is med-arb cheaper?
yes. but probably not as much cheaper as you think.
many new to the concept of med-arb think that a mediation can end without settlement + the mediator can immediately provide a decision.
in fact, the role of mediator + the role of arbitrator are very different. the focus of the mediator is not on who is right or who is wrong. the mediator focuses on settlement possibilities.
the arbitrator's role is to decide who is right + who is wrong. to do this, they need to consider evidence + submissions of parties that can vary quite a bit from the exploration of interests in mediation.
michael erdle + others involved in the field distinguish "information" from "evidence" in this regard.
with med-arb, after the mediation phase concludes, arrangements will need to be made for the provision of submissions by the parties for the arbitrator to deliberate upon to render their decision. in some instances - such as when remaining issues are minor or very straightforward - submissions could be minimal, it depends on the nature of the case.
regardless, med-arb offers cost efficiencies by considering the arbitator early + leveraging the general familiarity with the parties + the conflict gained through mediation. med-arb does not replace the need for evidence to be submitted in arbitration.