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What is Mediation?


Mediation is a voluntary process in which all parties to a dispute work with an impartial mediator who assists them in finding ways to resolve their conflict. Different than litigation or arbitration, mediation is not a win/lose determination. A skilled mediator facilitates a solution to the problem which best fits the needs of both parties; the mediator does not decide who is right and who is wrong. Because mediation is similar to negotiation (except that there is a neutral party guiding the process), it is often referred to as facilitated negotiations. The terms mediation and facilitated negotiations are used interchangeably in this article.

Why Mediate?

The primary benefit of mediation is risk and cost control. Because the parties arrive at the solution (rather than a judge or an arbitration panel making a ruling) the disputants maintain control of the entire process. This method of settlement is followed by negotiation and then, historically, arbitration and/or litigation. [The opportunity to mediate has often been overlooked].

With mediation, a third-party neutral is brought in to keep the parties working together rather than turning the problem over to the legal departments. The mediator, acting in a neutral capacity, facilitates continued negotiations by pointing out the benefits of a cooperative settlement vs. a ruling by less informed arbitrators or the courts. The cost of the mediation is usually shared and is nominal by comparison to the classic forms of dispute resolution -- arbitration or litigation. Cost and risk for each party increase exponentially when the dispute crosses the line from a situation where the parties resolve the dispute themselves to a situation where someone else resolves the dispute.

Different from arbitration or litigation, in mediation neither party has to lose. Mediation is the method of handling disputes which provides the greatest opportunity for win/win solutions. And, because the parties arrive at the solution, there is a very high probability that the solution will be carried out as agreed.

Mediation is an excellent forum for the resolution of construction disputes, contract disagreements, and equity claims. Simply put, any situation that would otherwise be arbitrated can be mediated. In fact, in most contract disputes the parties could benefit from mediation. Even if the issues are so complex and emotional that arbitration or litigation is inevitable, the issues can be narrowed by first submitting the dispute to mediation. 


The effective mediator has a challenging role. He/she is faced with a situation where the parties may be emotionally charged as the result of protracted, unsuccessful negotiations. One of the first objectives of the mediator has to be to 'de-energize' the situation and get the parties focusing on the real problem and real solutions; not who is at fault.


Unique to every situation. Have a conversation with Jeannette or team member and they  will be able to provide you with the time frame and estimate of cost.




Couple in Mediation
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