Methods of Dispute Resolution in Business Partnerships

Partnership disputes, regardless of how strong the relationship is, are very common in business ventures. Partnerships strive on the differences each party brings into the business. However, that is also the source of disagreement. Small points of contention can lead to unresolvable conflicts. Luckily, within business partnerships, there are multiple methods of dispute resolution, but the main three are mediation, arbitration, and litigation.

Most forms of business dispute resolution will happen outside of the courtroom. Though, it is still beneficial for both parties to hire legal representation to ensure a proper resolution to their disagreement. The business law and business litigation attorneys at the Law Offices of William D. Black are well versed in the many areas of dispute resolution and can help their clients resolve business disagreements in the most efficient way possible.


In a mediation, the parties meet with a third party who is neutral and objective and who helps them negotiate their disagreements. The two parties will likely agree on the mediator before beginning the process.

A neutral third party’s role in mediation is to assist parties in reaching a mutually agreeable solution on their own. A skilled mediator works with the disputing parties to uncover the interests that underlie their viewpoints rather than imposing a solution. Parties may be able to express their differences and fully explore their concerns during mediation.

Mediators can work with parties jointly as well as occasionally independently to attempt to help them come to a voluntary, non-binding agreement. The most important note about mediation is that neither party is bound by the results of the mediation, it is to simply help them come to a resolution on their own.


Arbitration is similar to mediation in that a neutral third party facilitates the proceedings, but unlike mediation, it is a binding decision.

In arbitration, the disagreement is decided by a judge who is an impartial third party. The arbitrator hears both sides’ arguments and pertinent evidence before making a final ruling.

Almost every aspect of the arbitration procedure is negotiable between the parties, including the presence of attorneys and the accepted standards of proof. Arbitrators render rulings that are often private and unappealable. Arbitration and mediation are substantially less expensive than litigation.


Civil litigation, the most well-known form of dispute resolution, often entails a defendant vs. a plaintiff in front of a judge or a judge and jury. The decision-making process ultimately rests with the judge or the jury, who must consider the facts and apply the law. The materials shared during hearings and trials typically becomes part of the public record and will be used in court at trial.

Litigation is generally led by attorneys from both sides. A business litigation attorney will be able to facilitate negotiations during the preparation and discovery phases before actually going to trial. In most cases, a settlement will be reached before either party sets foot in a courtroom.

Business Litigation Attorneys at the Law Offices of William D. Black

Business disagreements do not always need to lead to litigation or a total dissolution of the business. When you and your business partner run into a conflict, it is best to contact an attorney to go over the methods of business dispute resolution.

Contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Williams D. Black to help resolve your business dispute.