Mediation gives you, not the judge or jury, control over the outcome of your dispute; it allows resolution through compromise, on your terms.
Mediation is one type of alternative dispute resolution; it is not a trial or arbitration. It is a private confidential process that provides the opportunity for disagreeing parties to reach an agreement on the disputed issues and avoid going to trial. The mediation is conducted by an impartial person, the mediator, who facilitates communications between the parties to promote an amicable resolution. Mediation allows the parties, rather than a judge or jury, to control the outcome of the case.
Typically, a mediation will last either a full day or one-half of a day. It can be longer or shorter by agreement of all of the parties and at the mediator’s discretion.
The parties to the dispute, their attorneys, and the mediator are the participants in a mediation. A “party” may include more than one individual, and each party may have more than one attorney involved in the mediation.
The mediator is a neutral facilitator of the mediation process. The mediator does not represent any party in the mediation nor act in the capacity of an attorney at law.
Lisa will engage in pre-mediation preparation by reviewing the information provided to her by the parties. She will then reach out to the lawyers involved, or to the parties themselves if not represented by counsel, to discuss and identify the key issues in the matter to be mediated. This all occurs prior to the mediation date. Pre-mediation preparation is performed in an effort to clarify the major controversies at issue to effectively focus the process when the parties meet on mediation day.
Step 1. Mediator's Introduction
Lisa will explain the goals and rules of the mediation, and encourage each side to work cooperatively toward a settlement.
Step 2. Parties' Opening Statements (Optional)
Each party is invited to describe, in his or her own words, what the dispute is about and how he or she has been affected by it, and to present some general ideas about resolving it.
Step 3. Joint Discussion (Optional)
Depending on the dispute, Lisa may invite the parties to discuss what was said in the opening statements.
Step 4. Private Conferences
Each party and respective counsel will be taken to a separate conference room where they will meet with Lisa privately to confidentially discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their case and share ideas for settlement. Lisa will then alternate visits to each room to facilitate the progress of the mediation. There may be long periods where Lisa will be meeting with only one side. This does not mean anything about the case. Lisa merely may need to spend more time with one party or the other to make sure she understands the terms of an offer.
Step 5. Conclusion of Mediation
If an agreement is reached Lisa will ask the parties, with their respective lawyers, to prepare and sign a written summary of the agreement. The agreement will set out the basic terms of the resolution along with the expectations that the attorneys will prepare a more formal settlement document at a later date. If no agreement is reached, then Lisa will discuss other options that may be available to the parties.