Whether you and a friend started a business out of your literal or figurative garage, or you are a seasoned investor in high-stakes business dealings with other industry veterans, a partnership built on professional camaraderie and a shared vision can gradually or suddenly turn into a dispute, putting your interests and the future of the business in the crosshairs.
Litigating against your partners in state or federal courts may in some cases be the only reasonable option for preserving your interests and those of the business, but, in many cases, entering into mediation can provide great benefits in resolving differences and bringing disputes to an end without incurring significant damage to your bottom line or the future of your shared endeavor.
Mediation is Confidential
When a partnership dispute enters the stage of having a complaint filed in state or federal court, there will be a public record which can expose at least some information that you would rather keep private, whether that be embarrassing personal information or even internal trade secrets.
With mediation, however, you can keep your dispute 100% confidential – the very fact that you and a partner have entered into mediation can even be kept out of the public eye. The mediator will be bound by confidentiality, and whatever discussions or agreements you can reach can be kept fully within the partnership.
Mediation May Save the Business Venture
The purpose of mediation is for the mediator or mediators to facilitate a conversation between the disputing parties to reach outcomes that work for both of them. While litigation can be a zero-sum game with resulting collateral damage, not the least of which can be the ongoing existence of the business, mediation can help you and your business partners find common ground which can produce synergistic results that may build a stronger and more robust partnership than ever before.
Mediation is Less Expensive Than Litigation
Mediation is an informal process, usually involving one or two mediators in a single session or series of sessions. As opposed to litigation, mediation is not based on legal filings, in-court arguments, long and expensive periods of discovery, or other evidentiary showings. Furthermore, mediation is not dependent on slow-moving court dockets which keep the business in limbo as the dispute proceeds. As a result, mediation can be less expensive than litigation.
Your Attorney Can Advise You Throughout the Mediation
Entering mediation does not, however, mean that you give up the right to retain legal counsel and receive ongoing legal advice prior to, during, and after the mediation. The terms of the mediation session will be up to you and the other party, along with the input of the mediator(s), but in many cases partners are free to bring to their attorneys, or may mutually decide to conduct portions of the mediation without attorneys present.
You Retain the Option to Pursue Litigation
Finally, agreeing to enter mediation does not mean that you give up the right to pursue other options such as litigation if the mediation is unsuccessful. Thus, mediation can be an excellent option even if the odds of reaching agreement may feel less than stellar at the outset.
Work With an Experienced Los Angeles Partnership Dispute Attorney
At Wagenseller Law Firm in downtown Los Angeles, our attorneys have extensive experience in resolving all types of partnership disputes, including those related to fraud, contractual disputes, and alleged breaches of fiduciary duties. Contact Wagenseller Law Firm today to schedule a consultation to discuss your partnership dispute.