Mediation May Be the Best Solution for Your Next Dispute
While I proudly serve as a qualified and licensed Arbitrator and Mediator, I am particularly fond of mediation for a number of reasons. Not only is mediation the fastest growing form of dispute resolution, but the mediation process leaves the decision power completely in the hands of the disputing parties.
We, mediators, or some might call us "Neutrals," do not decide what is "fair" or "right," nor do we assess blame nor render an opinion on the merits or chance of success if the case were litigated. Rather, Neutrals acts as a catalyst between opposing interests searching for ways to bring the parties together by defining issues and eliminating as many obstacles as possible in the negotiation process.
As a Neutral, we moderate and guide the process to avoid confrontation whenever possible. We usually encourage the parties to seek concessions from each side during the mediation process.
Mediation generally begins with a joint session to set an agenda, define the issues and understand the position and concerns of both parities. This allows the parties to attack the resolution process either on an issue-by issue or group-by group basis.
The joint session is then followed by a separate caucus between the mediator and each party or their counsel. This allows each party to present their side of the story and identify goals in confidence. This process allows the Neutral an opportunity to ask questions which may serve to create doubt in an advocate's mind over the validity of a particular position.
Skilled mediators have exceptional listening and communication skills and utilize a number of techniques to create positive dialogue to assist the parties in reaching an agreement. The mediation process is successful approximately 75-85% and is typically less costly than other means of dispute resolution.