Establish your leverage upfront. It can be very difficult and expensive to try to get it later.


The majority of civil lawsuits filed every year involve disputes over contracts.  The sad reality it that most of these cases leave the legal system before anything is resolved leaving the parties to resolve their disputes out of court.  In the end, the court system is too often reduced to nothing more than an expensive middleman to the dispute resolution process. So, I ask you, what purpose does litigation really serve to resolve any dispute?  Leverage.

How, when and where to get Leverage 

Without leverage its tough to get anyone to agree to anything.  People tend to rely upon lawsuits to create that leverage.  Its true, lawsuits do get peoples’ attention, they educate, they scare and they empower people. They also transform, for better and worse, the way people view their disputes. The irony of it all is that the leverage you get from a lawsuit almost always falls short of resolving the case. Statistics show that most people who file lawsuits later come to realize that they are almost always better off negotiating their own settlements out of court rather than relying on the court to have the final word to determine what they will recover.

Don’t Shoot First and Look for Leverage Later

You shouldn’t wait to file a lawsuit and rely upon the courts to gain the leverage needed to resolve disagreements.   Instead, take a little extra time upfront to clearly document in writing all the key terms and conditions of your agreement and leave as little as possible for interpretation.  In your agreement, give yourself one or more options how to handle disputes should they occur later. Establish upfront, that if a dispute later occurs, everyone agrees to clearly communicate the problem to one another and to try to resolve it privately before allowing anyone to file a lawsuit.  Too few people have the foresight to include such a private dispute resolution process in their agreements and they regret it later.  Once a dispute arises its usually too late to make any such arrangements.  The only option left is litigation and once that starts, it quickly builds up a head of steam and is not easy to stop.


The best way to resolve any dispute is privately without lawyers, judges, mediators, arbitrators or any other third parties. However, its not easy or comfortable for most people to navigate through the anger, conflict and uncertainty surrounding a failed relationship, business deal or contract.
Mediation, as opposed to litigation, provides people with a supervised, non-threatening and confidential negotiation process where the parties, not the lawyers ultimately control the outcome of the dispute and that outcome is usually much more certain and final than any determination or ruling that could be entered in court.

Legal Fights Continue LONG after Trial

You’ve heard the expression, “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink?” That applies to a large extent to people and their disputes as well as horses. Just because a judge or jury makes a determination what someone is entitled to recover or obligated to pay, there still remains a potential legal battle to fight to enforce it.  Mediation, on the other hand, is a communication and negotiation process that is designed to help all parties formulate proposals and reach a final enforceable agreement that by the end of the mediation session, leaves no doubt that the fight is over.

So, establish the leverage you need upfront.  Clearly document your agreements in writing and include in your agreements the right and obligation to mediate any disputes first before taking them to court.  Visit to learn more.

Is a courtroom really the best place to start to try to resolve a dispute?

When it comes to settling disputes, many people just don’t know what’s good for them, so they ask lawyers and judges to handle it for them.

Courts weren’t designed or intended to handle every situation.

Courts can’t handle all the lawsuits filed.   Judges and legislators are trying to do more to try to encourage and even require people to try mediation first. Laws now exist requiring mediation in certain limited situations.  That’s certainly a step in the right direction; but, it’s still just too little too late.  It’s time for the courts to channel many, many more cases to mediation and to do it sooner vs later. READ MORE.

Too few opportunities to mediate instead of proceeding with a lawsuit.

Currently, unless a contract or applicable laws requires pre-suit mediation, mediation is never even considered until near the end of a lawsuit.  There is little if any  time reserved to mediate anywhere in between.  Litigants can be left to fight in court for months or even years without making any attempt to resolve the dispute other than proceeding to trial.

Self-determination should include a legal right and opportunity to mediate to try to resolve disputes privately at any time.

Mediation is all about empowering people to decide how and when to resolve their disputes.  Its called the right of self-determination.  If the legal system really believes in this then it needs to do more.  For example, why not amend the rules of court to provide that if at least one party has requested pre-suit mediation, but the other party refuses, then the party who requested pre-suit mediation may use it against him.  Allow the party seeking to mediate plead the other party’s refusal as an affirmative defense in whatever lawsuit the refusing party may choose to file instead?  Give judges the power to dismiss (without prejudice) or at least suspend legal proceeding until a mediation requested by a party is at least attempted.  Such amendments to the court rules puts more teeth in mediation and promotes the self-determination of the more enlightened party, i.e. the one who has tried but been unable to engage other parties in a private communication to mediate a solution without going to court.

Greater access to private dispute resolution processes such as mediation needs to keep pace with the growing number of new causes of action.

Every day more and more new laws are being passed recognizing new rights and new legal causes of action.  People today have a lot more possibilities to sue. People today also have a lot more reasons to sue when you consider that more and more products and services are being bought and sold over the internet, sight unseen. Combine all this with the fact there is no shortage of lawyers and it easy to understand why more and more disputes are routinely being filed in an already overburdened court system.   Its incumbent upon not only legislators and judges but also upon mediators themselves to help better educate people about mediation and to direct more people to such private solutions much sooner. LEARN MORE.

Please show your support of less litigation and more private resolution of conflicts and disputes.

Up to this point, mediation has remained largely a court-annexed process, meaning that lawyers and judges tend to decide when people mediate.  We think people should be able to decide for themselves.   If you agree, please let us know. Please like and follow 4Disputes on Facebook, Twitter and Google+Watch our videos and subscribe to our Youtube channel.