Mediation – What & Why

What is Mediation

Mediation is a small investment of money and time in resolving and settling a case. Most attorneys have used mediation for resolving cases, and are quite familiar with the process. However, many times the parties may not be as familiar with the mediation process. This is a brief overview of what is mediation and the benefits of mediation.

Mediation is a process in which the parties meet in private, confidential setting to resolve their dispute through negotiations mediated by a neutral mediator. It is a voluntary process where parties are not only in control of making the decisions about a settlement of the dispute, but also where the parties have the unique opportunity to fashion creative solutions to the dispute. All sorts of cases are suitable for mediation, including disputes in commercial transactions, labor or employment, personal injury, construction, divorce, domestic relations, and many other matters.

The mediator helps each side to better understand their situation and that of the other side and helps parties focus on finding a resolution to the dispute.

Why Choose Mediation

Mediation is Much Cheaper than Litigation:

Mediation is a small investment for settling a case and bringing closure to a dispute.  Depending on the complexity of a case and the parties involved, lawsuits and litigation can get very expensive, costing thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars, and a long time to resolve. And even if you “win” the case, that win comes at large costs, not only monitory but also as stress and lost opportunities.

A small investment of time and money in mediation as compared to litigation, to resolve the dispute is in and of itself a good enough reason to choose mediation. But there are other good reasons why parties to a dispute should choose mediation over litigation or arbitration, such as confidentiality of the process and communications, shorter time required for resolution, and perhaps more importantly, the parties have control over the creative solutions to the dispute and control over in resolution of the dispute.

Mediation Takes Much Less Time:

Mediation is not only hugely cheaper than litigation but it also results in saving of large amounts of time.  Most cases are resolved in one-day long mediation sessions. Mediation can be scheduled at any time; even before a lawsuit is filed or at any time during a lawsuit or during the appeals process. Unlikely courts, mediation can be scheduled on the weekends.

Mediation is Confidential:

Mediation is confidential and there are no outsiders or spectators present.  The communications at the mediation are confidential and this allows the parties to fully explore the issues in the dispute.  The Settlement Agreement is usually the only record of the mediation proceedings.

The Agreement to Mediate which is signed by the parties before the beginning of the mediation includes a clause on confidentiality of the mediation process.

Parties have the Power to Decide:

The parties have the power to make decisions in settling the case. In many cases, the parties strengthen their working relationship for greater workplace efficiency.

Parties can Fashion Creative Solutions:

The ability to fashion creative solutions to resolving the dispute is an attractive part of the process.  In mediation, parties can come up with solutions that may not be allowed or available in courts.

Mediation Process and Preparing for Mediation

You can read more about the mediation process here.  And you can download a brief Guide to Preparing for Mediation here.