When someone begins a lawsuit, they often picture themselves hashing things out in the courtroom, but in today’s world, many, if not most, lawsuits are settled at mediation. This means that a party to a suit may never end up in front of a Judge other than to sign an Order based on the agreement made at mediation. Because of this fact, it's important to understand the process and benefits of mediation.
Many clients are initially hesitant to attend mediation because they anticipate being trapped in a room with the opposing party and their attorney for hours on end arguing over the issues at hand. However, mediations are frequently handled using a caucusing method that puts the parties in two separate rooms. This alleviates some of the client’s stress and allows the party and their representation to openly discuss the pros and cons of the offers. When separated the mediator will act as a go-between, delivering offers to the parties and asking questions to get to the crux of the matter that facilitates party-led solutions. In today’s digital era there is also the advantage of Zoom and other video conferencing systems that allow the parties to mediate from the comfort of their own home. Parties and their representation are put into breakout rooms much like they’d be placed in different rooms in person.
Aside from the style of mediation, people are often surprised to find that mediators don’t simply push a resolution on to the parties but guide the parties toward coming to their own resolution. This is because a good mediator knows that the most workable and long-term solution is one that the parties come up with rather than one they have no ownership of. Additionally, it's important to note that a mediator, though they frequently may also be licensed as an attorney, is not allowed to give legal advice to the parties. Therefore, if you are not represented by an attorney in mediation, don’t depend on the mediator to provide you with any legal advice or ensure that you are getting a fair deal.
Finally, one of the major benefits of mediation is the cost. Although it can be expensive, mediation is often a cost-saving measure in a case. It brings both parties to the table with the intention of getting things settled and avoiding further discovery and trial costs and taking a risk that the Judge may not find in your favor down the line.
Mediations today are a crucial part of your case and should not be overlooked as a means of resolving your case. At G.J. Chavez & Associates our attorneys are all certified mediators and family mediators that are ready to assist you whether you are looking for an attorney to attend mediation with you, or need a mediator to handle your disputes.