What is Mediation?
Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). ADR is a means to resolving disputes outside of the courtroom as an alternative to litigation. Mediation gives parties the freedom to determine the outcome of their dispute and avoids someone else deciding the outcome of their dispute. Mediation is a voluntary process and can be discontinued by the mediator or either party at anytime. Mediation maintains privacy and confidentiality.
What is the role of the mediator?
Mediators serve as a neutral third party to help facilitate a conversation and support parties reach a fair agreement that resolves their dispute. Mediators do not provide legal advice nor do they advocate for either party. Mediators do not issue a judgment on the dispute.
What does the process look like?
Prior to the commencement of mediation, there is pre-mediation work that occurs. Each party submits a mediation brief and after review, the mediator and parties agree on how the mediation will transpire, sign any required pre-mediation forms and parties submit their deposit. The day mediation commences, the mediator will start by providing an introductory statement then the mediator, the parties, and any observers to the mediation sign an "Agreement to Mediate". The mediator then transitions to gathering the information necessary to negotiate an agreement for the parties. It is common practice for this to be done in private caucuses however, joint sessions may occur at the request of the parties or at the mediator's discretion. Next, the mediator helps the parties negotiate an agreement they feel resolves their dispute fairly. Once an agreement is negotiated, the mediator puts it in written form and provides copies to each party which concludes the process.