In today’s society, legal disputes can ruin a company, a family, or an individual. They are costly, not only from a financial perspective, but also from personal and emotional perspectives. They are time consuming, and can be so distracting to management or to the individual that they impact one’s ability to do much else. Mediation is an alternative to litigation. It is a process in which an impartial and trained individual helps people to reach a resolution of a legal dispute voluntarily, without the continued cost of litigation. What are the advantages of mediation?
An independent third party, the mediator, will really listen to the issues. In litigation, very often the real issues become hidden by the legal technicalities, the arguments between counsel, and the procedural entanglements. In mediation, a skilled mediator will listen to issues described by the parties themselves, and help direct them to an agreeable resolution.
The cost of the mediation itself, including attorney time to prepare and the mediator’s fees, is far less than the cost of preparing a case for trial. Even if the mediation is not scheduled until after the close of discovery, during which substantial costs have been incurred, preparing for and participating in mediation is far less expensive than trial. Of course, the earlier the mediation in the process, the better.
When you decide to continue to pay for lawsuit and deny mediation, beacuse you don't have money for it, think twise: What is the real cost of your decision?!
The parties have significantly increased flexibility. Contrary to the court system, the parties select the mediator. Similarly, whereas the court system is very structured with many rules to follow, in mediation the parties can design the mediation process to be used. In some cases, it will be best to separate the parties for most if not all of the session. In others, the mediator will facilitate communication directly between the parties. In addition, sometimes mediators use a facilitative style, working the parties toward a consensus by focusing on the needs of the parties, not the legal issues in the case. Sometimes they use an evaluative style, evaluating the likely outcome of the factual and legal issues if tried in court. Different cases warrant different styles. In mediation, the parties choose the style they think will work best to their case.
Mediation is voluntary. No one can force the parties to accept an agreement. The mediator does not make any rulings or decisions. The parties are free to craft the resolution, whether it would otherwise be available in court or not, that will work best for them. Creativity in the outcome is highly valued and the resolution is reached only if both parties agree that it will work.
5. SPEEDY AND RISK-FREE:
Mediation is much quicker than waiting for a trial, and an appeal, of a legal dispute. The parties will eliminate the fear, anxiety, and risk of going through the legal system, and will be able quickly to put the dispute behind them with a satisfactory solution that they have created.
To be continued…
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