Advantages For the Parties:
1. Allows them some management control over the resolution of the dispute.
2. Prevents the unlimited exposure and uncertainty of a trial.
3. Allows them to exert some informed direct influence over the outcome of the dispute after observing the other attorney, the other party, and hearing a capsule discussion of the case with a neutral outsider.
4. Avoids the expense of final trial preparation and trial.
5. Allows the party to bargain through counsel for certain key elements which are extremely important in exchange for other elements which are less important. The Court or a jury would make a decision without knowledge of or regard for these key elements.
6. Each side gets to see the other’s best offer and the parties can decide to take it or litigate.
7. Enables a party to stop an expenditure of time and personal involvement in the litigation and therefore, exert energies to other business pursuits or other normal activities.
Why should you ask me to mediate your case?
- My 16 years as a trial court judge has allowed me to see many disputes in many areas of the law, and to understand the issues and vagaries of positions among parties. My judicial experience will be used in my analysis and facilitation, but I will not be making a decision for you as a judge would in court.
- In another life as a CPA I gained valuable understanding of business and accounting matters and honed data analysis skills.
- As a private lawyer I probably represented clients just like you with problems similar to yours — similar to both sides of your dispute.
- There are no rules except this: I keep everything you say confidential (except for information about an actual or potential threat to human life or safety).
- Mediation is a conversation and I keep it about you. I will listen carefully to you and will not reframe or deflect anything you say no matter how bitter or emotional someone else may perceive it.
- My objective is not to settle your case for you. Instead, it is to facilitate you in turning your conflict into productive conversation. I can help you find productive ways to deal with your conflict and the current dispute, and possibly with potential future conflicts. This is accomplished by my careful listening and encouragement to all the parties to listen carefully to one another. We can be flexible and innovative as I focus on your conversation to assist you in becoming clearer about your situation, your own objectives and concerns, and to focus on what is truly important to you.
Are there rules?
Yes, a few — especially when you are getting prepared for your mediation.
- We need everyone with full authority to be present. If not, then your case is already damaged.
- I don’t settle your case. You — each party and the attorneys — will resolve your dispute.
- Lawyers: if you have not worked hard to prepare me and your clients, then you have compromised the chances of success.
- Fundamental to mediation is legal privilege and the confidential nature of the process. I take seriously the need for creating and maintaining a safe environment — physically and psychologically.
- If the case does not settle, then safety is best guaranteed by destroying everyone’s notes – including ours. I will collect and shred them.
- The lawyers need to talk to me in advance and agree on the type of role you wish me to play: generally facilitative or evaluative.
How should I dress for mediation?
As always be guided by your attorney, but most of the time the attorneys and clients will dress comfortably. For my purposes a suit and tie is certainly not required. I will usually be an a navy blue blazer and shirt without tie. Sometimes I’ll be in jeans. It is more important for you to be physically comfortable.
In a full day mediation will we have lunch?
For an all day session we will work through lunch and will be ordering in from Which Wich. You might want to look over their online menu. We get the small sandwiches without chips, drinks or sides, and I ask a donation of $6 each. Bottled water and diet sodas are provided. Feel free also to bring your own sack lunch if you prefer.
We also have some light snacks if you feel a little hungry during the day. Negotiating is hard work and we want you to maintain your energy leve.