What kind of message does it send when a company wants to use NLA to resolve disputes?
From a customer or client’s standpoint, it ought to be perceived as a positive message:
This is a company that stands behind its promises. They won’t hide behind lawyers.
This is a company that cares about spending money wisely. They won’t waste money on lawyers.
This is a company that cares about resolving problems quickly. They won’t waste time in court.
This is a company of professionals. They will remain professional if we have to work together to resolve a dispute.
How can companies show they stand behind their word and care to end problems quickly and cost-effectively and that they won’t hide behind lawyers?
The company and their clients or customers can all agree in advance of a problem how they will address a problem if one arises. Companies usually have customers or clients sign agreements, bids, quotes, or the like, which make up the contract between them.
Those contracts usually address a number of items like cost and performance expectations. They can also contain a dispute resolution provision. An example reads as follows:
Dispute Resolution. The Parties to this Agreement value resolving any disputes that might arise between them outside of the courtroom, and knowingly and voluntarily agree that any dispute arising out of this Agreement shall first be mediated with a No Lawyers Allowed Mediation & Dispute Resolution Services mediator (“No Lawyers Allowed”), in which such mediation the Parties hereto agree to participate in good faith. If a resolution is not reached at the No Lawyers Allowed mediation after a good faith effort of the Parties, then the dispute shall be submitted to No Lawyers Allowed arbitration for a binding decision to be issued by a single arbitrator under No Lawyers Allowed arbitration rules, to which the Parties knowingly and willingly agree. Mediation and/or arbitration shall take place in (enter agreed city, county, and state here), and this agreement shall be interpreted in accordance with (enter agreed state here) law.
If I am a customer or client, can I ask a company to include a dispute resolution provision in a contract?
Yes, you can. The company could say no, but what would that say about the company you’re getting ready to do business with?