Mediation is a tool that is used by the parties, and often ordered by the Judge, in order to attempt to reach an agreement to resolve the pending case rather than attend a Final Trial.
A. How Mediation Works
Mediation is a process in which an impartial person, the Mediator, facilitates communication between the parties to promote settlement. The Mediator may suggest ways of resolving the disputes, but may not impose his/her own judgment on the issues for that of the parties. While no one is asked to commit to settle their case at mediation, all parties must commit to participating in the proceedings in good faith with the intention to settle, if possible.
Mediation sessions are private. Only the parties and their attorneys may attend mediation. Other persons may attend only with the permission of all parties and with the consent of the Mediator. You will be in a room with your attorney, and the opposing party will be in a room with his/her attorney. The Mediator will then spend time with each party to help the parties reach a settlement. Confidential information disclosed to the Mediator by the parties shall not be divulged by the Mediator without express permission. All records, reports, or other documents received by the Mediator are kept confidential. The Mediator cannot be forced to testify in Court regarding anything communicated to them by the parties.
The parties shall maintain the confidentiality of the mediation and shall not introduce as evidence in any court proceeding: a) views expressed or suggestions made by another party with respect to a possible settlement of the dispute; b) admissions made by another party in the course of the mediation proceeding; c) proposals made or views expressed by the Mediator; or d) the fact that another party had or had not indicated willingness to accept a proposal for settlement at mediation.
B. What to Bring to Mediation
Dress in casual clothes. Mediation can last several hours, and you will want to be comfortable. Bring a light jacket if you get cold easily. Also, bring a laptop, a book, or something else to occupy your mind, as there will be significant downtime while the Mediator is speaking with the opposing party and their attorney. It is also helpful to bring your notes and documents regarding the case or be able to have access to them on your laptop. The mediator typically provides snacks and some beverages, but you are welcome to bring your own as well.
C. Mentally Preparing for Mediation
One of the simplest things you need to do before mediation also tends to be one of the most difficult, and that is for you to write down what you want to accomplish in order of importance. Sometimes it is difficult to put your goals into words, but this information is crucial. When writing down your goals, think about what you absolutely must achieve and what you would like to achieve, but could live without. We will try to achieve all of your goals, but sometimes it is necessary to use the less important items as bargaining chips. If you are preparing for mediation and do not yet have an attorney, now is a great time to schedule a consultation with Anderson Legal Group so that we can assist you in formulating and prioritizing your goals in preparation for mediation.
D. Completing Mediation
If an agreement is achieved, then a Mediated Settlement Agreement (MSA) is signed by both parties and attorneys. Once the MSA is signed it is an irrevocable agreement. There is no going back. That is why it is very important to remember that you do not have to reach an agreement at Mediation. Please understand that you will not be able to get out of an MSA if you have buyer’s remorse. However, remember that you can always pursue a Final Trial if you do not feel that the agreement is in your best interest. You should remember that 90% of cases are resolved at Mediation. Mediation is often referred to as using a scalpel, whereas a Trial with the Judge is much akin to using an ax on your case. Mediation is the sole opportunity to be creative and craft an agreement that fits your situation, as compared to a Judge who makes rulings based on a few hours of interaction with your matter.
E. Mediation Services
We also provide mediation services. Mr. Paul Daly is not only Board Certified, but he is also trained in conducting Mediations. Please contact our office so that we can work with your attorneys to Mediate your matter.
As you can see, there are multiple factors to consider during mediation. Having an attorney to assist you at mediation is crucial so that you only agree to something at mediation that is in your best interest. Please contact us at Anderson Legal Group so that we can begin working together to meet your goals.