Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary, confidential process in which the mediator, a trained, neutral person, assists the participants to negotiate an agreement of the dispute. The participants remain in control of all decisions to settle the terms of any resolution. Unlike going to court, the mediation process is conducted in a private setting with flexible scheduling. Consequently, parties in mediation are less likely to feel stressed and under pressure. The participants make all decisions, not an anonymous judge.
The mediator’s role is to facilitate the discussion and to help the participants find creative solutions to their situation. The mediator remains impartial throughout the process to find common ground for solutions that will work.
The end product from a successful mediation is an agreement that the parties sign and usually file with the court. Once a judge has reviewed and approved the agreement, the agreement itself becomes an enforceable court order.
When should I consider mediation?
One should consider Mediation when they are unable to resolve an issue with the opposing party but wish to avoid fees in either hiring an attorney or extensive litigation costs.
- Parenting time disagreements after a divorce;
- Property divisions when a marriage ends;
- Sibling disagreements after a parent’s death;
- Concerns over guardianship;
- Issues involved in special education;
- Victim-Offender restitution;
- Business and employment disputes;
- Small claims and civil claims;
- To get paid for completed work;
- Dispute over the quality of workmanship;
- Landlord-Tenant issues;
- Noisy neighbor complaint;
- Fence or boundary line conflict, etc.
What are the Benefits of Mediation?
Mediation puts the control for the outcome of your court case in your hands. You get to decide the result you want and then we work to obtain that result or some compromise that you can live with. Having control in what the court will decide in your case will never happen again except in mediation.
Mediation also provides an end to the costs of attorney’s fees and costs. If you are paying for the litigation directly to your attorney, then you know how costly litigation can get through discovery and all the motions that can be filed. If you are on a contingency, you should be concerned about how much the insurance company is paying their attorney because that money could go to settle your case.
Mediation stops the costs of litigation and uses the savings to settle the case. Mediation gives you certainty. Your result of your case will be known at the conclusion of a successful mediation. Those are two of the primary benefits of mediation.
Where does mediation take place?
Mediation can take place either in-person at agreed upon location, in our office, or online via Zoom.
Cost of Mediation vs. Trial
A full day of mediation costs a few thousand dollars and that amount is typically split between all the parties to the litigation. The cost is equal to a few phone calls with your lawyer. Litigation costs however can escalate without warning. In litigation you can’t control the cost because first the court rules require certain things to be done by a certain time. Also, opposing counsel can take actions that necessitate your attorney to respond. Neither you nor your attorney have the control to limit your costs in litigation. In mediation, you have the control to settle the case and end the litigation which ends the mediation. There is no comparison between the costs of mediation and the costs of trial.
What if I don't want to settle!?
You have been wronged. I get it, you don’t want to settle with the other side that you feel is completely wrong. However, who are you hurting by letting the litigation linger? Them? No. you are only hurting yourself by having an emotional or mental block to resolving the case. When we mediate your case, we work to get you past the roadblocks toward settlement. We work to turn that “I don’t want to settle” into your choice to settle.
My opponent won't want to settle...
You may have preconceived notions that your opponent is stubborn and won’t settle. You may be right. But remember, we work with both sides to get past the roadblocks that are stopping a settlement. Many times when you are working with a neutral mediator, it can break down the barriers toward a resolution that have existed since the dispute arose.
What if I am embarrassed or hesitant to talk?
We realize conflict can be difficult for many people. As long as there is no likelihood of physical harm, mediation can work even when angry words have been exchanged.
Mediation may involve attorneys to provide legal counsel and guidance. With prior notice and consent of the other side, parties may bring a support person during the mediation.
What happens in mediation is confidential, and a signed agreement is the only record of the mediation. Our mediators are trained to respect both the confidentiality of the mediation process and the privacy of the mediating parties.
What should I expect from the process?
When you contact our office, we will ask some questions about your problem and confirm that mediation is an appropriate next step. We are also happy to answer any questions that you may have about the mediation process.
When we open a mediation case, we will start by asking for contact information for everyone involved: names, addresses and phone numbers. Then, it’s our job to contact and invite all of the people in dispute to mediate.
We will schedule the mediation at a convenient time and place.
And finally, we will provide a neutral, professionally trained mediator to lead the session.
The mediator will control the discussion, keep people from interrupting one another, and make sure the process stays fair and focused on the issues. Mediators are neutral. They will help the parties explore options and record agreements if the parties resolve their dispute.
People enter into agreements voluntarily. No one is required to agree. A fair solution is up to the disputing parties: You decide what’s fair for you. You are in charge of the solution, rather than having a judge determine what the outcome of your dispute should be.
You will receive a written copy of the signed agreement, if one is reached.
If the matter is a court case, the court will be notified that the case settled in mediation, so parties can take the steps to end legal proceedings.
What if we go to trial?
If you go to trial, the judge or the jury will decide the result in your case. There is no doubt that the result will happen. The problem is that you don’t know when the result will happen, nor do you know what the result will be. You see a civil trial date is subject to change based on the court’s schedule. So even if you have a trial date, that date can be subject to change by days, weeks, or months with no notice. This means that you need to prepare for trial multiple times. Once the court hears the case, if it is a jury, then the result will occur at the end of the trial. However, if the case is decided by a judge, sometimes the result is not decided for days, weeks, or months. The timing of the decision depends on the court’s schedule. So if you go to trial, a decision about your case will be made, however, you never know what a judge or a jury is going to decide. Also, the uncertainty of the timing of any trial or decision can be agonizing if delays occur.
Frequently Asked Questions
Construction projects can involve many different parties who must agree on many different aspects of the projects, including costs, timelines, materials, warranties, and more. The following are some of the questions we commonly hear from construction clients:
Should I have an attorney review a contract for a construction project?
Most construction projects involve many different parties, materials, and stages of the job. All of these should be carefully agreed to in a well-drafted and negotiated contract. Construction contracts are complex documents that use legal terms, so an experienced attorney should always review any agreement before you sign it.
How can I resolve a construction dispute?
Going into court is only the last resort for resolving construction disputes. Before you get involved in potentially costly litigation, we can help you explore alternative dispute resolution methods such as negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. If necessary, we are skilled at representing you in litigation, as well.
What types of clients do you represent in construction cases?
Our firm represents a number of parties who may be involved in construction disputes, including commercial or residential property owners, general contractors, subcontractors, builders, engineers, and material suppliers, among others.