Recently, the State Bar of Michigan’s ADR Section presented an information program regarding our state’s new Business Courts. I was honored to serve on the panel, along with Macomb County Circuit Court Chief Judge John C. Foster (the designated Business Judge for Macomb County), and attorney Jerome F. Rock.
Among the topics we covered were
- Business court initiatives
- ADR strategies
- Discovery protocols
- Early phase approaches such as early case conference, early case evaluation, early fact finding, and “hot tubbing”
- “Evidence based practices” (also referred to as EPBs)
As the panel emphasized, these processes and approaches will supplement tried and true mediation as the Business Courts explore new methods to strategies to reduce the litigation time line in a cost effective manner.
Along those lines, Judge Foster clearly indicated that one of the primary roles of the Business Court is to move from the old state, in which settlements and resolutions are achieved relatively late in the litigation process, to a new paradigm where resolutions can and should be sought as early as possible and practicable during the dispute process. Here are “before” and “after” illustrations of what that paradigm shift looks like:
The techniques that are being developed in the Business Courts will permit the litigator to save client time and money. For those litigators who want to know where the Business Courts will be taking you and your client, I strongly urge you to visit the ADR Section’s web page to review the program materials.