Mediation is a confidential process in which a neutral mediator facilitates a negotiated settlement of the dispute. Mediation offers many advantages over litigation, including:
Efficiency: The vast majority of cases resolve by the end of the mediation session. Those that do not resolve the same day often resolve in the subsequent days or weeks. Once a settlement is reached, it is promptly memorialized in a binding written agreement. Litigation often takes years.
Control: The parties, rather than a judge or jury, control the outcome of the case. The mediator’s role is to facilitate the negotiation, not to decide the case. This means that the parties can avoid the risks associated with proceeding to trial. No matter how strongly a party believes in its position, it is impossible to predict the outcome of a trial.
Cost: Resolving a case at mediation is substantially more cost-effective than further litigation. Avoiding a trial saves tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, not to mention the time and emotional toll of trial.
Confidentiality: While court proceedings are public, mediation sessions are always private and confidential.
Relationship Preservation: Mediation offers a greater likelihood that the relationships will survive the dispute. While litigation is purely adversarial, mediation is more collaborative.
Flexibility: Unlike in litigation, there is complete flexibility in how to craft a mediated resolution. There can sometimes be imaginative solutions to complex problems, whereas litigation offers a limited scope of remedies.
Preparation before the mediation consists of each party’s counsel providing me with a pre-mediation statement, which lays out the issues of the case and any important matters relevant to the negotiation. I may also hold pre-mediation calls.
Most mediations begin with a joint session with all the parties and their counsel, so that I can provide an overview of the process, answer any questions, and provide participants with an opportunity to address the group, if they wish to. I then typically hold a series of private sessions with each party and their counsel. In these private sessions, I engage in risk analysis by discussing the factual and legal issues facing each party; I guide participants through the negotiation; and I provide parties an opportunity to feel heard. Once the parties have agreed upon a resolution, the parties sign a binding agreement memorializing the terms of the settlement. If the parties do not reach an agreement by the end of the session, I do not consider my job complete. I remain engaged with the case until all settlement possibilities have been explored.
While the process outlined above is typical, there are cases for which variations to the process may be warranted. A hallmark of mediation is its flexibility and capacity for creative problem-solving. Regardless of process, I bring to every case my careful preparation; neutrality; and perseverance in achieving resolution. I am also highly effective with emotionally charged disputes.