Facilitation, Mediation and Arbitration of technology and intellectual property related disputes are core services of what we do. Practical Resolutions Inc. provides cost-effective neutral resolution services at any stage of a conflict or dispute. Facilitation to help build or repair business relationships; Mediation to help parties resolve disputes in their own best interests; and Arbitration as a private, cost-effective alternative to the courts.
We also provide conflict management services, including: fact-finding and neutral evaluation; negotiation coaching and training; best practices for project governance and conflict management.
Click to expand the sections below for more details.Facilitated Negotiation
Facilitated Negotiation or Facilitation as it is also referred to is a risk mitigation process that achieves optimal results when applied to business conflicts in their early stages. Organizations who use this process do so to minimize the risk of a disagreement from escalating into a more serious dispute which could have a negative impact on the business relationship-especially when formal legal processes are involved to resolve these issues.
The Facilitator is appointed and compensated by mutual agreement of all the parties involved. This provides for greater transparency and objectivity in the process with all parties having a vested interest in the final outcomes.
Our “interest-based” facilitation process encourages business partners and project teams to resolve conflicts quickly and effectively, in a collaborative way that ultimately improves the overall performance of the group. It provides significant benefits to those organizations who have integrated their suppliers and customers into their core business and technology processes.
Our EvolveTM facilitation processes is confidential and flexible with more innovative productive results than the standard “win-lose” models of other dispute resolution offerings. The key to our results is that we approach the resolution of a dispute from a business perspective rather than from a legal rights and remedies context.
Our proven methodology helps all parties clearly identify issues and the root causes of their conflict. It focuses on the underlying needs and interests, and explore creative options for negotiation and resolution. All participants must agree on any decisions or they are non binding. Parties involved in this exercise often develop a deeper understanding of the respective needs and interests of their partners leading to a closer working relationship and more successful business results. The confidential nature of facilitative discussions does not allow them to be referenced to at a later date in arbitration or litigation.
A similar process is also used by some of our clients in the initial stages of project implementation life cycle to ensure that the appropriate best practices (often PMI based) are followed in an open, informed and documented manner. This is referred to by some as an “insurance policy” against future costly delays in the project implementation life cycle due to misunderstood project deliverables.
Many of our clients have found that by leveraging our Evolve offering with their specific requirements offers unique benefits at critical junctures/decision points in the project development life cycle often identifying and resolving potential issues early. This is of particular benefit in the project inception or charter stages of an initiative when key decisions and group understandings are developed and confirmed.
Mediation & Concilliation
Practical Resolutions mediators combine training and experience in the mediation process with substantive knowledge and expertise in the technology sector gained from many years of industry experience. This first-hand knowledge enables us to work with the parties to identify the business and technology issues that are contributing to a conflict and how to address them. Our ability to relate to the challenges the parties face enables us to quickly build a rapport and trust with the parties.
Mediations is cost-effective and productive because the parties control the process and the outcome with the guidance and support of the mediator. Mediation is most effective when the disputing parties are willing to consider creative solutions. Studies show success rates of more than 80%, when parties work with an experienced mediator with subject matter expertise. Many disputes that are not completely settled at mediation will resolve at least some of the issues, or settle very soon afterward. Parties report a higher level of satisfaction with mediation than litigation regardless of outcome, because mediation is designed to ensure that all parties fully understand their own and each other’s needs and interests and participate in the creation of the business solution.
Mediation is confidential. Settlement discussions at mediation can’t be used later in arbitration or litigation, if the dispute is not settled. Mediation is low risk. All discussions are non-binding until the parties reach an agreement. The mediator does not decide who is right or wrong or dictate the final outcome.
Conciliation is a form of mediation where the neutral works with the parties separately to
resolve their dispute. Conciliation can be effective when other forms of negotiation and mediation have not been successful. When parties are at an impasse, the Conciliator may provide a neutral evaluation of the case, express expert opinions, suggest possible solutions and work with both parties to bridge gaps. Often, the conciliator will act as an independent negotiator for both sides. Parties may be encouraged to prioritize their objectives and the conciliator can assist in the “horse-trading” needed to achieve an optimal resolution. Because the conciliator knows which issues are most important to each party, the conciliator can help parties quickly resolve the easier issues and develop creative solutions for the harder ones.
While the popularity of this alternative is evident in the increasing number of complex technology contracts that have included arbitration in their dispute resolution sections, the challenge in many cases is to find an independent, experienced arbitrator with technology expertise.
Practical Resolutions arbitrators have both subject matter expertise and arbitration experience. Selecting an experienced arbitrator who understands the technology legal and business issues and is sufficiently experienced to rein in costly procedural steps can be the difference between success and failure in an arbitration, regardless of the outcome of the case.
It has been said that there is no case that cannot be fully arbitrated in less than a year. But, a degree of cooperation is essential for effective arbitration. If the parties take a “no-holds” approach to arbitration, it can be just as expensive and take just as long as going to court. When there is cooperation, arbitration decisions can be reached quickly and fairly.
For international disputes, arbitration offers a common set of procedural rules and more effective remedies. Arbitration awards are often much easier to enforce than court judgments. Arbitration also offers confidentiality and privacy, which can be extremely important in highly competitive technology fields, where public disclosure of trade secrets is a serious risk.
Conflict Management & Advisory Services
Here are some examples:
- Fact-finding and neutral evaluation– binding and non-binding determinations of specific questions with complete independence and impartiality
- Partnering– developing and implementing effective partnering programs, including project charters and partnering workshops-ideal for newly formed multi-party project focused partnerships
- Strategic partner and consortium issues – developing and implementing processes to manage and resolve multi-party disputes
- Project management and development issues – best practices for project governance; designing and implementing project oversight and conflict management procedures
- Challenging contract negotiations and re-negotiations – neutral facilitation can help resolve conflicts arising from poor communication and lack of trust
- Cross-cultural issues –bridging communication gaps between individuals and organizations (e.g. creative teams; business and research/academic communities; international business)
- Financial accountability– providing neutral evaluation of pricing and performance disputes
- Vendor pricing and performance –assisting with development of objective standards to resolve issues that are common to many technology contracts