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Is your business tangled up in a dispute? Consider hiring a judge

Is your business in a legal dispute with someone? Depending on the nature of the dispute -- and your desire to resolve the issue quietly and quickly -- you may want to consider hiring a private judge.

Hiring a private judge to settle a civil suit between two businesses or your business and a private individual doesn't mean that you can influence the verdict in any way. However, there are some other definite benefits.

Private judges have become increasingly popular as civil lawsuits have become more common, courts have become more congested and the entire process more expensive. They're also a response to the way that the public -- and digital media -- has grown increasingly news-hungry.

Many people are familiar with the idea of a private judge -- although they don't realize it. Shows like "Judge Judy" make use of the rules that private judges use. The judges are attorneys who agree to hear a case for a fee and the litigants agree to have their case settled out of court.

Unlike "Judge Judy," however, regular litigants who decide to use private judges don't expose their entire situation -- and all the potentially embarrassing details -- to the world. In fact, the biggest allure of using a private judge is that doing so allows you to keep the details of your litigation and settlement undisclosed. This could be particularly important if, for example, you don't want other people to know something about the internal workings of your company or you are trying to protect sensitive information.

The other great benefit of a private judge is that you can move a case forward to settlement quickly. You won't be stuck waiting around on endless court dates and hoping that you'll find a place on the court docket sooner rather than later.

Private judges aren't for everyone, but if you're involved in a sensitive business dispute that's headed toward litigation, it is something to consider.

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