By: Steve Lagoy
There are several advantages of mediation over traditional litigation in order to settle legal disputes. To find out whether mediation is the right approach for your case or to learn more about mediation basics, consult your attorney, and to hire a mediator, contact a Pennsylvania mediator.
What is Mediation?
Simply put, mediation is the process of negotiation between parties to settle a legal dispute. It differs from traditional litigation because there is no judge or jury present and no official procedure to follow. Rather, a neutral third-party mediator is tasked with guiding the discussion to promote conflict resolution.
The role of mediator is to help facilitate a settlement; both parties in dispute voluntarily make their own decisions about the outcome of the case. Unlike a court of law, settlements made via mediation are not coerced. The goal is for both parties to collaborate and arrive at a mutual compromise that each party will be happy with.
Common Mediation Cases
Mediation is particularly useful in cases in which you wish to preserve family or business relationships, but it can be applied to many other types of civil disputes, which include:
- breach of contract;
- discrimination in the workplace;
- contract modification;
- creditor and debtor disputes;
- employer and employee disputes; and
- conflict among estate heirs.
The Mediation Process
The mediation process tends to follow 6 stages (and last 1 or 2 days):
- Introduction – The mediator will open the proceeding with an explanation of the ground rules and a mandate of the negotiation process;
- Description – Each party, in turn, will describe its perspective on the dispute, voice concerns and share their ideas about how to arrive at a resolution;
- Discussion – Both parties may enter into a mutual discussion for each issue, or the mediator may have a private dialogue with each and relate the information back to the other party;
- Written agreement – When mediation is successful, a written agreement may be signed by both parties as a legally binding contract; and
- Advice – When the mediation approach is unable to find a resolution to the dispute, the mediator may summarize the progress that was made and provide advice on how to move forward with the case.
The Benefits of Mediation
There are several unique benefits of resolving your dispute with mediation:
- Faster Resolutions – Lawsuits may take months or years, while mediation may only take days or weeks;
- Cost effective – Because the duration of the mediation process is shorter, you will save money on court and lawyer fees;
- Private – There are no records or transcripts made during mediation that can be used against you at a later time;
- Flexible – Agreements are customizable and may provide unique solutions that would not be available to you in a typical lawsuit; and
- Satisfaction – Those who utilize the mediation process usually report higher rates of satisfaction because the settlement is a mutually agreed upon.
Contacting a West Chester Mediator
Our attorney mediators will ensure the mediation process is productive, creative and tailored to each unique situation. For more information on mediation basics or for a consultation, call 1-610-692-1371.