Wallace, Jordan, Ratliff & Brandt strives to use traditional and non-traditional methods of dispute resolution to assist its clients in resolving disputed matters promptly and efficiently. Many of the firm’s attorneys have substantial alternative dispute resolution training and regularly serve as mediators and arbitrators in virtually every area of law. These attorneys are available for service as third-party neutrals in all types of alternative dispute resolution. In addition, the firm represents clients who are themselves involved as parties in mediations and arbitrations.
To enhance this process, Wallace Jordan’s facilities are designed to accommodate mediations and arbitrations. A large number of conference rooms and caucus rooms are available to serve our clients’ needs.
The firm’s attorneys are available to serve as mediators and arbitrators or to provide consulting services on an hourly fee basis. The firm is also willing to establish retainer relationships under which the firm’s attorneys provide dispute resolution services at reduced rates.
Mediations will be conducted under the Alabama Civil Court Mediation Rules, unless the parties agree otherwise. Arbitrations will be conducted under the rules selected by the parties in their post-dispute agreements to arbitrate or in the agreement containing the pre-dispute arbitration language. The mediation and arbitration rules utilized will provide for confidentiality of all proceedings.
(Note: the enforceability of pre-dispute arbitration clauses in Alabama is the subject of many judicial opinions, with the ultimate answer often turning upon informed consent and the degree to which performance of the parties’ agreement involves interstate commerce.)
Many clients appreciate the opportunity to engage in a confidential mediation process as a way to resolve difficult disputes quickly and avoid costly litigation. The firm’s attorneys who are specially trained in pre-litigation dispute resolution are engaged to serve as mediators in disputes before a lawsuit is filed. This service is ideal for addressing:
Pre-litigation dispute resolution is always available on a case-by-case basis, but some companies and non-profit organizations choose to require the use of these processes by incorporating them into their agreements and employee manuals. While pre-dispute arbitration agreements are fairly common, most agreements and employee manuals do not mandate the use of non-binding dispute resolution processes like negotiation and mediation. The firm has sample contractual clauses and employee manual language available upon request.
Many of the firm’s attorneys conduct mediations and arbitrations utilizing the Rules of Procedure for Christian Conciliation of the Institute for Christian Conciliation (ICC). While similar in many respects to traditional alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, this method differs with its focus on bringing about both substantive resolution and personal reconciliation.
The ICC has conferred the designation of Certified Christian Conciliator™ upon several of the firm’s attorneys, reflecting the substantial additional training and experience they have in this area. These attorneys not only serve as mediators and arbitrators, but also represent clients who are parties to mediations and arbitrations conducted pursuant to ICC rules.
Virtually any type of dispute can be handled through conciliation, including the following:
The Institute for Christian Conciliation is a division of Peacemaker Ministries. Additional information on Christian Conciliation and a copy of the Rules of Procedure for Christian Conciliation can be found at www.peacemaker.net under resources for alternate dispute resolution and legal professionals.
In the divorce mediation context, the firm’s attorneys who conduct conciliations have established certain conditions, including: (1) at least one party to the mediation must earnestly desire to reconcile the marriage; (2) both parties must desire to be as reconciled as possible (although one of the parties may not believe reconciling the marriage is possible or desirable); and (3) the parties’ church must not object to the firm’s attorney conducting the divorce mediation. The mediator will first seek to promote reconciliation of the marriage and, if the parties are unable to reconcile, will work with them to reach an amicable resolution on such issues as child custody, property division, and alimony. It is our belief that an amicable resolution of these issues, as compared to a bitter dispute over them, is in the best interest of the couple’s children and leaves room for future reconciliation of the marriage.
The firm’s attorneys typically charge an hourly fee, which is split among the parties. Because of the unique nature of church conflict interventions, the firm typically establishes a fixed fee and schedule prior to undertaking this type of work.