Mediation is, at its core, a process designed to make a lawsuit more expedient, cheaper, and less burdensome for the parties involved. Taking the time to find a qualified and professional mediator can make the difference between many hours, large reductions in stress, and countless dollars saved. To understand what makes a good mediator though, it is important to understand exactly what services mediators provide at different steps of the case.
Prior to the actual mediation process, mediators will often start their jobs by calling each party to understand how to craft mediation rules specifically for their case, explain how the logistics of the mediation will play out, and determine whether there are things that the mediator should know that aren’t included in the written statements. These aspects will all vary on a case by case basis, though a good mediator will be able to adapt quickly and easily for both parties to ensure an objective view of the case and make the negotiations process as efficient as possible. While the bulk of progress occurs during the actual mediation, taking the time to get all parties on the same page and enter mediation without any surprises can save valuable time and money for everyone involved.
The actual mediation process looks different for every case, given that some mediations include both parties while others are separate, though a few aspects of mediation are likely to remain in place either way. First, mediators take the time to hear and understand both party’s opening statements. During this process, mediators are looking not only to understand the elements of dispute but what might motivate each party to make concessions on various parts of the case. After hearing both statements, mediators will usually hold a private discussion with each party while the other party is out of the room. During these discussions, the mediator will make observations over the facts of the case, explain the strengths and weaknesses of each side, and ensure that each party feels heard as to their side of the story. Similarly, mediators will constantly pursue creative and adaptable plans for settlement and communicate between the two parties, guiding them to resolution while preserving ongoing relationships. If an agreement can be met, the mediator will draft a statement including the terms of agreement, allowing each party to move considerably closer to the end of the suit and reach a desired outcome.
If a case can be settled during mediation, the mediator ensures that the agreement is signed and sent to the court so that the case can be concluded quickly. If a case is unable to be settled during the mediation session, the mediator will follow up to keep all parties engaged in the process and focused on resolution. During communication after the mediation session, the mediator will recommend whether further mediation would prove fruitful for both parties and exhaust all reasonable options for resolution.
If your case might benefit from mediation, reach out to a professional and experienced mediator to understand what options are available to you and whether mediation would be right for your case.