Understanding Mediation - E-Newsletter January 28, 2010


Understanding Mediation

Mediation, which can be described as “assisted negotiation,” is the fastest growing Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) method. Many courts now require that disputes be mediated before they are heard in court. Mediation is different from arbitration in that in mediation, the parties create their own settlement terms with the assistance of a neutral mediator. The mediator’s job is to keep the parties talking and to move them toward compromise. To accomplish that, the mediator engages in discussions with both parties to identify the core issues, while obtaining agreement on minor issues. The mediator then proposes various settlement options. Lawyers are essential to this process, because they can point out the risks of the various settlement proposals and help the parties focus their energies on solutions that best meet their legal needs. Because mediation is not binding unless the parties reach an agreement, the only risks are the time spent and the possibility of disclosing to the other side potentially damaging facts.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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