Mediation, Arbitration & Private Judging

About Our Firm

Meet Our Attorneys

Alabama Mediator & Arbitrator

Malone & Nelson offers expertise and efficiency in resolving disputes through alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation, arbitration and private judging. These methods offer a cost-effective alternative to traditional litigation and also allow for creative solutions. 

Since retiring from the bench, Chuck has focused his practice on providing mediation, arbitration and private judging services throughout the state of Alabama. He boasts extensive experience on the bench as both the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and as Circuit Judge, giving him the necessary knowledge, experience, and skills required to successfully mediate or arbitrate any dispute. He is highly-skilled as both a mediator and arbitrator, particularly in the areas of:

  • Appellate matters

  • Civil rights

  • Complex litigation

  • Criminal matters

  • Domestic relations

  • Employment and worker’s compensation

  • General commercial and contract disputes

  • Personal injury and wrongful death

  • Shareholder disputes


Criminal Mediation

Though not all criminal matters are suitable for mediation, minor misdemeanors such as assault, trespassing, destruction of property, harassment, and others can be successfully resolved through mediation. Criminal mediation offers the parties an opportunity to discuss the issues in a forum where a unique resolution can be achieved to the benefit of all involved. The prospect of a trial can cause anxiety for the offender and also the victim. Mediation provides an alternative to the uncertainty of the trial process. Chuck Malone has extensive experience on both sides of the bench in criminal matters and now offers criminal mediation services. 

Private Judging

In 2012, the Alabama Legislature enacted the Alabama Private Judge Act, authorizing the appointment of former or retired judges to serve as private judges in a wide variety of district and circuit court cases. Having served on the bench for 13 years, Chuck Malone can offer private judging as a form of alternative dispute resolution. Parties can file a written petition with the Circuit Clerk of the Court in which the action is pending requesting a private judge in cases that are founded on domestic relations, contract, tort, or a combination of contract and tort issues.

Find out more about the private judging option.


Malone Mediations - Logo2.png


to schedule your mediation, arbitration, or private judging session today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How does mediation work in domestic cases?

Mediation can be very effective in domestic cases. Many times, the parties are going to be dealing with each other even after the present dispute is resolved. Having the ability and experience of working through the current dispute can help resolve those future ones even before they happen. Managing client expectations is critical to a successful domestic mediation.

How does mediation work in civil cases?

Many people assume that civil cases lack the emotion of a domestic case because they are likely only about money, but that is not true. People can be very emotionally invested in their civil case. A good mediator can help manage those emotions, so that the case can be resolved.

How does mediation work in appellate cases?

Appellate mediation can be particularly challenging in that one party has likely already experienced a victory. However, that victory may be short-lived once appealed. Parties must have a good grasp of what is likely to happen on appeal.

Can we continue a mediation to a later date if the case isn’t resolved in the first session?

Yes. Often the attorneys will continue to negotiate the case after the initial mediation session. The matters addressed at the mediation give the attorneys a framework and the ability to continue negotiating. The mediator may or may not be involved. Or, it may become apparent in the initial mediation session that something else must occur or be exchanged or discovered or explored before the parties can continue to negotiate. In which case, the mediation can resume once that happens.

How much time should I allot for a mediation?

The length of a mediation depends on many factors, such as the type and complexity of the case and the parties' experience and honest evaluation of it. But, mediation is a process. The process has to be respected and appreciated. A minimum of a half day should be allotted, but it could take a full day or more. A good mediator will be able to address the mediation as efficiently as possible.

How should I select a mediator?

Look for someone whose experience and expertise will give you the best chance of resolving your dispute. But, you should also check your potential mediator's references and reputation.

Where should a mediation take place?

Generally, a mediation session should take place at a neutral venue, so neither side feels the other has some advantage. But, sometimes having the mediation in a location where a party feels secure can actually help the process.

Can mediation be forced in a case?

Judges can order a case to mediation. But, whether a case settles at the mediation is always up to the parties. While a judge can force you to the mediation, no one should ever force a settlement.

How should I prepare my client for a mediation?

Make sure your client understands that mediation is a process. Discuss with your client the settlement value of the case. Obviously, the settlement value is different from what you may get at trial. It should be a range, not a hard and fast number. Also, try to determine your client’s goals. They may have nothing to do with the case or its value. Help your client look at the case from the other side’s perspective. Think about their goals and objectives.

How should I prepare as an attorney for a mediation?

Prepare a position statement that outlines the strengths and weaknesses of the case and gather all pertinent documentation, both good and bad. Also, give your case an honest settlement evaluation. What is your case worth if all goes well? What is it worth if nothing goes right? What are the chances of each?

What types of materials and information should I send to the mediator prior to the mediation?

Don’t send the mediator everything in your file. Pertinent pleadings, briefs, court rulings, evidence, and summaries that illustrate to the most important points are what the mediator needs.

Can a mediation agreement be changed?

Generally, an agreement reached at mediation can only be changed by agreement of the parties.

What types of cases can mediation be successful in?

Virtually every civil case (including domestic and family matters) and even some criminal cases can benefit from mediation, which is simply a negotiation assisted by a third-party professional neutral.

Why is mediation better than litigation?

There are many advantages to mediation over litigation. If a settlement is reached at mediation, then both sides will have a say in the resolution of their dispute rather than putting that decision in the hands of a third party (a judge) or third parties (jurors). Mediation can also be more efficient, quicker, cost less, and offer resolutions that a court cannot.

Are mediation proceedings confidential?

Mediation should always be confidential. For court cases, it is generally required. And, everyone involved should appreciate and respect the value of the confidentiality.

What is the difference in mediation and arbitration?

Arbitration involves a decision on the merits of the case by a third-party or panel of third parties outside of a court process. Mediation is simply a negotiation between the parties ,which is assisted by a third-party neutral.

How should I prepare my client for arbitration?

Preparing a client for an arbitration is virtually the same as preparing them for trial.

How should I prepare as an attorney for an arbitration?

An attorney should prepare for an arbitration virtually the same as preparing for trial, but should take into account the knowledge and experience of the arbitrators.

Can an arbitration award be appealed or challenged?

An arbitration ruling can generally only be appealed on very limited grounds.

Who attends arbitration?

In most cases, those attending an arbitration hearing include the parties, their attorneys and witnesses.

Where should an arbitration take place?

The location of an arbitration will depend on a number of factors such as the location of the witnesses, the location of the arbitrator(s), whether the arbitrator will need to visit a site, the number of parties and attorneys involved, and the facilities available and necessary for the presentation of the evidence.

When can arbitration be invoked?

The terms of the arbitration agreement between the parties will generally govern when arbitration should be invoked. There must be an agreement between the parties to arbitrate before arbitration can be invoked.

Why is arbitration better than litigation?

Arbitration is not necessarily better than litigation. Some advantages to arbitration over litigation can include the knowledge and experience of the arbitrators, the cost, the efficiency, and the speed with which a decision can be made.

Malone & Nelson - Logo (White on Blue).p