Mediation and Arbitration

Mediation and arbitration are out-of-court forms of "alternative dispute resolution" (ADR).  Although often confused, they are distinct processes.  Mediation promotes settlement, while arbitration is a private, out-of-court trial on the merits. 

Mediation is a structured settlement meeting with the parties, their lawyers, and a neutral mediator.  The mediator facilitates communications between the parties in dispute and also helps each party reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of its own position.  The parties, not the mediator, decide whether to settle and the terms of the settlement.  In North Carolina, all cases in superior court and federal district court must mediate before trial.  The parties can select a mediator or the court will appoint one.

Our certified mediators: Fenton Erwin, Joe Moss, and Lex Erwin.

In arbitration, the parties present their respective cases and evidence, in a private setting, before a single arbitrator or panel of arbitrators.  The arbitrator hears the evidence and legal arguments and then issues an "award" to decide the case.  Typically, the rules of evidence are relaxed, but the arbitrator has discretion over what is allowed into evidence.  One potential benefit of arbitration is for the parties to mutually select an arbitrator who has expertise in a particular area, such as construction, securities, or another specific area of the law.

Our arbitrators: Fenton Erwin, Todd Capitano, Joe Moss, and Lex Erwin. 


The material on this website is not provided as legal advice.  The cases mentioned on this website are illustrative of the matters handled by the firm and do not include all prior cases or results.  Results in any case depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case.  Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome in any future case.