Why am I here?

More than likely, the reason you are coming to mediation is that a dispute has arisen between you and any number of other people about any number of issues. You may, or may not, be involved in litigation.

What is mediation?

Mediation is an opportunity to “take a time out” and try to resolve the issues between the parties. The key attraction to using mediation is that it allows the parties to make their own decisions about their dispute instead of someone else, such as an arbitrator, a judge, or a jury.

Who will attend the mediation?

The mediation session will be attended by the mediator (the neutral); those people with the authority to enter into an agreement (decision makers); and, their attorneys.

What is the role of the mediator?

The mediator is not a decision maker. The mediator’s role is to assist the decision makers in their examination and resolution of the issues.

Is the mediation confidential?

Yes. No matter who attends the mediation, everyone agrees to be bound by confidentiality. Confidentiality is the key to a successful mediation because it allows the participants to speak openly and freely about the issues without fear that their candor will be used to their detriment if the issues are not resolved at mediation.

What can I expect at the mediation?

A mediation session usually has identifiable stages. At the beginning, all the participants meet together to introduce themselves and discuss the issues that have brought them to the session. Next, the mediator will separate the participants and move from group to group discussing more specifically the issues and concerns of each party. This phase is called a “caucus.”

Do all mediations result in settlement?

The majority of cases do settle at the mediation session. However, it is important to understand that as a result of mediation, one or more, but not all, of the issues between the parties may be resolved. In these cases, the participants should not become discouraged, but should congratulate themselves for narrowing the issues. In many cases, resolution of some, but not all, of the issues will ultimately lead to a later resolution of all of the issues without further conflict.