By Mark Norych, Executive Vice-President/General Counsel, Board Director

For the vast majority of the people in the United States, disagreements or disputes wind up in lawsuits and Courts which everyone realizes takes a lot of time and money. Although arbitration as a way to settle disputes has existed for centuries, it is now finally coming out of the shadows and becoming a popular way for everyone to resolve their differences. Almost all professional sports collective bargaining agreements or agreements involving  unions and employers now have provisions that call for binding arbitration in the event a problem arises. So do your credit card, utility and cell phone company agreements. What’s going on and what is it about arbitration that is catching on?

Simply put, arbitration is a way of resolving differences privately, without the need to start lawsuits that drag on and on and on. With arbitration, a person is selected who is called the Arbitrator. The Arbitrator is picked either by the parties themselves, or by the company overseeing the arbitration, and functions like a personal Judge. The proceedings are usually much quicker than litigation and are often resolved in months rather than years. Because the process is so much shorter, the expenses and costs to the parties involved is also dramatically reduced. Depending upon the company that is conducting the arbitration, the costs may be only a small fraction of what they would be in traditional litigation.

The current dispute between Alex Rodriguez and Major League Baseball is expected to be resolved by the end of this year rather than several years from now. That’s why everyone is starting to appreciate and  prefer arbitration. It’s the quickest, simplest and cheapest way to resolve disputes.

Read more about A-Rod’s dispute with MLB: