Alternative dispute resolution is one of the newest ways of solving legal disputes between parties in a timely manner. Most lawsuits are not only expensive, but they also take years to reach some type of resolution. Parties to private civil disputes are more frequently opting to resolve their disputes privately so as to avoid the rigors and time of litigation. Basically, depending on the form of dispute resolution that the parties choose, alternative dispute resolution is like having a private trial. The parties typically agree to split the costs of an arbitration or mediation so that they can hopefully resolve their disagreement in less time than with formal litigation. However, in some cases alternative dispute resolution can be more expensive because the parties have to pay for the arbitrator’s time as well as for their attorney. Still, if the parties need the dispute resolved quickly, they may opt for paying more in order to resolve the dispute in a shorter period of time. Normally, when parties are unable to reach a settlement of the dispute without litigation, one of the parties files a lawsuit. That party has now incurred the cost of filing a Complaint, which in Pima County Superior Court is $185. Then, the party filing the lawsuit must serve the opposing party with notice of the lawsuit, which adds additional costs to the amount already spent to file the lawsuit. If there is more than one defendant or there is a problem serving a defendant, the costs increase. This is in addition to the fees that a party must pay his, her or its attorney for their time in pursuing litigation. These fees can be prohibitive and run into the tens of thousands of dollars depending on the nature of the lawsuit and the contentiousness of the parties involved. There are essentially two types of alternative dispute resolution for parties to choose from: arbitration and mediation. All forms of ADR are voluntary unless they are court mandated. This means that the parties must voluntarily agree to some form of ADR either in a contract or after the dispute has arisen. If there is no contractual agreement for ADR prior to the dispute arising and the parties cannot agree on ADR, the parties will have no alternative, but to file a lawsuit. In addition, the outcome of ADR is only binding if the parties agree to have the outcome bind them. In both arbitration and mediation, each party writes a position statement regarding that party’s position of the case and it is sent to the arbitrator or mediator prior to the ADR proceeding. ADR proceedings are usually held either at the mediator/arbitrator’s office or an attorney’s office and are typically very informal. Arbitrations and mediations are not public proceedings and therefore confidential. The differences between arbitration and mediation are listed below.