Many lawsuits and legal disagreements are settled through a process called mediation. Mediation helps to avoid taking a dispute to court so that the conflicting parties can reach an agreement outside of the courtroom. This process is essentially a “negotiation” that takes place between the two conflicting parties and a neutral third party, called a mediator. In many cases, parties seek the assistance of mediation lawyers to see that their disputes are settled in a timely, cost-effective, and agreeable manner. Experienced mediation lawyers can often help to reach a settlement that both parties find satisfying.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a legal process that involves a neutral, uninvolved third party. This third party, called the mediator, meets with the two parties in an effort to promote settlement, reconciliation, or compromise. Mediation is most often used in virtually any type of civil, or non-criminal legal dispute. Through mediation, disputing parties may be able to identify and deal with certain interpersonal issues of the other party which may have not been previously considered. The process promotes understanding and mutual agreement.
Benefits of Mediation
Mediation has a number of benefits for both parties involved. Most importantly, the process allows both parties the opportunity to reach a mutual agreement based on an open and personal discussion. In many cases, this allows both parties to be able to fully understand the arguments of the other party. Due to this personal nature, mediation may often help to resolve disputes that may once have been hostile or bitter. Mediation is a confidential process, as opposed to trials which become public record.
Saving Time and Cost
In comparison to having a lawsuit heard in trial, mediation can save participants a considerable amount of money. Furthermore, mediation offers the opportunity to resolve the dispute in a relatively quick and simple manner. Depending on the individual case and its details, the courtroom trial process will often take significantly longer than a case that is resolved through a typical mediation process. Mediation services can range from a resolution of a business matter for an Orlando SEO company to resolution between a Dallas Truck Accident Attorney and insurance company.
Flexibility and Participation
Mediation allows for flexible solutions and settlements based on the wishes of both parties, whereas courtroom outcomes are often limited to financial compensation in the form of damages. In the mediation process, involved parties can reach a settlement that involves restraining or requiring action from one party that the other party may not have viewed as beneficial before entering the mediation process. Due to this open flexibility, both parties have the opportunity to actively participate in the outcome. This differs from trial proceedings, where the final verdict is strict and imposed.
Types of Mediation Cases
Common types of mediation cases may include, but are not limited to:
- Child support agreements
- Child custody agreements
- Divorce settlements
- Contractual disputes
- Spousal support and alimony agreements
- Employment disputes
- Landlord and tenant disputes
Role of Mediation Lawyers
The role of lawyers in a mediation setting differs than the role of a lawyer in a traditional courtroom setting. One of the primary differences of the role of mediation lawyers is that they typically do not speak for the client, as they would in a trial. Mediation lawyers should help to guide and encourage open discussion between both parties so that they can reach a mutual and agreeable outcome. Mediation lawyers typically do not play the expected role which requires “challenging” or cross-examining the other party or other party’s attorney. In many cases, mediation lawyers often have a significantly less defensive role than litigation lawyers.
Mediation lawyers can assist clients in several ways, including, but not limited to:
- Supporting and cooperating with both parties to reach a mutual decision
- Providing information regarding the risks and benefits of certain proposals
- Managing the mediation process by requesting breaks and speaking privately with clients or mediators
- Clarifying and summarizing issues in order to enhance client understanding
- Helping clients to remain focused and goal-oriented during a stressful and often difficult time
- Encouraging clients to resolve disputes with creative solutions that benefit both parties
- Drafting required documents and helping to provide any other necessary legal elements
Doherty, Nora, and Marcelas Guyler. The Essential Guide To Workplace Mediation & Conflict Resolution: Rebuilding Working Relationships. London: Kogan Page, 2008. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 2 Apr. 2014.
“Mediation.” American Journal of Family Law Fall 2008: 164. Academic OneFile. Web. 2 Apr. 2014.
Reichert, Jennifer L. “Bar organizations urge uniformity in mediation law.” Trial Nov. 1999: 104. Academic OneFile. Web. 2 Apr. 2014.