Mediation means different things to different people. With mediation the resolution of the dispute is entirely within the party’s control. A party can decide to settle their dispute or end the mediation and find a different way to achieve their goals. In reality, you don’t need a lawsuit to engage in mediation. Mediation can be the first step, not the last step, in resolving conflict. Mediation in this day and age includes:

• Resolving all forms of litigated matters
• Resolving family disputes on many varied issues
– Inheritance disputes
– End of life issues
– Issues concerning the residence and care of an elderly family member
– Business/Farm succession planning for a family business
• Workplace disputes of all types
• Neighborhood disputes
• Landlord/Tenant disputes
• Home Owners Association disputes
• Builder/Contractor disputes
• Managing custody disputes
• Partnership disputes in business
– Compensation issues
– Dissolution of a company
– Bringing new partners into the business

Whatever your conflict, mediation can potentially provide a quick and cost effective means of reaching a resolution.

If litigation is currently pending, mediation allows parties to control the resolution of their case that might not be in a judge’s ability to order. Mediation can be used to resolve the entire case, or used in a piecemeal fashion, typically in complex multi-party matters, to deal with discrete issues as they come up.

Our mediators are trained to use the most appropriate style of mediation to fit the particular situation. The three main types of approaches to mediation include:

Facilitative Mediation

In facilitative mediation, the mediator structures a process to assist the parties in reaching a mutually agreeable resolution. The mediator searches for interests underneath the positions taken by parties and assists the parties in finding and analyzing options for resolution. The facilitative mediator does not make recommendations to the parties, give his or her own advice or opinion as to the outcome of the case, or predict what a court would do in the case. The mediator is in charge of the process, while the parties are in charge of the outcome.

Evaluative Mediation

Evaluative mediation is similar to settlement conferences held by judges. An evaluative mediator assists the parties in reaching resolution by pointing out the weaknesses of their cases, and predicting what a judge or jury would be likely to do. An evaluative mediator might make formal or informal recommendations to the parties as to the outcome of the issues. Evaluative mediators help the parties and attorneys evaluate their legal position and the costs vs. the benefits of pursuing a legal resolution rather than settling in mediation.

Transformative Mediation

Transformative mediation seeks to empower each of the parties as much as possible, and recognize each of the parties’ needs, interests, values and points of view. The potential for transformative mediation is that any or all parties or their relationships may be transformed during the mediation. Transformative mediation typically involves meeting with parties together and work cooperatively with each other to reach resolution. In transformative mediation, the parties structure both the process and the outcome of mediation, and the mediator follows their lead.

By utilizing the facilitative, transformative, evaluative approach to mediation, or some combination of these approaches the parties can rest assured that we strive to use the most effective means available to allow the parties to reach their own resolution of their dispute.

Mediation can be an effective way to preserve relationships amongst family, friends and colleagues. Mediation is quicker, less expensive and less formal than traditional litigation. Mediation can lead to better results because the parties can control the terms of their settlement, which leads to greater compliance with the settlement agreement. Mediation can be confidential.

Arbitration is different from mediation, in that, an arbitrator listens to the parties’ presentation of their evidence and makes a decision that is binding on the parties. Arbitration is often times used when parties want a private venue for deciding their dispute, rather than having their case heard in court with their filings and their trial open to the public.

Parties are sometimes obligated to use arbitration when they enter into a contract with one another that provides that arbitration shall be used to resolve any dispute or interpret the contract. More and more arbitration and/or mediation provisions are included in Wills and Trusts for example. Arbitration is sometimes used when there is a unique issue or area of the law involved in the case and the parties want a person with experience or specific knowledge to decide the dispute. Other times parties simply do not want to wait for a trial date from the Court or they do not want to get mired down in the overly formalistic rules of evidence that can slow down and disrupt the presentation of the facts of the case, or provide a basis for appeal down the road.

Arbitration is typically cheaper, faster, less formal and easier to schedule than traditional litigation through the courts and again the decision is private and confidential.