. justifying) their legal fees and related costs. And seldom can the court system offer subject-matter-expert neutrals whom the parties have helped choose. By relying on highly reputable, subject-experienced judges and other experts, Just Resolve brings to each case at least the same quality of professional inputs as the court system. The combination of their skills, experience, intellectual ability and high integrity assures a similarly informed, well-reasoned, focused and fair investigation and analysis. Our stepped process – including a full feedback loop before a tentative decision becomes final – also reduces the risk of major oversight or error. Finally, having only one team focused on truth, instead of separate teams committed to advantage for their respective sides, enables an economically rational process and result that takes into account limited financial stakes and assures a level playing field for all. If the parties want the added assurance of an appeal process, we offer that too.
What if I am reluctant to do anything “legal” without my attorney?
Just Resolve does not prohibit anyone from consulting their general counsel or other attorney or advisor in connection with a Resolve. In fact, a party can, if it wants, even designate a litigation attorney as its dispute liaison. However, because Just Resolve’s neutrals drive the investigation and have no obligation to accept briefs or adopt suggestions from attorneys, the potential influence of advocacy is greatly diminished, while the additional fees paid to litigation counsel may eliminate that party’s savings in having chosen Just Resolve’s expedited, truth-focused process. In short, we know and expect that when a dispute arises, most people will consult a trusted advisor of some kind, and our process enables those advisors to play their roles more cost-effectively in your best overall interests.
Isn’t this what I have business liability insurance for?
The common business disputes that Just Resolve addresses (e.g., breach of contract) typically are not covered by insurance. For example, in our experience, commercial general liability policies only cover the risk of liability principally for property damage or personal injury as defined in the policies. While only your insurance agent or lawyer can reliably advise you about a particular situation, economic injuries like lost business, profits or value from a goods, services or partnering contract gone bad tend to be excluded. Saving Money
My contracts include clauses awarding attorneys’ fees and related costs to the prevailing party in any dispute that arises. Doesn’t this protect against high legal costs eating up the financial stakes?
Attorneys’ fees clauses can be helpful. Just Resolve honors parties’ advance agreements to allocate legal and other costs in any manner chosen. The problem with these clauses is that they are no substitute for a fast, reliable, and economically rational dispute resolution process. Every business makes mistakes and the merits of very few disputes are cut and dry. Consequently, including in contracts a Just Resolve dispute resolution clause committing to a non-adversarial process is much better security against out-of-control legal costs. Here’s why:
If your contract has an attorneys’ fees clause and you lose the dispute, you will have doubled your jeopardy because of the need to pay the other side’s attorneys’ fees as well as your own.
Awards for attorneys’ fees tend to be significantly discounted by judges and arbitrators, whose obligation to be reasonable and fair – and whose concerns about possible legal bill “padding” – make them reluctant to reimburse anywhere near the full amount of actual attorneys’ fees paid by the prevailing party to its own attorney.
Attorneys’ fees awards do not cover the substantial hidden costs of litigation (discussed elsewhere in this website and included in our TCL Calculator).
Why is our judicial system inefficient and user-unfriendly for business?
Our adversarial judicial system was created in post-medieval England to curb gross human rights and property rights abuses committed by unrestrained governmental authority. It is a system that excels in recognizing individual procedural rights to the detriment of all other considerations. However, what many businesses want and need in the 21st century are swift and reliable means for justly resolving disputes that also account for their interests in preserving productivity, maximizing profits, managing cash flow, and maintaining reputation and key relationships.
I have heard of something called “collaborative law.” How does Just Resolve compare with that?
Just Resolve is not collaborative law. Collaborative law is an emerging ADR (“Alternate Dispute Resolution”) process, often employed in family law matters, in which disputing parties retain attorneys, usually jointly, to act in a non-adversarial capacity to recommend a fair and reasonable negotiated settlement. The collaborative lawyer does not decide the dispute if the parties fail to settle. Just Resolve decides every dispute within an agreed time and budget. Our 3-Step Process
Just how big is this civil justice gap you talk about?
While the dollar value range of disputes in the gap ultimately can vary by jurisdiction and individual perception, it is estimated that at least 90% of all civil legal disputes (excluding small claims) fall in the financial stakes range between $10,000 and $500,000, which is a good rough surrogate for the gap in the United States. Truly high stakes disputes, like bet-the-company, multi-million dollar, and other “must-win-or-die-trying” disputes may dominate the headlines, but they are a small percentage overall. Based on extrapolations of reported business contract cases alone, Just Resolve estimates the size of this part of the civil justice gap at over $4 billion annually.
Exactly what is a “limited stakes“ dispute?
Broadly, this is any dispute in which the legal costs of formal, lawyer-driven adversarial process are likely to consume most or all of the financial stakes for each party. Also sometimes called a “medium stakes” dispute, in practical terms, it is a dispute for which the financial stakes lie in that range between small claims cases (from which courts exclude lawyers, usually less than $5,000 or $10,000 in value) and high-stakes disputes like bet-the-company and other must-win-at-any-cost situations. Limited stakes disputes are important to at least one of the parties in principle or practical consequence, for example, a dispute whose outcome can make a difference between a project or transaction being profitable. In $ value, the boundary between limited and high stakes is not fixed, though many conscientious lawyers will not accept claims below $300,000 to $500,000 because they expect that their time and legal fees will consume the stakes.