Just as legal disputes cover a broad range of topics, there are many different forms of dispute resolution options beyond trial. Many cases are resolved before they get to trial through settlement. Sometimes, you can reach a settlement just through negotiation between lawyers, but there is also an option to work with a mediator and reach a settlement. Instead of trial, you can also choose arbitration to resolve disputes, but today, let’s focus on why you should go through the mediation process and what that looks like.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a chance for the parties to come together under the guidance of a professional mediator to present their side of the case and work through their issues. The goal of mediation is to come to a mutual agreement that works for both sides. Depending on the situation, the mediator may take time with each side listening to their presentation and then go back and forth between the two trying to work on arranging an agreement.
Once the parties reach an agreement, this is written down and signed by both parties. The agreement is generally private unless the court needs to approve the settlement. Unlike arbitration or trial, mediation works to bring the parties to an agreement rather than making a ruling in favor of one party or the other.
What Happens During Mediation?
Mediation generally occurs in person, but can also happen over the phone or via video when the situation demands. The mediator is generally a professional with a lot of experience in a specific area of law, such as a business lawyer or former judge, who has seen a lot of similar cases and situations. They have deep expertise in how problems can be resolved and how to interact with the individuals involved. Both sides come to the mediation with their attorneys and have a chance to present their sides and bolster their arguments with evidence.
Mediation can happen at any time during a dispute, but mediation occurs after discovery (the process that allows each side to gather evidence about the other side’s claims). Because of this often both sides have had a chance to review the evidence available and depose any relevant witnesses before mediation. This information, along with any arguments as to why their position is correct is presented to the mediaton. The mediator then takes turns talking to each side to try and determine where there is room to negotiate and settle. This process can take a few hours but can also span several days.
Why Choose Mediation?
Mediation is a great option to quickly resolve situations and reach agreements. In addition to speed, you can choose an expert mediator who is agreeable to both parties rather than finding yourself at the mercy of the assigned judge or randomly chosen jury. Finally, mediation results in agreements where both parties agree that the resolution is reasonable rather than a winner take all situation.
If you’re facing a business or real estate lawsuit, reach out to the experienced team of litigators at the Dunn Law Firm. We understand business and real estate litigation and contract law and can help you understand your case and position and the steps that your case will go through on the way to resolution. To learn more, reach out to the Dunn Law Firm by calling (435) 628-5405 and set up a free consultation today.