Mediation is a private, confidential process that allows the parties to utilize the services of a neutral mediator to resolve their dispute. Most courts require mediation prior to a final trial or hearing. It has a very high rate of success in resolving disputes.
Mediation is not a trial. A mediator is a neutral with no authority to decide the dispute or order any party to do anything. A mediator can be an industry professional, lawyer, former judge, or anyone with training or experience as a mediator. The mediator is a true neutral that works with the parties to craft a custom resolution appropriate for the dispute at hand.
This alternative dispute resolution process typically involves the parties and their attorneys meeting with the mediator. It may involve an opening joint session where the mediator explains his/her role in the process and allows the parties and their attorneys to speak briefly about the issues to be resolved and bring to everyone’s attention any particularly important issues. The parties then split up into two different rooms, and the mediator goes between the rooms, discussing issues and working with the parties to come to a resolution.
This process works because, first, it is confidential. Anything told to the mediator by a party is confidential and cannot be said outside of mediation. This means that a party can make statements and take positions at mediation and not have them held against the party later if the dispute does not resolve. The mediator cannot be subpoenaed or forced to testify about anything said or that occurs at mediation. This also means communication at mediation can be frank and honest, which allows parties to really understand all perspectives of a dispute.
More importantly, the mediation process also works because the parties control the outcome. Solutions can be custom-crafted solutions that a Court or jury cannot award. For example, the parties can agree to resolve a dispute by the performance of actions, by delivery of property, or by entering into a contract or agreement. A Court or jury may not be able to order or award such relief. This allows the parties to utilize a level of creativity and flexibility that can be found nowhere else.
Our attorneys have a wealth of experience in alternative dispute resolution options, acting as both an advocate for a party as well as a neutral mediator assisting other parties to resolve their disputes. Let us put our experience to work for you.