Mediation is invaluable in educating you about the reality of how your dispute will play out in court if it does not settle.

 

What Happens at a Mediation?

First of all, the parties will be able to explain the facts and challenges of the particular dispute to the mediator.  This will be done through written mediation statements and verbally at the mediation session. 

At the mediation, the mediator will discuss the applicable laws based upon the facts of the dispute, and how a judge or jury would most likely rule on the matter.  Usually a mediator has had several years of experience practicing law in the same areas in which they mediate. 

The mediator’s experience is invaluable in educating the parties about the reality of how their dispute would play out in court if they did not agree to settle the matter.   

Once the parties have been fully informed about what would most likely happen if the dispute went to court, the mediator will begin exploring possible solutions to resolving the dispute with the parties.  Solutions may include traditional settlement terms such as monetary payments, etc.; however, creative ideas are also encouraged.  

Unfortunately, the court system is somewhat limited in how disputes are resolved based upon the prevailing law which applies to the facts at hand.  Mediation frees up those court-based restrictions and allows for non-monetary solutions as well.  Most of the time, mediated disputes involve both monetary and non-monetary settlement terms.

In most business, employment and real estate disputes, the mediator will separate the parties during the mediation - a process referred to as “caucusing” - in an effort to allow each party an opportunity to speak freely and confidentially with the mediator about their specific concerns and questions. 

The mediator will move from room to room discussing the various aspects of the dispute with all parties.  Slowly, the mediator will begin to understand the contentions and nuances of each party's position. 

The mediator will then use his or her training to move the parties into a settlement frame of mind.   In doing so, the mediator will attempt to encourage each side to evaluate their options and litigation risks if the matter does not settle.