In mediation, a neutral mediator helps disputants find solutions that work for both parties. Mediation is generally quicker and less expensive than a court trial and can help preserve the relationship between the parties. It is also more private than a trial and allows for creative resolutions.
Depending on the type of dispute, between 40% and 80% of mediations result in a complete settlement. Mediation is a great option for family disputes, workplace conflicts and community issues. It is particularly appropriate for disputes that involve ongoing relationships (neighbors, co-workers, supervisors and employees, business partners, etc).
When choosing a mediator, consider whether the mediator has subject matter expertise. Some mediators specialize in family matters, others have experience in employment issues or with construction/real estate or intellectual property. Ask the mediator if they have mediated a case similar to yours and what their approach was.
mediation services are available through the court system, private organizations and community centers. Contact the clerk at your local courthouse for a list of mediators who regularly mediate court-ordered cases. Many of these mediators have private practices and will take on privately-arranged cases as well. Also, check with your attorney for a referral to a mediation service or visit the websites of national and state mediation organizations and directories.
It is important for counsel to understand the mediation process and to be able to gauge their clients’ perception of how the process is going. They can do this by suggesting breaks, or during a break in the mediation by asking their client what they think of the situation and how it is progressing.