What is mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in which the parties engage a mediator to facilitate negotiations in order to resolve a dispute. Both parties have input in the outcome, and what is discussed during the mediation remains confidential and cannot be admissible as evidence in a trial.
The mediator remains neutral. Mediation can occur in the presence of parties and their attorneys or in pro se / double pro se cases (one or both parties have not hired legal counsel).
What are the benefits of mediation?
Party Control of the Outcome
The parties come to a mutual agreement rather than a judge, jury, or arbitrator. (The mediator acts as a facilitator only).
Opportunity to Save Time, Money, and Stress
Mediation can save clients time and money as opposed to lengthy trials in court. Most cases are settled on mediation day.
During mediation, each side has an opportunity to have confidential, ex parte dialogue with the mediator, knowing that the mediator must remain neutral and cannot disclose any information shared unless the other party gives express consent to do so. Information discussed in mediation is not admissible as evidence in court, and the mediator cannot be compelled to testify at trial. The parties may speak freely with the mediator, which is helpful with facilitating negotiations.
At what stage of a case may I/we/our lawyers engage a mediator?
Mediation is available option at all stages of your case - pre-lawsuit, the "middle" or discovery phase, or as a final effort to settle prior to a trial.