Resolving legal disputes by agreement is a noble goal. It is often the best way to get a good, timely and cost-effective resolution of the dispute. But getting a good resolution by an agreement can be a challenge. The parties have differing interests—sometimes dramatically different. They may also have different understandings of the facts, or of the law that governs the dispute, or different levels of motivation for dealing with the dispute. So they usually have different ideas about what the resolution should be.
But there is an even more fundamental issue that should be considered as you work to try to bridge the differences and come to an agreed resolution. That is the parties’ desires regarding fairness in the resolution. If both parties are trying to get a resolution that would be fair to both parties, that common goal would be a solid basis for the parties’ discussions about their differences. Even then, reaching an agreement is often difficult because parties tend to have different ideas about what would be fair in any particular dispute.
But if one or both of the parties is not after a resolution that would be fair to both but is trying to get a resolution that is to their advantage in a way that would be unfair to the other party, reaching an agreed resolution becomes more difficult. And if the parties do not share the common goal of fairness in a resolution of their dispute, they should probably take a different approach to trying to achieve an agreed resolution than if they both sought a fair resolution.
I plan to write an article on this subject. I have my own experience to use as a basis for what I would say about it. But I would like to have your input on this as well. So I’ve created a one-question survey that will take you just a moment to complete. It asks whether you would try to get a resolution that is fair to both parties, that is unfair and to your advantage, or that is unfair and to the advantage of the other party. And it has an “other” option in case your answer doesn’t fit one of these. I’ve also defined on the survey what I mean by “fair” for purposes of this question.
I want honest answers, so I am soliciting your input on this through a confidential survey tool. I won’t be able to see who gave what answer, so don’t give the answer you think I would want you to give, or expect you to give, or that you “should” give. I want you to answer it as you really think or feel.
If you do that, the results could be a valuable resource for deciding how to deal with others in trying to resolve disputes.
Please take a moment to answer that question by clicking on this link and choosing your answer: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TX3DBWB. I’ll leave the survey open through July 28, 2014. Then I’ll write an article to share the results of the survey and discuss how the results can inform your approach to resolving disputes.
This survey isn’t limited to just those on my distribution list, so if you are intrigued by this and would like to forward the link to others for their responses, go right ahead.
And thank you for your input on this!
[Creative Commons license on the photo]