Why Mediation?  

Some disputes can only be resolved through litigation. Potential litigants, however, should know that litigation is rarely the best method to resolve claims and should be considered only a last resort.  Court battles are time-consuming and expensive and tend to be both destructive to relationships and emotionally distressing for all involved.  Even when a final resolution is reached through litigation, the decisions are made, not by the parties involved, but by a judge or jury: People who do not have to live with the results.  

Accordingly, many times, alternative methods of dispute resolution, such as mediation, are preferable.  Not only are these proceedings held in private - with the parties and mediator bound to strict confidentiality  - mediation will generally result in a faster resolution and less expense for all involved.  Good faith mediations may even actually serve to strengthen rather than destroy the relationships of the parties  - as the confidential proceedings are entered into voluntarily and conducted with respect and decorum.  This can be particularly important when the dispute will ultimately affect a business, employment, or personal relationship between the parties.  Mediation is simply much more likely to result in amicable resolution than litigation.

Thus, in addition to legal counsel, RLM offers Mediation-Only services for both represented parties and individuals who wish to resolve their own disputes without the involvement of lawyers.  Sometimes, people just prefer the privacy and resolution-focused process of mediation,  some seek mediation because of the cost-saving, and some mediations are ordered by a court when the judge feels it would benefit the parties.  In either case, unlike litigation which is strictly controlled by the rules of evidence and procedure, mediation is a participant-controlled process.  The parties determine how and when they want to mediate and can stop mediating at any time without injury to their legal claims or consequence from the court.  Also unlike litigation, the scope of Mediation is not controlled by the court.  Mediation can result in the resolution of claims that are not necessarily controlled by the law, and any issue (personal, relational, or business) contributing to the conflict or preventing resolution can be mediated.  

Attorneys are welcome and often represent clients in mediation, but they are not absolutely necessary for parties (regardless of the type of claims) to reach a self-determined, confidential resolution and legally binding agreement through mediation.   RLM can thus serve as a neutral third-party for anyone who wishes to avoid the expense of hiring an attorney, the public exposure necessitated by court filings, and/or the personal and emotional toll that prolonged litigation can bring.

If you are in need of a mediator or would like to discuss whether mediation is an appropriate step in your case, contact RLM to schedule an appointment. 

If you do not know what type of resolution is best for your situation, Roberts Law & Mediation, LLC can help you decide.  

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Another Perspective.....

Why Mediation?  by Lawrence A. Huerta
June 2004

Originally published in the Nov./Dec. 98 issue of Right of Way

Mediation works. It is an effective means of dispute resolution for any dispute not requiring a judicial or third party determination. It provides a forum and an atmosphere in which parties gain understanding, become understood, and work together to explore options for resolution. By resolving disputes in mediation, parties determine for themselves what is important and, ultimately the outcome of the situation. While the benefits of mediation vary somewhat depending upon the nature of the dispute, and model of mediation applied, the following are some of the benefits typically associated with mediation:

RECOGNITION: In hearing and being heard in the mediation forum, parties gain the understanding of the other parties point of view, and an enhanced opportunity to be heard and understood themselves.

EMPOWERMENT: Parties are empowered to decide for themselves whether and how they would like to resolve a situation. This self-determination aspect of mediation often corresponds to higher aspirations of how individuals and businesses want to conduct their lives and do business generally.

SPEED: In resolving or narrowing disputes through mediation, parties avoid the delay of a third party or judicially decided outcome.

ECONOMICAL: In resolving or narrowing areas of disputes through mediation parties save an enormous amount of time, energy, and expense associated with protracted conflict and litigation.

CONFIDENTIALITY: While lawsuits are matters of public record, what transpires at a mediation can be kept confidential by agreement. Whether a mediation occurs before or after filing of a lawsuit, any form of communication generated at a mediation is normally inadmissible evidence. In California, communications generated at a mediation are inadmissible and to be kept confidential under Evidence Code section 1119.

QUALITY OF SETTLEMENT: Studies indicate parties entering into voluntary agreements through mediation are far more likely to adhere to and fulfill commitments made in such agreements than they are with judicially imposed resolutions.

REALITY CHECK OPPORTUNITY: In a private caucus, mediation can afford the opportunity to communicate important "reality check" information that may be easier for a client to accept from a neutral.

AVOID BAD OUTCOMES: Through mediation, parties avoid both the "win-lose" and "lose-lose", outcomes associated with litigation. Many parties who "win" in protracted litigation often find the overall time, energy, and monetary commitment associated with litigation comes at an enormous cost and loss. Those who lose in litigation surely feel even worse about such an outcome. Mediation can spare parties from all of this and enable them to move forward from disputes efficiently and effectively.

The foregoing are just some of the compelling reasons to mediate disputes. Moreover, there is seldom any serious downside to mediation. While some may hesitate "to put their cards on the table" in mediation, in this era of discovery driven litigation, the old "trial by ambush" days of civil litigation are increasingly becoming a thing of the past. Mediation works not only because it focuses on the parties= own interests and agendas, but also because it provides the opportunity for parties to move beyond disputes efficiently and chart their own future.

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Disclaimer:

Lawrence Huerta is in no way associated with Roberts Law & Mediation, LLC.  He has never had any contact with this firm, and this post is in no way designed to suggest that Mr. Huerta personally endorses or otherwise recommends Roberts Law & Mediation or Jennifer L. Roberts for your mediation needs.  ** This article is posted only for purpose of providing another professional's perspective on the benefits of mediation.

We encourage you to further research the many benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution.