Settlement Counsel: An efficient way to resolve business and employment disputes

Dispute Resolution Counsel, LLC is one of few law firms that provides the service of Settlement Counsel in representing our clients that are businesses and mission-based organizations – i.e. religious institutions, private schools, colleges, hospitals, non-profit organizations, foundations, etc. – in business, contract, employment and other disputes.

What is Settlement Counsel?

 Settlement Counsel is a lawyer who is hired for the specific purpose and narrow scope of representing our clients in negotiating the resolution of a dispute.  Settlement Counsel is trained and experienced in negotiation and in different dispute resolution processes, and works with his client and the other party in a dispute to reach the best possible resolution of the matter.  Settlement Counsel’s role is completely different and separate from the role of a litigator, as he does not involvement himself with the litigation of the matter. Settlement Counsel focuses all his energies on resolving the case intentionally and by design through negotiation.  He is a legal problem solver.

Settlement Counsel may utilize the approaches of Collaborative Law, Mediation, direct negotiation, and/or or the services of a neutral Case Evaluator to assist in the process of reaching a resolution that satisfies the interests and needs of his client.

When should you consider using Settlement Counsel? What are its benefits?

Reaching a resolution of a dispute using Settlement Counsel usually results in a much faster, less expensive, less draining and more efficient resolution of a dispute. The goal of Settlement Counsel is to reach a settlement within three to four months, before any litigation has been commenced or before any lawsuit has been filed.  The alternative of litigation is almost always a much slower, expensive and cumbersome process that typically takes years before it either gets to a trial or ends in a settlement.   

Other benefits of Settlement Counsel include the preservation of key business and/or personal relationships, the prevention of draining resources, emotions and energies, and the maintaining of confidentiality as to the dispute itself as well as the efforts to resolve it.   Using Settlement Counsel also avoids the incurring of sunken costs, opportunity costs and the polarizing of a workplace or an organization because of a protracted and public process like litigation. Finally, because the use of Settlement Counsel usually comes early in the life of the dispute by design, and with the goal of resolving a matter, it is more likely that the resolution reached will be more complete and have more lasting benefits than a settlement that comes at the end of litigation by default, as a by-product, not a goal.    

When time, money, efficiency, preserving relationships, confidentiality, and the avoidance of draining energies, emotions and resources are important, using Settlement Counsel is an excellent approach for resolving disputes efficiently, creatively and thoroughly.

To read more about Settlement Counsel, here are two excellent articles by James McGuire and by William Coyne.