By: Sylvia Mayer, Mayer on Mediation (http://smayerlaw.com/category/mayer-on-mediation)
Lawsuit is filed. Discovery may or may not be completed. And then the docket control order, scheduling order or other similar document imposing deadlines requires the parties to go to mediation. I can already hear the groans. What a waste of time! What a waste of money! This case will never settle! I’ve heard all of this and more. And quite often from parties to cases that, once they get to mediation, do settle. Nonetheless, the protests continue and the skeptics remain.
So why mediate? We’ve already covered the obvious – because the court said so. Now let’s turn to the real reasons to mediate.
Autonomy. Mediation gives the parties freedom of choice. Through mediation and negotiation, the parties determine the outcome. In contrast, trial is always a gamble and someone else (judge or jury) determines the outcome.
Closure. Mediation allows parties to share their story and empowers parties to put the dispute behind them. Sharing is a powerful step forward and closure can bring welcome relief.
Privacy. Most trials are open to the public. Mediation is not. Mediation is a confidential process. And the mediated settlement agreement can, by agreement, also remain confidential. Mediation allows parties to keep the details of their dispute – and their settlement – private.
Personalized. Each mediation is unique and so are the settlements. Mediation enables the parties to craft a solution unique to their dispute and their interests.
Speed. Walk in, participate in mediation, settle, and walk out. Litigation is over. It can happen all in one day. That’s fast. Trial takes exponentially more time.
Money. Time is money. Trial is stressful and time consuming. It requires time from counsel, client representatives, fact witnesses and expert witnesses to prepare and to participate. Trial is expensive. Plus, the meter doesn’t necessarily stop with judgment. There may be post judgment motions or appeals. In contrast, mediation is typically one day and then it’s over. The meter stops running.
It Works. A high percentage of cases settle in mediation. Why? See the list above.