The Positives of Mediation & Dispute Resolution
The Benefits of Mediation
Price: Mediation cost less than litigating a dispute in court. This is important to many people who are looking to solve a dispute.
Time: Many state and federal courts are backlogged and cannot hear cases as quickly as litigants would like. Mediation, on the other hand, can be scheduled at the convenience of the parties and the mediator. Thus, in certain situations such as divorce or employment disputes, many parties favor mediation over litigation.
Control: If your case goes to court or to arbitration then you are bound by the findings of the judge or arbitrator. However, in order for a mediation agreement to be enforceable you have to sign it and approve it. Without your consent, the agreement has no effect.
You Reserve the Right to Litigate: If you do not like the outcome of the mediation and you do not reach a mediation agreement then you can proceed to court.
How Dispute Resolution Works
Often mediation is less expensive and less time consuming than litigation. Mediation allows you to stay in control of the situation because no solution is reached unless you agree to it. That said, it is important to understand generally what happens at mediation.
You and the other party must agree to participate in the mediation and agree that Mark Siegel will mediate the dispute.
The next step is to arrive at Mark’s office. Once there, he typically holds a joint session with both parties to the dispute and reviews the ground rules for the mediation and explains how the process works. A joint session is not always the best idea, but, generally Mark will decide this.
Mark explains the rules, he usually asks each party to explain the issues that brought them to the mediation. Sometimes he does this with both parties present, but sometimes he puts the parties in separate rooms to hear from them individually. This is usually a matter of preference and may depend, in part, on how contentious the parties are toward one another. Mark will generally separate the parties after each has explained their respective positions. He will then attempt to help the parties solve and settle the dispute.
Usually the mediation ends with the parties settling their dispute. Mark will help the parties put their agreement in writing. Once the parties, with the advice of counsel (if they so choose), have read the agreement then they will sign it and it will become binding. If necessary, the mediation agreement should be filed with the local court. In some jurisdictions the parties can reach a partial agreement and decide to litigate any remaining issues.
Mediation is meant to be a more efficient, less formal and less contentious process than litigation. It is important, however, that the parties go into the mediation with a spirit of compromise and a basic knowledge of how the process works in order for their case to be successful.