The parties may choose to mediate their dispute before a lawsuit is filed. The mediation process is typically much faster than a traditional court proceeding and less expensive as well. Mediation is also confidential and provides a forum to discuss sensitive matters without the potential public exposure.
The mediator meets with the disputing parties and their attorneys in a joint session. This is a time to identify issues, discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s position and develop potential avenues for resolution. This session is followed by separate “caucuses” with the mediator and each party or their attorney. This allows each party to explain and enlarge upon their position in private and ask questions that could be used by the other side at trial.
In a successful mediation, both sides will design a resolution that is mutually satisfactory. This is usually more than just an agreement to settle a legal case; it is a resolution that addresses the underlying conflict, diffuses hostility and provides a new basis for future relations. The benefits of a good resolution are numerous:
Keeping the lines of communication open and communicating with a person with whom you disagree can be difficult and emotional. This can make it even harder to resolve a disagreement without the help of a third party. A skilled mediator in a private setting can facilitate a negotiated solution that not only resolves the legal dispute, but allows for a healthy ongoing relationship.