What is mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary dispute resolution process that is an alternative to litigating in court. The process is voluntary and confidential. The parties agree to make a good faith effort to reach a fair resolution of their disputes through a collaborative, rather than adversarial, process. 

Why is mediation a good alternative to litigation?

 There are many advantages to reaching resolution in mediation rather than litigation.  Mediation is a process that:

  • Allows the parties to retain control of the outcome. You decide on an acceptable resolution – not a judge or a jury. (Many experienced litigators will tell you they can predict winning or losing in court with only about 60% accuracy.)
  • Allows for better solutions.  A court can only award money or limited injunctive relief. Mediation shifts the focus away from entrenched positions and toward the economic and other remedies that are most important to you.
  • Is speedier and less costly.  Litigation costs can dwarf the money at stake in the dispute. Court dockets are so crowded that litigated cases can take years. Even a settlement without court proceedings can entail a great deal of time and cost because attorneys often work in an adversarial context. Mediation facilitates resolution by focusing on collaboration and compromise.
  • Protects your privacy and confidential information.  Mediation provides a safe, private forum. By law, information disclosed in mediation is confidential and its disclosure may not be used against you if the matter does go to court. The information you disclose and the agreement you reach do not become matters of public record for the world to see.
  • Diverts less energy and time from productive, positive activities.  Both parties have the opportunity to tell their stories from their own points of view, without penalty, and truly to be heard. Achieving resolution through mediation then allows you to focus on the future and move on.
  • Helps preserve relationships.  Often disputes involve parties who must work together in the future in business, in parenting, or as family members or neighbors. A mediated agreement can pave the way for more productive relationships going forward. Mediation also can help end relationships appropriately.
  • Can result in win-win resolutions.  Often resolutions can be found in which each party finds satisfaction, because the same things are not equally important or valuable to both parties.

A skilled mediator can shape a process that allows the parties to substitute light for heat and reach resolution in seemingly irresolvable disputes.

For what types of disputes can mediation be used?

 Mediation can be used successfully in many matters, such as:

  • Employment disputes and workplace issues
  • Contract and vendor disputes
  • Partner disputes
  • Neighbor disputes
  • Landlord/Tenant disputes or Homeowners Association disputes
  • Divorce and custody
  • Family disputes
  • Disputes over the care or finances of elderly family members
  • Financial disputes
  • Consumer action

 "Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. 
As a peacemaker the lawyer has superior opportunity
of being a good man."  -- Abraham Lincoln