Med-Arb (Mediation to Arbitration) and Arb-Med (Arbitration to Mediation)

Benefit from the flexibility to craft your own resolution through mediation coupled with the finality of an imposed decision through arbitration.

What is Med-Arb?

Med-arb is a hybrid process that begins with mediation, allowing the parties the opportunity to control the outcome by finding a compromise settlement to end the conflict.  If, after a designated amount of time, the parties fail to reach a meeting of the minds, the mediator may be authorized to act as an arbitrator.  The parties may present brief arguments to the arbitrator and any additional evidence if appropriate and desired or the arbitrator may be authorized to issue a decision without additional argument or evidence. 

Med-arb can streamline the process and decrease the total cost of resolving a dispute in several ways.  First, it is more cost-effective to enable the mediator to shift from mediator to arbitrator as opposed to starting from square one with a new arbitrator if mediation is not successful.  Second, in multi-issue cases, parties are often able to resolve at least some of the issues in the mediation phase, narrowing the arbitration scope and further decreasing the time and expense required.  Third, other arbitration modifications can be employed to expedite the process, such as proceeding to a “final offer” or “baseball” arbitration that restricts the arbitrator’s award to either the last offer or last demand reached during the mediation phase.  Fourth, and perhaps most significantly, the parties in a med-arb are often even more motivated to mediate with the utmost good faith and sincerity knowing that if they are unable to reach a compromise settlement, they will no longer have the opportunity to exert any control over the outcome.  Instead, they will be immediately bound by the arbitrator’s decision.    

Med-arb is most beneficial when the parties wish to explore the possibility of finding their own solution to their problems but also don’t want the conflict to drag out beyond the mediation/arbitration date if they are not successful.  This dispute resolution tool can result in significant time and cost savings while guaranteeing the parties with an imminent end to the conflict.

What is Arb-Med?

Arb-med is also a hybrid process but instead of participating in mediation first and moving to arbitration if mediation is not successful, the parties begin by presenting arguments and evidence at an arbitration hearing.  After the hearing has been concluded, there is a short recess during which the arbitrator records the outcome of the decision.  The outcome is placed in a sealed envelope and the arbitrator shifts gears to become a mediator.  The parties then work to reach a compromise settlement of the claim with the benefit of having already gone through the arbitration process and with the risk of the arbitration decision becoming final if they are not able to reach an agreement.

While arb-med may take more time than med-arb because the arbitration portion would not be required at all if the parties are successful in the mediation phase of a med-arb and a decision upon all issues in a multi-issue case would be made initially in an arb-med, holding the arbitration first may be the preferred order in some cases.  Because the mediator may become privy to confidential information that would not be presented as evidence during an arbitration hearing and which the other party would not have the opportunity to challenge, there may be concern about the med-arbitrator’s ability to arrive at an untainted arbitration decision.  While the mediator is required to disregard certain information that might have been revealed during mediation caucuses when changing hats to the arbitrator role in a med-arb, utilizing the arb-med process instead completely removes any concern that the arbitrator might consider information that was shared confidentially during the mediation process in making the arbitration decision. 

Both med-arb and arb-med provide the parties with flexibility and finality in a single dispute resolution session and both processes can be finely tuned to the needs of the parties and conducted either in-person or online

How does the process work?

If all parties agree to mediate/arbitrate, a date can be requested through the calendar link , by calling (406) 304-4785, or by emailing  Please include the names of each party, names of attorneys involved, brief description of the type of case, whether it has been filed in court (including cause number if it has) and in what jurisdiction.  You will then receive a confirmation if the neutral has no conflict and the date requested is acceptable to all parties and the neutral.

Prior to the dispute resolution date, the neutral will clarify the process, confirm the parameters, and address expectations with the parties and/or their attorneys.  Typically, the parties each submit information to the neutral at least one week prior to the scheduled dispute resolution day in the form of a brief written statement outlining the facts, legal issues, current state of negotiations, and anything else the parties may want to include.  On the scheduled day, all parties and their attorneys meet either physically or virtually with the neutral to get the case settled.

In-person or online?

Pax Dispute Resolution Services offers both traditional in-person dispute resolution scheduling as well as online conferences and hearings. Pax’s philosophy is to provide the best service for the particular parties and attorneys involved.  In that vein, we can accommodate any combination of the use of technology or traditional means of transmitting information with either in-person or online conferences and hearings.  Our job is to guide you on your path to peace, delivering the results you need in the way you want.